Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review- Lady In the Mist by Laurie Alice Eakes

Lots of people seem to enjoy Historicals. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) They’re huge. They’re everywhere. Generally, I like contemporary romance… or fantasy. I do love fantasy. So although a Historical is rarely my first choice, I will, occasionally give in and, after much deliberation over the back cover copy, pick up a Historical something-or-other to read.

But I am, by no means, what would be called a “fan” I’m not the kind of girl who wants to join your Hist Fic book club, eat pemmican, and get my will to live sucked completely dry over discussions about the romance of times gone by. No, you really don’t want me at your meetings. I might very well alienate your club members by reminding them exactly how “romantic” people smelled before liquid soap, running water, flush toilets, and Crest Toothpaste. And, if you’re any sort of respectable fan of Historicals at all, that will probably make you mad at me. And then we’ll have a hard time being friends. And it will be sad.

So here’s the surprising news: Without any undue influence I picked up Lady in the Mist, an Inspiration Historical Romance by Laurie Alice Eakes, at the library recently. And I read it. And, more surprisingly still: I liked it.


THE SITCH: (from the back cover)
By virtue of her profession as a midwife, Tabitha Eckles is the keeper of many secrets. Dominick Cherrett is a man with his own secret to keep: namely, why he, a British aristocrat, is on American soil working as an indentured servant.

In a time when relations between America and England rest on the edge of a knife, Tabitha and Dominick cross paths, leading them on a journey of intrigue, threats, public disgrace, and… love. But can Tabitha trust Dominick? Finding true love seems impossible in a world set against them.

With stirring writing that draws you directly into the story, Lady in the Mist takes you on the thrilling ride of loves’ discovery.

HOW IT HIT ME:

Like an Atlantic wave slapping against the side of a sloop. In other words, the story moved at a steady, if temperate pace with little jolts of surprise to keep me slightly off balance.

I’d like to say the little bit on the back cover about “stirring writing that draws you directly into the story” was what made me pick the book up in the first place, -- but considering how soon it was after the Royal Wedding Festivities, I’d have to admit that it was more likely the words “British Aristocrat.” I must admit, however, that, even though I’m not sure I would call this book “stirring” I would definitely say it was a well-told tale. The pacing was a little slow at times, and although it was very true-to-life, as a reader I got a little tired of the characters’ internal struggles being revisited similarly in almost every chapter.

Ms. Eakes does a very good job of giving her story a clear sense of place. The reader is “there” in that little New England village, “there” in Tabitha’s cottage, “there” in the sloop, and “there” in Dominick’s stifling attic room. Her characters were vivid in both appearance and voice: I always knew who was talking and where they were while they were talking. I was present in the story. And that doesn’t always happen for me when reading a Historical.


WHAT MADE ME SQUIRM

I got a little impatient with Tabitha and Dominick and Raleigh (Tabitha’s ex-fiance) and the way they vented their “issues” with God so frequently. Maybe because I’m a little too much like them, hearing and believing one thing, yet still behaving as if the Grace, Mercy, and Love (note the capital letters) of God are commodities rather than gifts.

Or maybe it’s because I have Historical ADD. I don’t know. You be the judge.


TO READ, OR NOT TO READ; THAT IS THE QUESTION:

I think fans of Historical Romance will flip their knickers over this book. So, all ya’all who are into that sort of thing: read it, okay? The pace will be familiar, the detail and characters will be vivid and, as far as I know, true. You will love it. And for those of you, like me, who rarely read this subgenre? I think you will enjoy it as well. I was engaged by the story, the sense of place, and the characters – and that’s saying a lot because, as previously mentioned, I’m pretty easily distracted when it comes to this subgenre. Laurie Alice Eakes piqued my interest – and kept it. Add this title to your list. And just in case that isn’t enough to recommend this novel to you skeptics, I will add a couple of teensy details:

1. The kiss scenes are beautifully and tenderly written. And,
2. Dominick, that BRITISH ARISTOCRAT, is kinda knee-melt-worthy. I’m just sayin’.


AND FINALLY, IN THE WORDS OF INIGO MONTOYA:
“No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”


Lots of people like Historical Fiction. But they don’t usually invite me to their parties. (Perhaps you picked that up already.) I’m the type of girl who watches Castle and Psych and Breaking In, -- not The History Channel. In fact, when my True Love (bless his old-fashioned heart) flips to an educational channel (which happens waaayyy too frequently at my house) I generally expel loud and deliberate moans of mental anguish before leaving the room. History-schmistory, I say. Facts about dead folk, even when narrated by Donald Sutherland, are boh-ring to me. “Give me snarky, fast-paced fun, or give me death!” I cry. And yet… something compelled me to pick up this book, bring it home, and read it. And, stranger still, I liked it.

Just keep in mind: I don’t know if rogue officers of the British Navy really
impressed Americans into service to fight the war against the French after the American Revolution, like depicted in this novel. But I don’t really care, because the way Laurie Alice Eakes wrote about it, well – if it didn’t happen, it might as well have. It sure was believable. In fact, if I’m ever quizzed about it in some learning annex class about Early American History (that I certainly do not intend to take), I’ll say “yes they did!” simply because I read this book and Laurie said so.

Serena's Rating:










Reviewed by contributor Serena Chase
Follow Serena Chase on Twitter @Serena_Chase

7 comments:

  1. LOL @ your battle cry, "Give me snarky, fast-paced fun, or give me death!”

    Great review Serena.

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  2. Loved your review Serena! I'm not a historical fiction fan either, but have been known to pick one up now and then. I'm with Joy in that I loved your comment "Give me snarky, fast-paced fun, or give me death! AMEN!

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  3. I loved the comment about what romance was like before Crest toothpaste! I'll try to block that from my mind when I read my next historical fiction book b/c I read them quite frequently! :o)

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  4. Like you I'm not into these kind of books, adn living in London, you won't find them in any libraries or popular book stores. Unlike in America inspirational fiction is big, it's pretty non-existent in the UK. It would need to be bought on-line. My sister woudl probably like these, though.

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  5. @Julie- Hey, I didn't know you weren't a fan of historical.

    @Christy- Historical Fiction is like my comfort food, I do really love it. But since starting this blog I've discovered there *is* such a thing as reading too much of them. I have to pace myself.

    @D.U.- Hello! Thanks for joining us over here. Please come visit often. :)

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  6. Well Joy I love the prairie books like the old Love Comes Softly series. So I guess I'm picky about the historical fiction that I read. I didn't want to read Pompeii because I thought it was just going to be a history lesson. But I ended up enjoying the story. I agree with you though, you can gorge too much and get burned out. I have to spice it up with a bit of YA and some modern day crime or something!

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  7. "I might very well alienate your club members by reminding them exactly how “romantic” people smelled before liquid soap, running water, flush toilets, and Crest Toothpaste."

    lol, so true so true! We do tend to over-romanticize, don't we?

    I don't know that I've ever read historical romance, but I admire writer who can choose the past as their setting and make it believable. I don't know that I'm brave enough to tackle it myself.

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