The Ideal Bride, by Nonnie St. George

>> Thursday, June 03, 2004

The Ideal Bride, by new author Nonnie St. George, received great buzz online last year.

Why Look For The Ideal Wife…
Marriage is a serious matter according to wealthy businessman Gabriel Carr, not to be influenced by anything so frivolous as emotion—or the usually giddy female reaction to his striking good looks. Drawing up a list of the traits he requires in a bride is the first step; the second is asking his merchant tenants to introduce him to suitable young women. Lady Nola Grenvale, the first candidate, is far from ideal—especially when Gabriel learns that her interest in him has nothing to do with marriage, but with his Soho Square warehouse instead!

When True Love Has Just Arrived?
Nola's fondest dream is to create a bazaar where war widows might sell their handiwork, and Gabriel's warehouse is a perfect site for the enterprise. Yet the stubborn man—ridiculously handsome though he may be—refuses to lease it to her! Determined to prove that her scheme is sensible, Nola agrees to lend her aid to some of his other projects—and soon realizes that Gabriel's masculine appeal is not the only thing about him she admires. It's clear that that she fulfills none of his stated ideals, yet before long she yearns to offer the irresistible man the one thing he hasn't listed...her love.

*sigh* I must have been expecting too much, after the way everyone carried on and on about how The Ideal Bride was the funniest book of 2003. But I found the author's sense of humour delightful in her interview at AAR, and when she posted in the message boards as well, so I really was pretty sure I would find the book funny. However, for almost half the book, I didn't.

It was just too physical, way too many people falling down all over the place, and breaking expensive china, and generally humiliating themselves. Almost like watching the Three Stooges, which is simply painful to me. Just a small sample of the type of humour here, in the scene where the protagonists meet, the heroine is banging on the door so hard that she falls into the room when the hero opens the door. So he catches her, and she accidentally swings her reticule and bangs him on the nose, which immediately starts bleeding. If you don't find this funny, you probably won't enjoy this either.

And then, of course, there's the problem of the hero, who is a stupid, stubborn, arrogant mule. And rude servants. And Nola's aunts were rude, too. And after a couple of pages, I found Nola's obsession with Gabriel's warehouse tiresome.

But then, after the halfway point, the book suddenly improved. The physical humour gave way to a gentler one, more based on wit than on people getting banged up. I didn't exactly start to find it laugh-out-loud hilarious, but there were some smile-worthy scenes, like Gabriel waiting for Nola in a darkened room, posed as if he were sleeping, in order to get her overcome by lust... or Gabriel positioning himself with his "good profile" showing. Much better :-)

And what was even better: Gabriel and Nola started to spend time together, and fall in love, and that was very nicely rendered. Gabriel became nicer, Nola gave the warehouse a little rest, and those two were really nice and cute together. And for a book were the most that happened was a few kisses, it felt pretty sensual.

The only thing I didn't like about this last half was the way everyone and their mother seemed hell-bent on matchmaking and forcing Nola and Gabriel together. I really disliked all these people, most especially Gabriel's mother, for being so arrogant as to be that sure that they know better in matters that are supposed to be private. I have an almost pathological dislike of these obsessed people in romance novels, and can't help but wish they'd get a life of their own.

So, I guess I'll give it a nice grade for the second half, maybe a B, B+, since it wasn't at all perfect anyway, and a C-, C for the stupid first half. That would make an average of B-, maybe, but I'll round it up to a B because it ended on a high note :-)


Post a Comment

Blog template by

Back to TOP