Tuesday, May 1, 2018

ARC Review: The California Dashwoods by Lisa Henry

The California DashwoodsFrom the blurb:

Make a new future. Choose your true family. Know your own heart. 

When Elliott Dashwood’s father dies, leaving his family virtually penniless, it’s up to Elliott to do what he’s always done: be the responsible one. Now isn’t the right time for any added complications. So what the hell is he doing hooking up with Ned Ferrars? It’s just a fling, right? 

Elliott tries to put it behind him when the family makes a fresh start in California, and if he secretly hopes to hear from Ned again, nobody else needs to know. While his mom is slowly coming to terms with her grief, teenage Greta is more vulnerable than she’s letting on, and Marianne—romantic, reckless Marianne—seems determined to throw herself headfirst into a risky love affair. And when Elliott discovers the secret Ned’s been keeping, he realizes that Marianne isn’t the only one pinning her hopes on a fantasy. 

All the Dashwoods can tell you that feelings are messy and heartbreak hurts. But Elliott has to figure out if he can stop being the sensible one for once, and if he’s willing to risk his heart on his own romance.
A modern retelling of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.

Heather's rating:

This is one of those times when I think that it isn't the book, it's me.

Why? Because I sort of screwed up.

First of all, I didn't read the blurb very well. I just saw Lisa Henry, who is one of my favorite authors, and just grabbed the book. For some reason, (I think because it said it was a take on Sense and Sensibility), I assumed it was a historical romance, and I was ridiculously excited. However, this is a modern take, as the blurb (*duh*) states.

Also, I haven't actually ever read Sense and Sensibility... which turned out to be a bit of an issue. (I really should catch up on my classic romances...). Once I finished reading The California Dashwoods, I ran over to wikipedia and read the summary of the original. I found out that they VERY closely mirror one another, which ended up being a problem for me.

In this book, and in the original, the love interests actually spend very little time together. Most of the story revolved around family and their struggles, and the grand romance felt, well, not so grand.

I'm someone who loves an epic romance, a real relationship-y romance, where love is slow-burn and built over a long period of time together. The romance in this book bordered on insta-love, and I actually didn't even like Ned that much... okay, at all. I thought he treated those around him like crap, to be honest. I get that he was supposed to be super sweet, but I never warmed to him, and I didn't have the page-time with him to change my mind.

I think if I was a Sense and Sensibility super-fan, I would have enjoyed this one, but it didn't work for me as a romance written now. I liked aspects of the story a lot, and I think Lisa Henry has loads of talent, of course, but I'm going to think VERY carefully before I reach for any more of these classic retelling stories.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

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