Trashy Read #14: The Masquerade, by Brenda Joyce
A month and a half ago, I promised to make Laura Kinsale's much-loved Seize the Fire my next trashy read. Unfortunately, I had the book through Interlibrary Loan, and it was due back before I had a chance to crack it. Since then, I haven't been able to get further than fifty pages in any romances. Nothing's captured me. But I bought Brenda Joyce's The Masquerade a couple months ago, so I decided I'd better give it a spin.
Frankly, this historical romance wasn't very good. Joyce's writing is serviceable, but she doesn't have that something special that my favorites have. Also, the dialogue is really stiff. Worst of all, the hero, Tyrell, is a big ball of boring. He's okay enough, but he's too dutiful, too hypocritical, and too untragic to do much for me. Plus his name is annoying.
The heroine, Lizzie (yes, Joyce went there) was much more likeable, with a kind of tender bravery that didn't feel too forced. Plus, she was a little plump and had red hair, like a certain person who writes a certain book blog. However, the age difference between the hero and heroine at the beginning weirds me out a little. If I ended up going all-out years later for the man I was in hero-worship with at the age of ten, I'd be married to a Backstreet Boy.
The plot is pretty stupid. Hero and heroine flirt at a costume ball, heroine leaves early, heroine's sister takes her costume and sleeps with hero. Heroine takes the baby on as her own and eventually shows up on hero's homestead with the toddler. They play happy family for awhile, but Tyrell eventually decides to be responsible to his family and marry for money instead. Eventually, Tyrell and Lizzie reunite and get together and blah blah blah.
Had this book been edited to be tighter, I would have liked it a heck of a lot more. As is, it often gets really repetitive and boring in stretches. In the end, this book just wasn't my thing. There are so many historical romances out there that I need something extra to make me really love one. I'm thinking of Chase's fun writing or Kleypas's likeable characters or Kinsale's crazy epic plots. I don't think I'll be revisiting Brenda Joyce in the future.
Next in Trashy Reads: This book marked the end of a run of historical romance for me. All of them are starting to feel too much alike. I'm going to try some contemporary stuff instead. In fact, I think I'll return to my comfort pick and first romance love, Nora Roberts. Her characters, even at their most rebellious and angsty, are always fundamentally good people, and I yearn for that after this run of scoundrel-y historicals. Bring on the nice guys and warm, believable dialogue!