Monday, January 19, 2009

Love in Waiting by Jane Beckenham

TITLE: Love in Waiting
AUTHOR: Jane Beckenham
PUBLISHER: Cerridwen Press
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 85k)
GENRE: Time travel romance
COST: $6.99

A trip to England gives Jayne Seatoun more than a vacation. It sends her spiraling into the past, into the life of Lord Callum Broderick. Though he rubs her entirely the wrong way, she can’t get him out of her head, even if she would rather be in his bed…

This almost went into my DNF pile. I had so little time to actually read over the holidays, wasting what little I had on a story I suspected after chapter two wouldn’t work for me seemed silly. But I kept hoping that I would be surprised. Sadly, I wasn’t.

The setting of sixteenth century English life is adequately created. The close historical detail helps to compensate the story’s other weaknesses. As a heroine, Jayne is presented in ways that I’m sure are meant to make her look independent and spunky, but come across as bitchy instead. Callum constantly remarks on her need to be contrary, and frankly, it’s deserved. There’s never a clear enough reason for her to be sharp with him, or for the about-faces she makes throughout the course of the story – often in the middle of a scene. It all feels incredibly manufactured to keep these two apart as long as possible, without ever feeling organic.

That sense of manufacturing is present in the plot as well. Early on, Jayne tells the story of how she’s lost her family, which is meant to make her more sympathetic. It doesn’t really work, but outside of that, there is a woman who works in Callum’s castle who not only has the same name as Jayne’s missing mother, but also is the mother of Callum’s best friend, Thomas Seaton. There is absolutely no mystery as to who Margaret and Thomas really are, and if I’m supposed to say to myself, “Oh, but there’s an extra u in Jayne’s last name, so that makes a difference,” the story missed its mark. But Jayne never puts any of this together until the end of an already too-long and tedious book, even though she is with these people for months and months. It’s blatant and clumsy, and reflects poorly on the heroine when she is already difficult to like. I have no idea why anybody falls for her, let along King Henry on top of it. She’s symptomatic of everything that doesn’t work for me in this story. Perhaps in the end, I should have listened to my instincts after all.


6/10 – Awkward tense shifts, an unlikeable heroine, and clumsy execution makes these a tedious read.


5/10 – Though there are attempts to make him interesting, most of the time he comes off as kind of a flake.


3/10 – Attempts to make her plucky only make her look like a bitch

Entertainment value

2/10 – No surprises, no involvement, little enjoyment

World building

7/10 – Enough detail to make the past feel real



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