Ruining Miss Wrotham by Emily Larkin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Armed with only a four month old letter, Eleanor is trying to find her runaway younger sister. In a cloud of ruin because her younger sister ran off with a soldier, her ex-fiance won't even help her.
Armed with a special license, Mordecai is trying to chase down Eleanor. When he finds her, she'll begrudgingly take his help in finding her sister but she won't marry him.
On a road trip fraught with fire, fairy godmothers, and danger, Mordecai and Eleanor are on a journey that will hopefully last a lifetime.
Fifth in the Baleful Godmother series, I would suggest you start at the beginning. The fairy godmother part is not really explained and the way it is offhand mentioned, without me a new reader knowing what it was about, made it feel very odd. I think since the story is solidly set in a "normal" universe, the supernatural small part felt like a square peg in a round hole. For the majority of the story, I know Eleanor gets a wish on her twenty-third birthday but not until towards the end do I get the explanation for why; I assume the first book in the series would clear this up. Without knowledge, explanation, or depth to this supernatural part, when it was mentioned or appeared, it felt very awkward.
He'd call Eleanor Wrotham's bluff and seduce her into marriage.
This is a road romance but even though our heroine and hero are having adventures, the story focuses pretty solidly on them. Mordecai came off as a very sturdy fellow and I know he really liked/loved Eleanor, I feel like I missed the falling in love. The beginning of this did make me feel like I missed the beginning introduction to these characters (maybe in a previous book?) and even though Mordecai relays a story to Eleanor telling her why he first took notice of her, I never felt like I actively saw or journeyed along with him as he fell in love. To me, Eleanor danced around the too stupid to live line. She was the "I won't marry you because you could be ostracized!” which was definitely a valid fear but her circumstances and later feelings made her continued refusal seem extremely overplayed story roadblock. Unlike with the hero, I could see why and how Eleanor started to fall for Mordecai, that growth was clearly there. However, I'm not sure I personally connected with this couple.
In what is probably a personal dislike, I wasn't a big fan of Eleanor's bright spotlighted innocence. I know women at this time would not have a lot of opportunities to gain knowledge about sex or anatomy but the "teaching" by Mordecai to Eleanor with the almost dictionary and thesaurus approach made her feel too much like a little kid to me. While their sex scenes didn't quite feel clinical, the way they played out took out a lot of the passion for me. I'm also not one to complain when other men or other women are mentioned but the listing of Mordecai's mistresses and his explaining of their relationship felt a bit pointless and stretched out. Mordecai and Eleanor do talk a lot, which is great, I just felt that most of their conversations didn't fully add to the emotional narrative so much as feel long winded.
Looking at all the other reviews I'm definitely in the minority, sometimes a story doesn't personally jive and I can tell a lot had to do with the author's style of connecting Eleanor and Mordecai and probably not reading the other books in the series. At the end, I did feel more of a connection between the two but the deeper feelings felt rushed. I'll probably go back to the first book in the series and give that one try; hopefully getting the foundation for the supernatural part will help.
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