Friday, April 30, 2010
No, really, I do.
What I don't like is the experience of loss, pain, fear, depression, or any of the other conditions that can make me cry. But the tears themselves are fine. So as long as what's making me cry isn't also making me feel really bad, I'm all for it.
Cotton commercials, weepy Bette Davis movies, sad music, and romance novels filled with angsty goodness: I love them all. (By contrast, I suspect that a Nicholas Sparks novel/movie would just make me angry. I'm not willing to test this theory though.)
I had started to read Mary Balogh's Simply Perfect when I realized that there had to be at least three previous novels, not counting the Slightlys, that needed to be read before I could fully appreciate all the people in Simply Perfect. But which three? You just about need a score card to keep straight who's going to show up in which novels. I asked the Balogh-teers on Twitter and was told I had to read One Night For Love first, followed by A Summer to Remember. As luck would have it, One Night For Love was sitting right in front of me!
Ah, talk about your angsty goodness -- I was crying by page 55. The heroine, Lily, is positively festooned with angst: her father dies, the man she secretly loves marries her, then she "dies" and he's shot (all this is in the middle of the Peninsular Wars, so the bullets do rather make sense). By the time he's recovered enough to inquire about his wife, he's told she died. So he does what all good heirs to earldoms do: he returns home and prepares to marry the woman he was always supposed to marry.
When Lily is finally able to get to England, she does try to get to her beloved (now an earl) as quickly as possible, but she's so shabby looking that his servants (and the stray passing duke & duchess) shoo her along with the offer of sixpence. She declines the sixpence, which seemed a bit shortsighted given how little money she had and how long it had been since she last ate. But, in the manner of angsty heroines everywhere she won't accept charity: she might be starving, but she still has her pride.
All that sets up the cliché scene in which Lily appears at the church before he can commit bigamy. And that, alas, is the last spoiler-free thing I can write about the plot. Let's just say that page 55 was not the last place I shed happy tears!
It's not a unflawed book, mind you: it rather heaps on the melodrama, coincidence, and miracles.
So I'd have to say it's not a book I loved all the way through. Except for the angsty goodness. That, I ate up with a spoon!