An Affair to Remember, by Karen Hawkins

>> Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Back to some February books: An Affair to Remember (read excerpt), by Karen Hawkins.

Suddenly finding himself the guardian of five energetic children, Anthony Elliot, the Earl of Greyley, knows that he needs a governess and fast. But not just any governess will do; he wants the best. The problem is that the best is the very unconventional Anna Thraxton, a gently bred woman who speaks her mind, puts up with no nonsense, remains stubborn and passionate, and is beautiful as well. Unfortunately, they can't stand each other. But the children need to be taken in hand, and so Anna moves in and wins over the children and the earl at the same time.
AATR was a B for me. It was much, much better than the other Hawkins book I've read, The Seduction of Sara, which I gave a C+. AATR did have a few problems, but on the whole, I enjoyed it.

I especially liked Anna. Her family has no money anymore, but she doesn't go boo-hoo, what shall I do, I'll have to marry for money and go into bouts of self-pity. She simply pulls herself together and becomes the best governess possible. No victim, this one. Plus, she's sensible and very forthright.

Because of this, however, I didn't really believe she'd be so weak in regards to her desire for Anthony. I'm not always bothered by heroines whose thoughts just fly out of their heads when the hero kisses them, but it did bother me in Anna's case, because it seemed out of character.

Anthony was likeable, but problematic too. It was interesting to see him torn between his Elliot and St. john impulses and he was a bit stuffy, which I like in a hero (or rather, I like seeing the stuffiness being knocked out of him). But the author put him in a very difficult position, having him engaged to someone else. On one hand, I realise that a man who broke and engagement back then pretty much had no honor, because this meant he was ruining the woman, so it was nice that he never even considered doing this. But, on the other hand, this meant he intended to make Anna his mistress for much of the book, in spite of her protests, and I despised him for it. Having Charlotte just fall for someone else and free him from the engagement was an easy way out.

The first 2/3 of the book were a B+ for me, but the ending wasn't as good. There was Lady Putney there, making mischief. This just didn't feel right. It was a bit of external conflict when the story had previously been driven solely by internal conflict, so it just felt out of place. Plus, it all felt too rushed, and the author didn't make good use of Anthony being jealous of Rupert, which was a situarion which had promise.

Another problem was that there wasn't a satisfying solution to Anna and Anthony's relationship with the children. I enjoyed Anna's interactions with them in the first part of the book, but they were relegated to the background in the last part.

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