Format read: ebook copy provided by the publisher for review
Release Date: 20 May 2013
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Number of pages: 200 pages
Formats available: ebook
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author’s Website, Amazon, Read an excerpt
Jason Cavendish, the Earl of Coventry, is trying to discreetly locate his unwanted and abandoned bride among London society to request an annulment. However, he doesn’t remember what she looks like because he was blind drunk at his arranged wedding and hasn’t seen her since. The fascinating Lady Olivia has captured the Earl’s attention. Newly arrived from the country to stay with her school friend for the Season, she is appalled to discover that her husband, Lord Coventry, doesn’t even recognize her. She’s not about to tell the arrogant arse that she is his wife. Instead, she flirts with him by night and has her modiste send her mounting bills to him by day. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned… Too bad this woman finds her husband nearly irresistible.
My Thoughts: When I read the blurb of The Elusive Wife it immediately reminded me of a couple of Shakespeare’s plays, the premise sounded like his usual misunderstanding-mixed up love comedies. And while the story was nice, it could have been better.
Even after his death Jason’s father must make his son’s life miserable: in his will he gave an ultimatum according to which Jason either marries a girl his father chose for him or will lose his title and estate. So after his initial adamant rebellion Jason surrenders but doesn’t want to witness his own misery so he gets comatose drunk for his wedding. That is how he doesn’t remember or recognize the woman he married and can fall under the spell of a beautiful stranger he has no idea is actually his brand new wife.
I really wanted to like this story better, but neither the characters nor the writing made it easy. Both Jason and Olivia remained undeveloped, one-dimensional characters I couldn’t really root for, especially since their interaction lacked real passion and unrestrained emotion. I thought their dialogues were affected.
I also found that the hero discovered the true identity of the mysterious Lady Olivia too early, I would have preferred for the misunderstanding/charade to go on for a bit more and have a laugh at him being clueless and lovesick.
Another complaint of mine was that Jason was in lust with Olivia, he was constantly going on about how he envisioned her sprawled out on his bed, felt his groin tightening upon seeing her neck, etc. Ok, I get that his interest for Lady Olivia was sparked by her beauty and his physical reaction to her, but I would have loved to see some clues that it was more than a physical craving, I wanted him to feel affection and love for her, but only his lust was apparent.
Besides the romance aspect of the story I had some problems with the writing: it could have used some smoothing out, a bit more/stricter editing to shape the words and narrative better. Some lines were bumpy, they read stilted:
“We will rest here for the night. Don’t try to do anything foolish. It would bother me not at all to kill one of the tavern keepers.”
Her mouth was nectar he sipped from, could become addicted to.
It was a nice quick story, but I just wanted to like/enjoy it better. Somehow Callie Hutton’s writing didn’t flow smoothly enough for me, I don’t know if it was mostly due to a less than stellar editing or the writing style itself, will have to give her stories another go to decide.
Verdict: The Elusive Wife started out well, I liked its premise, but unfortunately the characters remained shallow and uninteresting, and the plot took a turn for the worse by having recourse to the usual clichés. With a bumpy writing, it didn’t manage to suck me in and make me devour the pages. I expected more from it.
I give The Elusive Wife 3 stars!
ps. the new cover is a great improvement compared to the old one, bravo!
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