I promised in my last blog post that I would review any future romances that had both great characterization and, more importantly, plot. Well, about two seconds ago, I finished one: Penny Reid’s Marriage of Inconvenience.
Reid has long been one of my go-to authors, her Knitting in the City series one of my all-time favorites. As of right now, Marriage of Inconvenience is my favorite book of the series and one of the best romances I’ve ever read. That’s saying a lot, since I read a TON of romance. This latest book, the seventh of the series, is also the last. It is a fitting end and satisfying tie-up of the entire series. So long, Knitting. I’m sad to see you go.
Marriage of Inconvenience has everything: an engaging plot complete with a proper bastard for a villain; a romance between the heroine and hero that was sweet, hot, and sigh-inducing all at once; brilliant characterization that made the characters leap off the page; poignant moments that got me a little misty; and, last but not least, humor. And when I say “humor,” I mean that I laughed out loud many times while reading the book. Reid has always had a clever wit, but this is one of her funniest books to date.
And the hero Dan? *sigh* This guy is not the “chick with a dick” that some romances have. He’s one of the sexiest heroes I’ve ever read. Dan is a real man, a complete badass from the wrong side of the tracks who also has a sensitive side he doesn’t try to hide, a sexy blue-collar Boston accent, and a sense of humor. He also has a naughty mouth, but his profanity was such a part of his character that it was charming. Still, people turned off by profuse profanity might be critical of this. To me, it was just a part of who he was, and the way he used it was sometimes hilarious. Dan is definitely going down as one of my all-time favorite book boyfriends.
The heroine, Kat, was a more subtle character, sort of the straight man (er, woman) to Dan’s funnyman, but that didn’t make her less likable. She’s an heiress, but although she has plenty of angst in her past, including messed up parents, she was far from the poor-little-rich-girl cliche. She grows as a character throughout the novel, and her growth more than fulfilled my reader expectations.
My criticisms of this book are minor. I didn’t like the definitions of various legal terms, facts about mental health, and the pharmaceutical industry at the beginning of each chapter, but this is a pet peeve of mine and probably won’t bother the average person. In Reid’s defense, many authors do this. Elizabeth Hoyt has an ongoing fairytale at the beginning of each chapter of her Maiden Lane books. I don’t read those snippets, either.
While I appreciate Reid’s effort, the definitions took me out of the story, so I ended up skipping most of them. However, I did read one on the cost of bringing a drug to the market in the US that was eye-opening. But then I had to have a discussion about this fact with my husband, which turned into a twenty-minute bitch session on the high cost of healthcare in the US. Again, the definition was distracting and took me out of the story, which I think is the last thing most authors want happening with their readers
A couple of other minor criticisms: one, while the ending was satisfying, I would have liked to have seen more of a personal final showdown between the main villain and the heroine. Second, there were a few grammatical things that bugged me, like comma splices and wrong punctuation while using em dashes, but I can be annoyingly pedantic about that sort of thing. Again, most people won’t be bothered by it or even notice. For the most part, the editing was well done and clean.
Overall, I LOVED this book. There were times when I worried that Kat’s issue with sex would become hackneyed, but nope. It turned out to be a major source of conflict and the basis for a believable and charged fight between the hero and heroine. In fact, all the conflict was fresh and new and kept me turning the pages.
As I said, this is the last book in the Knitting in the City series. While I’m feeling bittersweet that the series is over, I’m also looking forward to seeing what new projects Reid has up her sleeve. One thing I’m sure of: she’s an extremely talented writer. Whatever she does, it will be great.