Friday, February 1, 2008
This Is All I Ask - Lynn Kurland
My last reread for the January Rereading Challenge. I didn't manage to read as many as I hoped but the one missing will be reread soon, it's Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice!
Gillian of Warewick knows no other treatment than the terrible physical and mental abuse issued by her father. When he arranges a match for Gillian with Christopher of Blackmour, she is fearful: Blackmour is rumored to be an evil sorcerer. When Gillian meets him, he proves to be far more of a man than her father is, yet he is unwilling to be a lover to Gillian. She finds that Blackmour has as many psychological scars to heal as she has physical scars.
First of all I must say that I've tried several Kurland books but this was the only one that made it to my keeper shelf way back when I first started reading romance. I had really fond memories of it and I was hoping it would make for a good reread. It wasn't exactly terrible but I'm afraid it wasn't as good as I remembered.
Gillian starts the book terrified of her father and of the man he wants her to marry and that she believes to be a dark sorcerer. Although her fear his understandable we immediately know that Christopher is nothing of what she believes him to be and the reason for him to marry her as nothing to do with evil deeds or malicious intentions. In fact her is hiding a secret that he doesn't want her to find.
This seems like the beginning of a great story but my problems with it were Kurland's attempts at being funny. Those scenes did not come across as humourous but as childish. I was forever having to remind myself that Gillian was not 14 or 15 years old because she kept sounding like a child in those scenes and I was jarred out of the story. The same for some of Christopher's actions even if he was a bit better. he is scarred by a villanous first wife and he suddenly decides that because Gillian wants to get pregnant and visit's the castle whore to know more about it she must be evil too and mistreats her and sends her away. And this doesn't happen in the beginning, it happens in the middle after he knows her better and what she suffered at her father's hands. Oh the attampt at fantasy with the witches was wasted on me, I don't think it really added to the story and to me it felt like an artificial way of wrapping things up.
I know I'm making it sound pretty bad and I'm a bit worried because I was looking to a B- grade and now it feels I'm describing a much lower grade. The thing is I liked the characters! I liked Christopher, even with that outburst and even if some of the details of his secret seemed to easy for him to handle. Then I really liked Colin, his right hand man, and Jason his squire and Robin of Artane. I even liked Gillian wen she wasn't sounding like a 14 year old. But the book lacked depth to fully explore the traumas of both Gillian and Christopher and then attempted a humour that really didn't work for me.