Love and Sticking Points…or is it Just a Bad Date
Bad Dates. We’ve all been on them. We all have horror stores we tell when the subject of whose bad date is the worst comes up. (I usually win most of these disastrous conversations).
Which is why the series of bad blind dates Kristan Higgins wrote Callie through in ‘All I Ever Wanted’(the smelly dairy farmer or the artist who worked with human hair anybody?) made her happily ever after with Ian at the end so amazing. Susan Mallery did the same thing to Dani Buchanan, except Dani had to go through three books of dating disasters to get to her happily ever after in ‘Tempting,’ the final Buchanan book. But lucky for both Dani and Callie, neither of them had to marry their bad dates. They had the freedom, the choice, to walk away and find someone they loved., warts and all.
Yet when nothing else matters but love between two people, it is a beautiful thing to see. I cried happy tears as Lucinda Barrett fell in love with Robert Carraway in Suzanne Enoch’s ‘England’s Perfect Hero.’ I was so thrilled that Anne Jewell couldn’t resist Sydnam Butler in Mary Balogh’s ‘Simply Love.’ I rooted for Collis and Rose in Celeste Bradley’s ‘The Charmer.’ And who can ever forget Christian Jervalux and his Maddie in Laura Kinsale’s ‘Flowers from the Storm’ or the love between Lord Ian Mackenzie and his Beth?
But in Eloisa James’ the ‘Duke is Mine,’ Olivia Lytton is in neither of those situations. Her ‘Bad Date’s is an extremely unwanted arranged-from-birth-betrothal. And like any of us who have gone on bad dates, Olivia voices her displeasure about her betrothal (and her fiancé) to her sister. In public, she gives her fiance’ the respect he is due, standing up for him even when his own father does not. She, in truth, reacts far better to the circumstances she is forced into than most of us would.
This brings us to the most important part of this particular column. One of the things that happens when we read is that we bring our own experiences to bear on the books. We identify with some characters and revile others. We find inconsistencies, and we find truths. We laugh and we cry. And throughout the course of reading ‘The Duke is Mine,’ I found myself identifying with Olivia as others considered her awful(yes, for anybody wondering, there is a bad date story of my own involved). But then again, I cannot bring myself to read Georgette Heyer while others consider her classic.
Thankfully, like a bad date, we have the choice to stop reading a book we don’t like, and find another one that we do.
I wish you all the best luck in finding books you love in 2012! What are the books you’re most excited about this year? Let me know, and see you next month.