The Vicar's Daughter, by Deborah Simmons

>> Sunday, October 20, 2002

I also started a book I was very much looking forward to reading, The Vicar's Daughter, by Deborah Simmons. It's quite hard to find, and I only got it this week.


"Charlotte Trowbridge has been looking forward to her London season since she was a little girl. It will be her opportunity to meet eligible men and bring home a husband who will help take care of her family. But when she meets the new owner of the Great House, she knows she doesn't need to go to London to find the man she wants to marry. The Earl of Wycliffe is everything she could want in a husband. Unfortunately, she is only a country girl from Sussex and the vicar's daughter -- he would never want her.

Maximilian, Earl of Wycliffe, is charmed by the vicar's daughter-- and her entire family with all its boisterous children. He offers to look out for Charlotte during her time in London and he promises the vicar he will find a suitable husband for her. Yet once Charlotte arrives in London, he finds fault with every one of her suitors no matter what their wealth or title! The vicar's daughter has a strange affect on Maximilian, but he is determined to act as her guardian. So why does he keep ending up in compromising positions with the young lady? Realizing she will never be happy marrying another man, Charlotte sets her sights on Max, even though she knows he wouldn't marry a simple country girl. She wants to help her family, but she loves Max and often finds herself in situations that will bring him to her rescue. His self-control stretched to the limits, Max finds Charlotte's escapades irritating and a disruption to his rigid schedule. Her beauty and intelligence are an attractive combination and he finally decides that the only way to stop the advances of her suitors is to marry her himself. But one of her scorned suitors interrupts their wedded bliss and this time Charlotte can't wait for Max to rescue her!"

Posted later...

I finished The Vicar's Daughter last night, and it was good, though it didn't really live up to all the hype. It would be a B for me.

Don't get me wrong, I liked it, but I didn't love it, and I didn't even think it was Simmons' best book. And I had quite a few problems with it, one of which I've already mentioned, which was having a 17-year-old as a heroine, paired with a hero over 10 years older. Very icky for me. Also, though Max was quite well-drawn, Charlotte's characterization wasn't so good. For a long time, the logic of her thought processes simply eluded me. She kept going back and forth: "I'll try to win Max" - "no, it's no use" - "He might feel something for me, I have some hope" - "He just feels sorry for me". Aghhhhh!!

Oh, and the ending was terrible. First, those last 50 pages, with a tacked on abduction to add conflict (these seems to be a regular problem in Simmons' regency-set books. I had the exact same problem with The Devil Earl and, to some extent, The Last Rogue.) Then, the horrendous epilogue. Poor Charlotte not only has had to wait like 10 years to finally visit Greece, but she finally goes with her 7 brats! Yes, count them, 7!!! I bet she really enjoys that trip. Sorry, too much for me.

Reading what I've written so far, it sounds as if I hated the book. Not so. The protagonists had a lot of chemistry, and I kinda liked them, and there were quite a few funny moments. And the book was quite hot, with lots of internal lusting, which I love. It's just I was expecting more, and got a book that was just nice.

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