A Midsummer Kiss
by Tamara Gill
[Kiss the Wallflower 1]
Orphaned at a tender age, Miss Louise Grant spent her life in servitude to care for her younger siblings. Now, no longer needed as a duchess’ companion, Louise has procured employment in York. But on her last night in London, her reputation is shattered when the drunk and disorderly Marquess mistakes Louise’s room for his lover’s.
Luke, the Marquess Graham is determined to never torment himself again by daring to love. Stumbling into Miss Louise Grant’s room destroys his days of bachelorhood when he is pressured into marrying her. However, the cold and distant Marquess knows they’ll never have a happy marriage; his new and fetching wife will never crack the protective barrier around his heart.
Trying to make the best of a bad marriage Louise attempts to break through the icy visage of the Marquess. But when misfortune strikes and Luke reverts to his cold, distant former self, Louise is not willing to give up on the possibility of love. After all, ice will melt when surrounded by warmth.
Here there be spoilers.
I was looking for a light, quick, fluffy read. I got one of those things.
I never connected with the main characters; both Louise and Luke were superficial, careening between extremes of love and not-love without much impetus in either direction. Louise came across as having a spine, at least, but Luke was a bit of a milksop and, frankly, not very interesting.
Secondary characters were meh, but that wasn’t a surprise given the length of the story; there wasn’t much time to flesh out the main characters, much less the rest. It didn’t help that half the time they were referred to as things instead of by name; Louise’s siblings were referred to as “her brother” and “her sister” in many places where it would’ve been less awkward to use “Stephen” or “Sophie”.
The story had quite a few dropped threads that had potential to enrich the story had they been carried on. Luke made a pact with his cousin that said cousin would become his heir, as Luke would never have legitimate children–it was reiterated after Luke and Louise’s marriage, even. It was much of the reason presented as to why Luke wasn’t planning to sleep with Louise without a prophylactic, yet as they fell in love and started having sex, it never came up again. I’d expected it to at least have a mention at the end, given Louise’s pregnancy, but it just petered out without any resolution.
I was also waiting for Lady Clara (the obligatory smug debutante) to have her comeuppance, but it was relegated to a single line before an awkward segue to the next scene, which I initially thought would be a flashback explaining the situation. It was unsatisfyingly abrupt.
I struggled with the writing; my notes are littered with things like “What?” and “Ugh.” I had to reread sentences–sometimes entire paragraphs–more than once, as they were littered with sentence fragments, inappropriate comma splices, and random tense changes. There were also instances wherein one word was substituted for another in a common phrase that was just off enough to be jarring. (One does not touch every ounce of another’s flesh, for example.)
In the end, I got my quick read, but it was a disappointing one.
tl;dr Poorly-developed characters and a rushed, shallow story were not helped by clumsy writing.