Worth: Lord of Reckoning, by Grace Burrowes

26 Aug

Worth, Lord of Recknoning coverThis book was free back in April, before the reading slump from Hell struck, and has been sitting in ye olde kindle app since.

This is one of two novels by Ms Burrowes that were nominated for this year’s RITA Award for long historical (the other one was Douglas: Lord of Heartache, which I had read a few months ago).

I originally thought, after being unable to finish reading The Summer of You for July’s TBR Challenge, that this novel would do, but, well, reading slump from Hell, you know?

Worth: Lord of Reckoning, by Grace Burrowes

This is the eleventh book in The Lonely Lords, a loosely connected series. As far as I can tell, for whatever reasons, some of these were published by Sourcebooks Casablanca, and others have been self-published. This books is one of the latter, and I had a lot of issues with it.

Here’s the blurb:

Consummate man of business and rake at large, Worth Kettering, repairs to his country estate to sort out his familial situation, trusting the ever efficient (though as yet unmet) housekeeper, Jacaranda Wyeth, will provide his family a pleasant summer retreat. To his surprise, his household is manage by a quick-witted, violet-eyed Amazon who’s his match in many regards.

As Jacaranda and Worth become enamored, the family she’s kept hidden from him, the financial clients Worth feels singularly protective of, and the ragged state of affairs between Worth and his estranged older brother Hessian all conspire to keep Worth and Jacaranda apart. Worth must choose between love and profit, and Jacaranda must decide between loyalty to her family, and the love of a man who values her above all others.

I had so many problems with this one, that it came close to becoming yet another DNF review. As it is, it’s taken me weeks of reading a chapter here and a chapter there, to finish the book.

First one, is our heroine’s name. Jacaranda? Seriously? When is this book set, again? It seems to be wallpaper Regency England, but even there, I’m wondering how on earth anyone at the time–particularly landed gentry without pretensions of scientific inclinations (and I don’t count grafting roses as enough evidence of any)–would decide to name their first female offspring after a tree from South America.

Then, about thirty pages into the story, our hero–who is the brother and heir to an earl–decides to pull up pajama bottoms. Read that again. Pajama bottoms. In the freaking Regency. A quick trip to Wikipedia tells me that pajamas didn’t become regular male sleeping attire until the reign of Victoria. How did the author miss this? or rather, how could the author miss it?

Mind you, I’m usually not all that picky when it comes to Regency-set historical romances–I don’t know enough of the actual history to object to most details–but some things are just a little too much even for me. And the things is, the way the characters speak feels too modern by half. At one point, Jacaranda calls Worth ‘egalitarian’–yet Webster dates the first known use of egalitarian in 1885.

And, please, do not get me started on the frequent “Angels abide!” and “Everlasting powers!” our main characters use to punctuate anything and everything.

Still, I soldiered on–despite the plot moppet in the form of a young niece who was abandoned somewhere in the Continent, and speaks mangled French, Italian and English. Despite the bastard sister with the dark secret dropped on the hero’s head by his estranged older brother. Despite the conniving step-mother on the heroine’s side, who spends entirely too much time telling the reader how deprived she is of all the things she is entitled to.¹

So, here’s the thing. Once again, there is nothing offensive, or even terribly wrong about the novel. There was nothing original in it either. There were many, many clichés–the housekeeper who does all the work in the estate, yet makes sure she gets no credit for it; the apparently caddish solicitor who, on the side, makes sure that opera dancers and aging courtesans have sound investments that will see them to their dotage; the summer storm that catches the hero and heroine, with a conveniently well-maintained cottage, complete with clean bed; the estranged families–on both sides, of course. And so on, and so forth.

But nothing about the story or the characters made me rage. Nothing made me stay up reading, either, but…

I guess, the worst I can say about the novel is that it bored me enough to forget I was reading it for days at a time. The best I can say about it is that there are not many egregious language, grammar, editing, or formatting errors (gah, talk about damning with faint praise!).

Worth, Lord of Reckoning gets a 6.00 out of 10.


¹ I absolutely despise people who believe they are entitled to anything other than work for what they want, and to get what they have earned, so Ms Burrowes use of the world immediately put this character in cartoon evil overlord territory for me. YMMV, obviously.


10 Responses to “Worth: Lord of Reckoning, by Grace Burrowes”

  1. Lori 26/08/2015 at 12:40 PM #

    Somewhere there’s a book that’s going to delight you.

    • azteclady 26/08/2015 at 12:49 PM #

      I hope I find one soon, that is not a re-read (currently reading Defy Not The Heart for all the Lindsay crazy sauce)

  2. bamaclm 26/08/2015 at 5:34 PM #

    I don’t recall the title of the book, but it was close to her debut. In it she had her characters drinking lemonade or some other fruit drink that could not have been available in the Regency. It is my understanding this author is bad about anachronisms but I cannot say this from my own experience, because I stopped reading her.

    It’s a shame, because if I remember correctly, the writing is good.

    Hope you’re back to “normal” soon. ❤

    • azteclady 26/08/2015 at 5:52 PM #

      Thank you, sincerely. This dissatisfaction with most everything I’m reading? Definitely not normal, and pissing me the hell off to boot.

  3. kristiej 26/08/2015 at 11:15 PM #

    I have a number of her books but mostly because they were either free or on for a very low price. I don’t think I’ll be moving them up the pile.

    • azteclady 27/08/2015 at 6:12 AM #

      Oh Kristie, my Kristie! (I could be me…)

  4. Jules Jones 03/09/2015 at 3:52 PM #

    I enjoyed it quite a lot as a daily commute book, but it did strike me as being wallpaper historical, and it must be wallpaper if I notice it (which is why if I ever feel a desperate desire to write historical I will browbeat Alex into co-writing again).

    I suspect some of your dissatisfaction with it is reading slump and you’d have enjoyed it better if you’d read it at another time, but that doesn’t really help with the underlying problem of reading slump. It sucks when you know that any book you pick up will be as ashes in your mouth. :-/ There is an entire ridge of Mount TBR formed of books I picked up, looked at, knew I would hate if I read them right now, and put back on the pile.

    • azteclady 03/09/2015 at 7:40 PM #

      Most of the time, when something I’m reading doesn’t engage me, and I know it’s my mood, I’ll put it aside for a while. I truly don’t like to hate-read–my time is valuable to me, after all.

      However, this is the third (I think?) story by Ms Burrowes I’ve read this year, and my reaction has been decidedly on the “meh” range. I think this is one of those cases where, while there is nothing wrong whatsoever with the writing per se, the voice just doesn’t do anything for my as a reader.

      Or not enough to make me look forward to reading the other three or four books of hers in the TBR mountain range of doom.

  5. Persnickety 20/09/2015 at 6:30 AM #

    Her books can have a decent emotional payoff, but I find the historical anachronisms too much to take- I have read some but I need to rebuild my tolerance. What did it for me was blueberry scones. or possibly muffin. Note to historical writers, muffins in 19 th century Britain probably had more in common with the bakery product known as an English muffin than the bakery product known as a muffin. And using berries in one?! I don’t trust the author after such mistakes, so I cannot lose myself in the story

    • azteclady 20/09/2015 at 6:46 AM #

      Welcome to my blog, Persnickety!

      I would not have known enough history to be bothered by the berry muffins, myself, but I agree completely with your last sentence–the thoroughly modern tone of the story made it so I couldn’t lose myself in the story, and it became more a chore than a pleasure to read it.

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