Sunday, January 29, 2012

Review: Bewitching by Jill Barnett (3 stars, historical)

Full Description: Amazon

Rating: 3 out of 5

Thoughts After Reading: 
I was really looking forward to reading Barnett's Bewitching when I stumbled upon on it tonight. I wanted a light and funny storyline, and it looked like it fit the bill better than I could have hoped for. Unfortunately, while it did exceed my expectations in some ways, it was ultimately a disappointment.

In addition to having a number of silly scenes, particular towards the beginning of the novel, the book had a few places where I couldn't resist laughing out loud. I literally had to stop reading a few times and just let myself laugh for a good minute or two. Even better than just the humor, the book seemed to be a sweet romance first and foremost. The heroine is a bit of a bumbling Scottish witch-in-training, who: has trouble with the exact wording for spells, can accidentally turn a daydream into reality, and has her last thought take on life of its own whenever she sneezes. She sees the potential of the hero, and throws her whole heart into loving him as she does in seeing the beauty of everything. The hero is dark to her light, a stodgy duke who has had duty and propriety drilled into him since his birth. The heroine's innocence, love of life, and persistence in trying to make him see the brighter side of life continually draws him as he tries to fight it. They end up getting married, and the fun begins. The first 80% or so of the book is fairly endearing as the couple rub together, even though there are numerous periods of angst. It's never really overdone, though, and they help progress the relationship. I fully feel an ending can make or break a book, though, (especially a romance novel) and in this case it most definitely broke it. There is a fairly angsty relationship conflict, and the couple gradually overcome it. But then it's like the author decides that she needs a second conflict/resolution, and the choices the characters make are slightly heartbreaking. Everything works out in the end, of course, and I understand what Barnett was trying to do (a slight twist on the "heroine goes away so hero is forced to realize his love"), but why does she have to make it contrived and so damn depressing?

So while most of Bewitching was awesome, I cannot recommend it to anyone nor will I be saving it to read again. Barnett joins the ranks of romance authors who, in my mind, take the conflict so far down the story cannot bounce back. Time for me to find a new book.

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