Friday, April 29

The Heir and the Spare by Maya Rodale

Book 1 in the Negligent Chaperone Series

So the heroine’s clumsiness was a little bit very annoying. Maybe other people find clumsy heroines endearing, but I find them very false. Nobody trips THAT often. It’s just… unrealistic and lends the book a very silly edge. Unfortunately, that’s how most of this book came off. Silly and unrealistic. The premise is that our heroine, Emilia Highhart, falls in love at first sight with a man who she believes to be the heir to a dukedom, named Philip. It’s actually not the heir but his younger twin, Devon Kensington, who has just come back from America after several years to see his dying father. At the ball, seeing no reason to announce his actual presence in England (as everyone believes he is dead) he masquerades as his older brother and catches out heroine as she falls into his arms - and in love. 

First, ‘The Spare’, our hero Devon, was good. He was very real, his character made sense, and he alone salvaged the book for me. He was sweet, tender, and pretty romantic. His hatred for his brother and unhappiness with his life are both very realistic and you find yourself really pitying him some even as he grows. The whole heir v. spare conflict was explored pretty well, I thought. It would’ve been a little better if the heir, Philip, wasn’t so evil though. I mean, I understand trying to make Devon seem like the really, really good twin, but it again lent a silly edge to the book (NOBODY is completely evil, and I would've liked to see more character development for Philip).
Unfortunately, our heroine Emilia was not so good. Ridiculous and singularly dull, she was often unreasonable and not-so-bright. She got upset over little, unimportant things, which is one of my least favorite traits in heroes or heroines. As far as the supporting characters, they were as bad as the heroine. Irresponsible, flat, totally typical and way too modern and forward-thinking for a historical romance.

The plot was pretty boring. The story dragged on terribly, and but for occasional bits of brilliance supplied by Devon I would’ve thrown the book down in frustration. When we discovered that Devon works for Emilia’s father and, in fact, the father had recommended Devon for Emilia I wanted to cringe. Why do authors have this tendency to intertwine everything? Why can’t the hero and heroine just meet for goodness sakes, like normal people do?!?!

The ending really bothered me when - *****VERY BIG SPOILER ALERT***** Devon was found to truly be the heir to the dukedom. I hated that because it seemed REALLY false and way to much like a fairy tale. I understand the notion that we want Devon to be the heir because he’s so much nicer and cuter and he’s the hero but he’s not the heir and we’ve dealt with it. Furthermore, putting that in the story made me feel like Rodale felt the only way the story had a happy ending was if he became the duke. That’s not true. *****END OF VERY BIG SPOILER ALERT***** Their love for one another should’ve been enough for a happy ending and Rodale definitely did not convey that.

Favorite quotes: 
[Philip] found her beneath him [in station] as a wife, but quite nice beneath him as a fling. 

“Devon. Devon Kensington, back from the dead.” (Lady Palmerston, Emilia’s chaperone)
“Not for long,” Emilia muttered.

 “Sexy”ness rating: Hawt.

Overall Rating: C-

Bottom Line: The hero gives it the high rating it received. This book was dull, the heroine was clumsy and unreasonable, and the secondary characters were as two-dimensional as Flat Stanley.  
Pages: 304
Published: August 7, 2007
Genre: Historical

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