Monday, December 22, 2014

ARC Review: A Minor Inconvenience by Sarah Granger


Duty, honor, propriety…all fall in the face of love.

Captain Hugh Fanshawe returned from the Peninsular War with a leg that no longer works properly, thanks to a French musket ball. Now his fight against Napoleon is reduced to quiet, lonely days compiling paperwork at Horse Guards headquarters.

His evenings are spent dutifully escorting his mother and sister to stifling social engagements, where his lameness renders him an object of pity and distaste. But his orderly, restricted life is thrown into sudden disarray with the arrival of Colonel Theo Lindsay.

Theo is everything Hugh is not—a man of physical perfection and easy yet distinguished address. Surprisingly to Hugh, Theo appears to be interested in making his acquaintance. Lindsay turns out to be a most convivial companion, and Hugh finds great pleasure in his company. Their friendship deepens when they become lovers.

In spite of himself, Hugh falls desperately in love. But when a French spy is suspected at Horse Guards, Hugh discovers nothing is as it seems…and the paper he shuffles from day to day could be the instrument of his lover’s death.

Dani's rating:

I wanted to love this book. I enjoy a good historical romance now and again. But A Minor Inconvenience was not what I was expecting, and it bored me to pieces.

The book was well written and historically accurate (based on my adequate, but hardly extensive, knowledge of English history). Kudos to Sarah Granger for doing her research! She includes many details about the day-to-day life of the beau monde in England during the Regency period. And I enjoyed the descriptions . . . initially.

But at the 30 percent mark, when nothing much had happened, I realized I was reading a period piece, a carefully plotted but lucklaster Masterpiece Theater episode set in the ballroom, with the bedroom nary in sight. (And don't you go thinking I'm dissing Masterpiece Theater; I used to eat that show up with a spoon.)

The romance between Hugh and Theo never came alive for me. I think this was due to the focus on Hugh's family and the mystery/espionage plot line introduced halfway through the novel.

There was no tangible passion between the men. While, yes, the novel is set during the Regency period, the audience is not. As such, the short, coquettish sex scenes were maddening and irritating; for example:

Not long after their meal, they were entwined on Theo's bed, soft murmurs turning to harsher sounds, until Hugh cried out with pleasure and shuddered beneath Theo's touch.

And that's all she wrote.

Look here, it's no mystery that I enjoy steamier novels. I do love me some serious man-on-man action. But I've given 4+ stars to plenty of novels that have no sex on page at all.

The difference is that I EXPECTED to see that unbridled lust behind closed doors here. As such, this struck me as a a well-crafted but neutered rendition of a Regency family drama.

What I love about Ava March's novels, also set in Regency England, is that the history is there, but the details are slightly blurred, with the relationship and sex magnified and explosive.

There is something incredible and heart-wrenching about two men loving each other when discovery is punishable by jail or death. Here, Granger takes the easy way out; if she didn't write it, it didn't happen.

I realize I'm in the minority here. The writing and historical accuracy elevate this book, but ultimately the story left this reader disappointed and disengaged.

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An ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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