I waited too long after reading Lisa Kleypas’ Somewhere I’ll Find You to write up a review, so, fair warning: this review will be scattered and I’ve probably forgotten most of my thoughts and feelings on the story. This book is apparently the first in a series about the Capital Theatre and tells the tale of Jessica Wentworth (nee Julia Hargate), a renowned stage actress in 19th-century England. At an insanely early age, her father, in order to secure a title, promised her in marriage to Damon Savage, a Duke or Marquess or something like that. At the time they were four and eight, respectively. It isn’t really laid out that clearly but somehow a marriage ceremony takes place and then the two go their separate ways.
Refusing to be used as a piece of property, or submit to the will of a tyrannical husband like her mother, Julia flees at eighteen and becomes an actress. After many years, she is the toast of the town and is on her way to being the most successful stage actress in the country. In the meantime, young Damon worked his entire life to use the money his father had gotten from Julia’s dowry to restore the family estate to its former glory and then some. He has grown into quite a proud, severe man and spends much time wondering about where his ‘wife’ could have gotten to. He has been, for years, searching for his long-lost child bride in order to allow her to either annul the arrangement, or, take her rightful place as the wife of the Marquess/Duke/whatever Savage. Little does he know that the beautiful and captivating stage actress Jessica Wentworth, a woman he wants to see as his next mistress, is actually Julia Hargate.
I won’t go into more in the plot, as it is fairly unsurprising here and to be honest, rather uneventful. This hasn’t been one of my favorites of Kleypas. Julia/Jessica isn’t that appealing of a heroine, despite her advanced feminist inclinations. The problem with her, I think, is that she is so wishy-washy. NO I don’t want to stop acting, YES I want to get married and have a family, etc. I understand having conflicting feelings about a potential mate – on the one hand he is appealing, stirs feelings in her she’s never had, and is fantastic in the sack. On the other, however, he makes no attempt to hide that he hates her profession and wouldn’t be able to handle seeing his wife on the stage. Something she has worked for for a decade would just have to stop. But honestly – she KEEPS going over and over the reasons she can’t be with Damon. He doesn’t really help himself. He’s strong and hot and whatnot, but, he has no talent for wooing, and is somewhat arrogant. I didn’t really feel much for this couple.
I’ll just list some of my other issues with this book.
- The title. Somewhere I’ll Find You is kind of creepy and misleading. Sure, Damon has been seeking out the wife he doesn’t know for years, but, not really all that long and his search ends (though he’s not aware of it for a few chapters) pretty much as soon as the book starts. So, not really that great of a title choice.
- Child marriage. Perhaps I know too little of English history. I feel like the conceit that some vicar somewhere would have been down with marrying a pair of kids under 10 is stretching the limits here. Not to mention, would it have even been valid? Damon’s need to find this bride is self-imposed, it seems like any normal human being would just get an annulment and be done with it.
- Lack of action/tension/etc. Basically Damon discovers that Jessica is his wife pretty quickly and then it’s just chapter after chapter of him saying that he wants her to be his wife for real and her saying, ‘No, I just can’t!’ There aren’t any awesome kidnappings, murder plots, or general looming threats to the couple’s happiness except themselves. That’s just less exciting to me.
That about covers it. Did I read this in two days? Yes. Would I say it’s an awesome entry from Kleypas? Meh.
PS – Did anyone read the opinion piece in International Business Times questioning why women read romance novels? I found it seriously irritating but was amused by the heaps and heaps of comments in response. I don’t like it well enough to link it because the dude’s an asshat, but, if you’re into some man talking about what feminism is and isn’t and how romance shows that we women don’t really like feminist ideas, Forever Young Adult links to it in their most recent Procrastination Pro Tips. Apparently he added an addendum and tried to backtrack a little. Hrmph.
PPS – I was buying a book for my brother for Christmas and I finally gave in and bought a copy of Devil in Winter for myself. Sebastian-4-eva!