Plot: This is the second book of a trilogy about 3 brothers of a high society Turn of the Century Bostonian family. The first book is titled Dove’s Way and the third is Nightingale’s Gate.
In this one, Sophie, a concert celloist, has been in love with Grayson Hawthorne since she was 4. When her life falls apart on her 18th birthday, she escapes to Europe where she becomes a success. However, Grayson decides its time for him to marry and decides to buy Sophie from her father and gets engaged to Sophie in absentia. Sophie’s father, being the good businessman, calls Sophie back to Boston to finish the transaction.
My Ramblings: I really wanted to like this book.
I’m a sucka for stories about childhood loves and the author’s writing style at times reminded me of Judith McNaught, Mary Spencer/Susan Spencer Paul, or Anne Gracie. Unfortunately, unlike McNaught who knows how to offset the manipulative angst with a healthy dose of cheese, Linda Francis Lee prefers to go the Edith Wharton route where you have a huge cast of rich characters determined to be relentlessly unhappy and you just want to slap them to get over themselves. The majority of the characters from the H/H down are all imperious and implacable and just refuse to listen to each other and only concerned with feeling sorry for themselves that it just gave me a headache after a while. Sophie, especially with her Deep Dark Secret, still could have made things easier for herself if she had only opened her bloody mouth to explain instead of perpetuating her brave sad clown act. Even if she didnt want to talk about her Deep Dark Secret, she also had money troubles throughout the book and instead of dealing with it, she just paid for the vacation of her three hanger-on entourage to dig herself further into a hole.
Grayson came across as a second-rate reject from the Judith McNaught Hero assembling line, right down to his very waspy sounding name. He didnt have that great a childhood either and he gets bad surprise after bad surprise at the end and I just want to feel for the guy but he just didnt come off the page for me.
Given a choice, I’ll always take the dark angsty read over a light, cute read but good angst needs to feel carthatic and not make me want to commit seppuku (Japanese ritual suicide) after reading it. Like the worst Mary Baloghs, this is a seppuku novel.