Everything She Lost…
Lady Aimee Wentworth has grown tired of Reece Hamilton avoiding her. Unable to shake her childhood vow to marry the dashing sailor, she devises a plan that she’s certain will land her in his arms. But before she can act, she’s captured by Reece’s crew, and an ill-timed case of mistaken identity all but shatters her hopes of winning back his affections…
…Was Worth Everything She Gained
Born the untitled second son of a lord, Reece has resigned himself to the life of a sailor. Unable to provide the luxuries befitting a Lady, he insisted that Aimee seek the hand of a nobleman. But when he discovers her on board his ship, he knows there is only one direction in which to set his sails – toward a destiny more adventurous – and more passionate – than either could have ever imagined…
This one got a D- at AAR. It was this close to being my first ever F review there, but scraped through for some reason I now can’t remember, because I’m so pleased to have put this book behind me!
Well. If my Kindle’s calculation of the time it took me to read this book is accurate, that’s five-and-a-half hours of my life I’m never going to get back.
I honestly don’t know where to begin with this utter mess of a book. But we’ll start at the very beginning as I’m reliably informed that’s the very best place to start. The synopsis/blurb tells the reader this is a story about two characters named Aimee Wentworth and Reece Hamilton, stating that “Lady Aimee Wentworth has grown tired of Reece Hamilton avoiding her. Unable to shake her childhood vow to marry the dashing sailor, she devises a plan that she’s certain will land her in his arms.” And then says that, as the lowly second son of a mere lord, Reece knows he has no hope of keeping the daughter of a marquess in the style to which she is accustomed, and must therefore keep his distance.
See, that, right there, is where I should have stopped reading. That whole “I am not worthy” trope is almost always nothing but a weak plot device, but by then I already had the review book in my hands and it was too late to send it back!
Aimee’s plan to “land her in his arms” is to sneak aboard Reece’s ship, and hope that he will wake up to the fact that he loves her as much as she loves him and that they are destined to be Together 4 Eva. She persuades her two friends Millie (heroine of the previous book) and Janelle (not a very typical 19th Century English name, but then, neither is Aimee) – to accompany her on Operation Snag-a-Hubby. After all, they’re the “Daring Three”, known throughout society for their unconventional escapades – and they didn’t get that nickname by meekly sitting by the fire netting handbags.
Another point at which I should probably have stopped reading; a trio of young, well-born women in 1816 given to doing outrageous things who haven’t been socially ostracised as a result didn’t just stretch my credulity, it broke it into little bits. But that goes with the territory sometimes – we read Turkeys like this so you don’t have to.
Our 1816 version of Charlie’s Angels – incidentally, a blonde, brunette and red-head, just in case anyone can’t tell which is which – set off for the docks late at night dressed in men’s clothes, because that is a very sensible and practical thing to do at night in the less salubrious areas of London. But Aimee is accidentally-on-purpose “captured” by two ruffians who happen to be part of the crew of the Sea Emerald, which also happens to be the ship of which Reece – with whom Aimee has been desperately in love since she was six – is the captain.
For some reason she can’t fathom, Reece, after snogging her face off and fingering her to orgasm on the parlour sofa over Christmas (he couldn’t have given her a more practical present?) – now wants nothing to do with her. But she isn’t going to let him get away with that, oh, no. She is going to confront him, dammit, and ask
him to do it again him why he doesn’t want her. Even by this point (around chapter three), I was feeling sorry for the poor sod. He has clearly sussed out that being married to a member of the “Daring Three” would drive him round the bend and is running away to put as much distance between Aimee and himself as possible.
Once aboard ship, the crew very quickly works out that this is the woman their captain is simultaneously mooning over and actively avoiding, and anticipates a bloodbath once he discovers she’s on board. Having struggled with her “captors”, Aimee is a bit banged up and realises that it won’t help matters if Reece sees her like that, so she decides the best idea is to keep out of his way for a few weeks until the marks have faded. The next part of the book is like a French Farce (without the humour), as the crewmembers strive to hide her from Reece, while she pulls her Snow White act, turning a bunch of hardened salty sea-dogs into the equivalent of fluffy bunnies and lesser-spotted warblers who help her to clean up the cottage. Ship. Whatever. And because part of her plan is to convince Reece that she is indeed the sort of woman who could embrace a life at sea, she inveigles them all into telling her about their jobs, and teaching how to do them herself.
By the time Aimee saves the entire crew from death during a terrible storm by using her newly acquired Mad Rigging Skillz and Reece finally claps eyes on her, we’re more than half way through the book, and apart from the famous fingering flashback, up to this point Reece and Aimee haven’t interacted AT. ALL.
From the synopsis, one would naturally infer that Reece and Aimee are the “hero” and “heroine” of this book, but actually, less than half the book is about them; the majority of it focuses on Chase and Millie, who were the protagonists of the previous book, who are experiencing an early rough patch in their fledgling marriage – and who also spend most of their “screen time” apart. I did rather like the fact that we’ve got a storyline here which looks beyond the HEA/wedding of a fictional romantic couple, but this is the wrong place for it. It should either have been part of the earlier novel, or have been a separate one. Much time is devoted to Millie’s guilt over the fact she hadn’t discouraged Aimee from her scheme, and her bemoaning the fact that she’s let Chase down, and how she’s known all along she’d never be fully accepted by the members of the ton because of her adventurous exploits. So what does she do to prove to him that she’s capable of being a suitable marchioness and to make amends for what she sees as her part in Aimee’s supposed abduction? She runs away from her father’s and heads for the London docks where she gets a job as a tavern-maid in order to see what she can find out!! *headdesk*
The stupidity doesn’t end there, but there’s not enough space in a single review to pick out all the TSTL moments. Although the highlights on my Kindle show that there are many.
If I’m to believe the blurb and accept this book is meant to be about Reece and Aimee, then they should be the focus of the story, and if I’m to accept this book is meant to be a romance, then there needs to actuallybe one! Because as far as I could see, this consists of:
Reece: I am too far below you – we can never be together!
Aimee: But we LUFF each other!
Reece: Okay then. Let’s have sex.
There’s also something thrown in about some mysterious thefts that have been occurring on the ships that comprise the fleet of the shipping company that Reece owns jointly with Chase, but because I haven’t read book one – a fact for which I am now truly grateful! – I was a bit lost. At the end of this book, Janelle (the clever one, apparently) makes some sort of discovery concerning the maps and documents which appear to be what the thief is after, and announces it’s something so powerful it could give him the “power over everything.”
Cue the scary music. Cut to Epilogue. Which spends several pages of exposition on a minor character for no reason that I could discern.
The only reader to whom I feel I can recommend this book is a masochist who enjoys TSTL heroines en masse, purple prose, dialogue that feels forced and unnatural, overblown emotions and reactions, too many badly organised plotlines with sudden and confusing jumps between them, way too much telling, nowhere near enough showing and a romance that isn’t very romantic.
I’ve never read a book by Ms. Sinclair before, and I’m afraid it’s going to be a long time before I even consider picking up another one.