Thursday, October 03, 2013

The Husband List

The Husband List  by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly

I love Janet Evanovich, especially when she's writing about Stephanie Plum and far less when she writes with a partner.  

Caroline Maxwell, a 19th century American heiress is on the market.  While her parents are looking for a successful, wealthy and preferably titled suitor to become her husband, she's got other plans.  Caroline enjoys the freedom and antics of her brother Eddie and his charming, handsome pal Jack Culhane.  Mrs. Maxwell disapproves of Jack and his new money.  

You know that little frisson of excitement you get when you read those slightly subversive and feminist passages in the books of the Brontes and Jane Austen?  I loved those books where the author writes of women who know how to behave appropriately for the time and yet,  they feel so much more modern at the same time. I lost a little of that when it happened with a heroine who was written by modern women. It just didn't have that same feeling.  I could never get past some feeling of artificiality about the whole thing.

Don't get me wrong, there are laughs here and once the story gets going, Caroline and Jack are both very likable, and the plot moves along nicely.  My problem is that I'm always looking to find stories with those wonderful women that I love spending time with so much.  Women like Jane Eyre, the Bennet sisters, the Dashwoods,  even the Brooke sisters from Middlemarch and that social climber Becky Sharp all show women who know their worth and share their insights with the reader.  Caroline's modernism and feminism don't feel as organic, when they are written by a modern hand.  

If you can be more forgiving than I, and I certainly hope that you can, you will find this an enjoyable little romp.  I wanted more than it was intended to give and for that reason found it wanting.

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