Having recently read My Darling Caroline which I liked, I was expecting Stolen Charms would be another enjoyable book by this author. Not so. For one, I couldnt bring myself to like the annoying heroine Natalie. Her erratic behavior was so implausible, and out of period. For example, what unmarried young lady of quality traipses off to France with a male acquaintance unaccompanied by a chaperone or maid? No friend, family member, or trusted housekeeper/butler raises an alarm that she has disappeared for weeks. Even though Natalie is an untouched virgin, she readily sleeps in the same bed with the renowned rake she is traveling with, and still remains a virgin. The relationship between these two is unbelievably one-sided with Jonathan convinced he can persuade her to love him and Natalie only wants him to help her find the Black Knight, an infamous thief shes never laid eyes on but fantasizes she wants to marry. But wait, thats a lie, she really wants the Black Knight to help get her mothers scandalous letters from a scheming blackmailer. But wait, Jonathan -is- the Black Knight. She would never marry HIM because he is a womanizer. Sometimes she considers him a friend, sometimes she allows him kiss her, sometimes she disdains him for his reputation, sometimes she hates him, sometimes she hates herself for letting him kiss her. Ackkkk!
Another thing that irritates me to no end is when an author (Connie Mason is famous for this) has the characters call each other by their first names all throughout the dialogue as if they dont know who they are. They are the only two people in the room, the only two people who are conversing. Why do they have to address each other by name with every line of dialogue? It invariably goes something like this:
Natalie, have you had anything to eat today?
No, Jonathan, I rose late this morning and was too rushed.
But, Natalie, youll waste away to nothing if you do not eat something.
Now, Jonathan, you know I could stand to lose some weight anyway.
Natalie, my dear, you are perfect just as you are.
(Blush-blush) Oh, you are such a scoundrel, Jonathan. Must you flatter me so?
I speak only the truth, Natalie, when I say how lovely you are.
Okay, no one speaks this way in real life. Why do some authors do this? Its so distracting. Some editor probably told her to do this, because it wasnt this way in her previous book. Well see if it carries through to her next books. I dont read author Connie Mason anymore for this very reason.
If this annoys you too, you should skip this book.
Charming book! I read Duke of Sin and took Ashworth off my list - but this one has totally turned me around. Very real characters with an interesting plot that reveals things slowly. Highly recommend.
Not my favorite Adele Ashworth. Slow-moving story and not nearly as steamy as most of her others. Winter Garden, Duke of Sin & Duke of Scandal were much better.
I began the book thinking that the heroine was going to be an annoying flake. You have to get past the first few chapters to see the actual depth lurking under the surface, and once you do the reward is wonderful. This book is one of my all time favorites with a hero and heroine that are actually friends, which is rare in the romance world. Many say that Winter Garden is the best of Ashworth's books, but IMO, this book has more depth of emotion. I wouldn't post it at all, but I found an inexpensive copy of this HTF OOP book. I hope someone treasures it as much as I do.