by Stella Cameron, historical/paranormal (2003)
MIRA, $6.99, ISBN 1-55166-666-9
If you love reading 393 pages about a man whining that he is not worthy of the heroine and that he can never have her and her keep coming back again and again for more punishment like a besotted puppy, About Adam is all about you. Low on plot and padded with scenes where characters from this author's previous Mayfair Square books just take up space and the ghost of Septimus Spivey just begging for an exorcism, this book is best read only by die-hard fans of this author.
Adam Chillworth loves Princess Desirée and she he. You will have to read the author's previous books to get even the vaguest idea why these two people will even like each other, because you won't find anything like that here. Desirée is twenty and he is a few years older, and while she is more than willing to do anything he wants her to do (ahem), he just won't. Because he's in love with her but their disparate station and his secrets prevent him from reciprocating. In this book, Desirée decides to play it cool, hoping that her coolness will inflame him into giving in to their passions. Alas, his enemies will try and stop them apart.
These enemies shouldn't have bothered. Adam makes passive-aggression an art form. He doesn't want her to love him but he insists on being in her company because he selfishly wants her in his life. He kisses and makes out with her while telling her that they can never be together. And he keeps doing this for almost the entire book, it's beyond ridiculous, it's tedious. His secret is not that shocking and it certainly does not warrant almost 400 pages of whining and brooding like a self-absorbed mule.
Desirée is a perplexing character in that she is really a glutton for punishment. She keeps insisting that he is the one and she just keeps coming back again and again. It's pathetic. What happened to dignity? If that idiot man wants to play so damned hard to get, just ditch that loser and move on, dear.
The author pads this story with pointless scenes of her characters from previous book whose function is to remind me again and again how Desirée and Adam are simply just perfect for each other. Yes, they can tell me that until their faces turn blue, but I don't see it at all. The author is more concerned with her meta in-jokes than to develop her characters or romance. Desirée and Adam have little chemistry - Desirée has more chemistry with her maid whom she loves to kiss (on the cheek, that is) - because Desirée is like a puppy begging for punishment and Adam is a non-stop whiny twit. It's all about him, his pain, his misery, and he seems never aware that he is dragging other people down with him in his self-pity party. His flimsy estrangement from his family is never developed beyond the superficial, so as a result I have very little sympathy for his behavior.
The ghost, a blatant substitute for the author's ego, adds to the noise pollution.
Oh well. If anything, at least the author has guts to write close to 400 pages of a hero's whining. She must be testing the limits of how far she can bore her audience before they all drop dead from ennui.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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