THE AMOROUS EDUCATION OF CELIA SEATON - Miranda Neville
The Burgundy Club, Book 3
Historical Romance (Regency)
Celia Seaton has just been fired as a governess, and to make her day even worse, she’s now been kidnapped, forced to strip down to her chemise, and locked in a hot attic. But Celia is no quitter and neither is she a shy English miss—she makes a daring escape only to find Tarquin Compton, the man who ruined her marriage prospects in London a few years ago, unconscious on the floor of the cottage she was taken to. After reviving the man, who has no recollection of his past or identity, she decides to play a trick on him and invents a past for him—as well as a future for the two of them. Yes, the fictional ‘Terence Fish’ and Celia are engaged to be married—but first they must make their escape together! What follows is a mystery that includes another kidnapping, a beautiful countess, a bully of a duchess, a baby with a silver rattle, and a mysterious ruby.
There was a lot I didn’t like about this book; however it was not completely irredeemable. The first thing I disliked was that the book was boring; the suspense and anticipation aspects were not well-written. Secondly, the romance was insincere. I couldn’t feel the love or kinship developing between Tarquin and Celia, though the romance between ‘Terence’ and Celia was a bit more believable. Thirdly, the characters lacked depth. I couldn’t connect with any of them; felt their behavior often contradictory, didn’t feel the inner conflict was genuine, and found many of the characters to be completely stereotyped cookie-cutters, with nothing unique. It didn’t help that Ms. Neville tells us the characters’ thoughts and feelings; she doesn’t show them
Finally, I felt as if I was running through water when trying to enjoy the writing. Perhaps Ms. Neville’s writing style simply doesn’t work for me, but I found the book fairly dull and unromantic with characters that went through the motions of love and romance without any real feeling or conviction. To be honest, the entire book just felt flat and it made the Happy Ever After boring and a bit…unhappy for me. I feel confident in saying I would not recommend this book. However, if you’re a reader who enjoys Ms. Neville’s writing, then you’ll probably enjoy this book much more than I did.
Remember when I said the book wasn’t completely irredeemable? Yes, my fellow readers, there were some aspects to this book I enjoyed. I mostly enjoyed the romance between ‘Terence’ and Celia, especially because it was early on and I was able to overlook the rushed, insincere, under-developed feel since it was so early on. I also liked how unique the plot was. In the historical romance genre there are about ten commonly used plots, with small discrepancies that make those books slightly different from one another. Don’t get me wrong, I love those ten plots—but I love what Ms. Neville did even better. With a totally unique premise, what with the kidnapping and fun, flirty little lies, I found that I was supremely pleased with the uniqueness of the author’s ideas and imagination. Even though I was most decidedly not enamored by this book, I respect the author’s ability to be creative and I liked that the book was unpredictable…even if I was so bored I didn’t care. The banter between Celia and Tarquin, I will admit, was very funny as well. So while the book did have some redeeming qualities—a good beginning, a unique (even if not exciting) plot and some witty banter—I would not recommend this book on the whole.