~ Callen's Tudor romances are *much* better - this book failed to engage me and was lacking spark (2 stars) ~
I have liked Gayle Callen's books in the past - most recently HIS SCANDAL, Book 2 in her "His" Series - but I did *not* enjoy THE LORD NEXT DOOR. I found myself wanting to skim parts of the book (which I NEVER do), especially the end and the last scene between Victoria and David where they go on and on, resolving every last thing that's been popping up throughout the book. There were some promising moments and scenes, but on the whole the book did not click for me and I would be hard-pressed to ever read it again, let alone recommend it to someone else. Callen is a talented writer and this is the first book of hers that I have disliked, so I'm just chalking it up as a fluke and moving on to her others (the two remaining books in the series seem promising ... we'll see!).
~ The conversation between David and Victoria on their wedding night is entertaining and humorous.
~ It is a nice change in the genre to have the hero and heroine be the same age (they are both 26 years old when the story takes place).
~ Victoria's mother and David's father, who at the beginning of the book seem like they will be flat secondary characters cast in cookie-cutter roles (the silly, not-very-bright, social climbing mother and the mean, grumpy, and selfish father) were surprisingly interesting and were actually more engaging than the main characters!
~ David is a stern and secretive character and normally I can take my hero any way (geez, I make them sound like ice cream, lol) - laughing and joyful, serious and dour, haunted and vengeful, whatever - but for most of the book I found him inaccessible and not really all that engaging or interesting.
~ Victoria was even worse, IMO. Her character was not at all consistent - at times I found her to be far too boring, placid, and even weak, while at other times she showed a strength of character and will that did not at all ring true with the weak Victoria that we had just encountered a page or paragraph before. (Frankly, the Victoria of the diary entries in the Prologue almost seems more interesting than any adult version of her that we meet!)
~ There wasn't much chemistry between Victoria and David and I couldn't really see why either was attracted to the other ... there was just no spark. Again, this was definitely a failing of the characters that Callen wrote, because I know that she is most certainly able to write great chemistry and interesting characters who complement each other (read HIS SCANDAL).
~ The premise of the book and how it begins is shaky - Victoria's family is in dire straits so she goes to see the servant boy next door ... what could he possibly do to help them? How would marrying him accomplish anything? And if the family is so badly off, why are her two younger sisters working and she's not? This is of course how she and David are set-up to meet (with David actually being himself, and not "Tom") and for the plot and marriage-of-convenience to unfold, but it's all very contrived. Normally I can easily overlook implausible plots or contrived story ploys, but since the book didn't have much else to recommend it, this just added to my annoyance and disappointment.
VERY ANNOYING QUOTE (should have tipped me off right away that I wouldn't really like this heroine):
"She had no great mission in life, as some women had, to reform society or negate poverty. She would cast little scandal on a family already brimming with its own." (p.30)
THE SISTERS OF WILLOW POND TRILOGY:
This book is part of Gayle Callen's "The Sisters of Willow Pond Trilogy." The order of the series is as follows: Book 1, THE LORD NEXT DOOR (Victoria's story); Book 2, THE DUKE IN DISGUISE (Meriel's story); and Book 3, THE VISCOUNT IN HER BEDROOM (Louisa's story).
BOTTOM LINE and RECOMMENDATIONS:
*Skip it!* Read HIS SCANDAL by Gayle Callen instead, or if you want to read a *FABULOUS* marriage-of-convenience book, I recommend Mary Balogh's SLIGHTLY MARRIED, Book 1 in the Bedwyn Family series (the whole series is worth reading and if you plan to do that, I would start with A SUMMER TO REMEMBER, which first introduces the Bedwyn family and is a prequel, or with ONE NIGHT FOR LOVE, which precedes the prequel. You can check out my "So you'd like to ..." Guide of the Bedwyn Family for a complete breakdown.
More or less typical of most historical romances I have read. Likeable characters with a uncomplicated plot. A very quick read.
My first book by this author ... I'll read more!
Very slow, and the two secrets the couple have are pretty petty.
This is the first novel that I have read by Gayle Callen. It was an enjoyable tale in which the main characters were Not Perfect. This made it a pleasure to read...just a bit different from the norm. I will watch for more from this author.
I liked this book. This book is about how a woman named Victoria Shelby who must marry to save her family from financial ruin, Her friend from her childhood she dicovered is Vicount Thurlow. David Thurlow rejected after two marriage proposals needs a wife that's going to overlook his past, but also above reproach to give him a heir
Starts slowly, but becomes a very interesting read. The relationship is allowed to grow with time, making it much more realistic for a marriage of convenience plot. Very well written.
This is my first book of Gayle Callen's. I didn't enjoy this book as much as I wanted to. It had an appealing story line which is why I wanted to read it in the first place. But the characters David and Victoria were really not likable characters. I also got bored with the book after a few chapters. Definitely not a book I'd recommend. However, I will continue to read Gayle Callen's books. Some of her other books are really intriguing and they received great reviews.
To rescue her family from financial ruin, lovely Victoria Shelby has no choice but to marry. Her options for a bridegroom are limited...until she remembers the shy servant boy next door. Then she discovers that her childhood friend is none other than Vicount Thurlow - ruthless businessman and future earl and a man whose family is shrouded in scandal!
This was great, I loved the characters and the storyline, no lagging parts in the book and lots of tension.
Very good book. Could not put it down. Little confusing in the being with the letter between Victoria and Tom.
VICTORIA MUST WED...ANDIMMEDIATELD!
To rescue her family from financila ruin, lovely Victoria Shelby has not choice but to marry. Her options for a bridegroom are limited...until she remembers the shy servant boy next door. Then she discovers that her childhood freind is actually Viscount Thurlo-ruthless businessman, future Earl. amd a man whose family is shrouded in scandal!
After two rejected marriage proposals, David Thurlow needs a wife who will give him an heir, someone who will not only overlook his past but also be above reproach. Victoria is the ideal candidate-quiet, unassuming, and in desperate need of funds. But even as she strives to be the perfect wife, her calm demeanor masks a shocking secret...one that is overshadowed by David's slow, heated lessons in the art of seduction that threaten to transform a "convenient" marriage into a torrid and passionate affair.