Just In Time
by Judith A Lansdowne, historical (2003)
Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-7421-2


This book is in love with its own voice, if there ever is such a thing. The characters here babble on and on and on, to the point that the author actually prefers to have the characters talk about incidents like overturned carriages and physical assaults by villainous fiends rather than showing me these scenes. I feel so sorry for the open inverted comma keys on the author's keyboard.

Thus story is about Reverend Richard Dempsey - who's described as a hearty and muscular handsome man who doesn't fit what one would expect a rector to look like - coming to the eccentric and horrifically verbose Berinwick to make a living. Or so he says he's doing. Veronica, the widowed Duchess Berinwick and the Rev's old flame, will eventually talk herself into falling in love with the Rev again, and he the same. In between, everybody talks about the death of the last Duke, some ghosts, a family feud, and more. In short, unfortunately, there's no shortage of things to talk about here.

I spent almost two months struggling through this book, taking it in bit by bit because this book moves at a snail's crawl. The opening conversation alone between the Rev and Veronica's son, the Duke of Berinwick, takes fourteen pages (small font print) but most of the conversation can be summed up in two pages. A reader will have to be very enamored of "Regency speak" to wade her way through the verbal diarrhea in this book. Me, I'm sure there's an amusing story about little molehills made into mountains in here, and I do wish I like this book better because Veronica and the Rev are characters of a more mature age group. Unfortunately, I really lack the patience to endure the endless little teacup chatter of people trying too hard to be quaint and amusing. For me, this book ends Just In Time, and not a moment too soon before a full-blown phobia of inverted exclamation marks seize hold over me.

Rating: 64


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