Under the Wishing Star, by Diane Farr

>> Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Under the Wishing Star, by Diane Farr, was one of the books kindly sent to me by Susan K., and I couldn't wait to start reading.

Widower Malcolm Chase wants to dismiss his daughter's cruel governess and hire kind Natalie Whittaker instead. Natalie fears it would be unseemly for a woman of her station to move into a bachelor's household. The obvious solution? Marriage. But Natalie desires a union of love, not convenience-a wish that just might come true when fate gives her feminine wiles a fighting chance...
As in all the Farr books I've read so far, UTWS has a to-die-for hero and a less wonderful heroine. A B.

Malcolm is just lovely, a sweet, honourable, genuinely nice man, with a knack for the most romantic gestures. For all that I love romance novels, I don't particularly like most of the stuff popularly considered romantic, as most of it is much too schmaltzy for me. But the kinds of things Malcolm did... ::sigh:: Oh, yes! :-D Throwing a party just so that you can dance with someone... oh, wow! And while it wasn't really a romantic gesture on Malcolm's part, I especially liked the scene of the first kiss. The things going through his brain while they kissed put a silly grin on my face.

Unfortunately, I didn't particularly care for Natalie. My main problem was her "I'll marry someone who loves me or I won't marry" stance. Ok, I was ok with the fact that she would like to marry for love. After all, hey, I'd want that too, and Farr even makes it clear that she knows most people are not like that. The thing is, she just acts stupidly about it.

I mean, even before she was given an ultimatum by her brother, it was pretty stupid for her to refuse Malcolm's offer, since she was fully conscious that the odds were high she wouldn't be meeting anyone elegible where she was, and that her options were basically to either live all her life with her unbearable brother and his stupid wife or marry a man who she loved and who was, at the very least, extremely fond of her. And even when the choice was between the latter and living on the streets, she doubted. Then there was the way she wouldn't believe Malcolm when he told her his feelings, even though he has given her absolutely no reason to think he'd behave so manipulatively. She realizes this same thing long afterwards, but the damage was done.

Still, for all that there were times I wanted to slap Natalie, the romance did work for me. I loved how Malcolm and Natalie became friends and confidantes before anything more physical developed, and I loved that there were no extraneous suspense subplots and the focus was on the character development. I even didn't mind the conflict all that much, even though I usually lose patience with having both hero and heroine madly in love but refusing to tell or show the other so as not to influence or pressure them.

I think I would have liked love scenes that were a bit more detailed. Sometimes very subtle descriptions, as the ones here, work fine, but Farr had developed such wonderful sexual tension that it felt like a lack of payoff, having the bedroom door more or less banged in my face (or rather, I'd describe it more as having the hero and heroine burrowing under the covers while doing it, so all I could see were the bedcovers moving around).

Susan sent me the book which comes after this one, Under a Lucky Star, too, so I'll probably be getting to it soon. I loved Derek in UTWS, so I want to see if I like him even more than Malcolm in his own book!


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