Pride & Passion by Charlotte Featherstone

Pride & Passion by Charlotte FeatherstonePride & Passion by Charlotte Featherstone
Narrator: Rebecca de Leeuw
Series: Brethren Guardians #2
Published by Harlequin Enterprises on 12/1/11
Genres: Historical, Paranormal, Romance

Narration: A- (I feel a bit like I just drove a Ferrari to the corner mini-mart during rush-hour to buy a Twinkie)
Story: B-/C+ (I heard three distinct stories and was mildly dissatisfied with all of them rather than getting one cohesive story with multiple intriguing plot lines)

I’ve been feeling a bit disaffected with my usual run of reading material and I’m afraid this audiobook was unable to lift me out my slump. While the narration was very good and there were aspects of the story that snagged my interest, I struggled to pick out single and fully-developed plot line to follow and felt there was a lot of potential in this book that wasn’t reached. I’m not sorry to have listened to it and on a good day, in a cheerful mood, without having recently read a book that did very well what this book only partially succeeded at with a few of its character/plot threads, the stumbling blocks I encountered might have seemed less obvious. Bianca Amato/Rebecca de Leeuw’s (Both the same person – the former name being given at the start of the audio, the latter being what Audible shows) narration was excellent. She has a lovely voice and delivered a nice range of character voices that covered the emotional spectrum.

For me, the book read kind of like this (huge apology to Goodreads user Lilli Perspice for kiping one of her review styles… only applying it much less effectively):

Book: “Cross my palm with silver and I’ll tell you a tale…”

Me: *hands over money*

Book: “Meet Lucy Ashton as she visits a fortune-teller in an effort to connect with her first lover who has gone missing after murder, mayhem, and fire in the previous book.”

Me: . o 0(OK, nicely mysterious set-up. It seems to go with the “Brethren Guardians” subtitle the book has…sort of a semi-paranormal feel…) “Keep talking.”

Book: “Here’s the heroine’s emotionally remote father who wants her to marry Adrian York, the Duke of Sussex. Here’s all the characters from the previous book. Here’s Adrian, the manly yet tortured love interest who pines for Lucy behind a stoic facade.”

Me: “Alright. They seem to be an interesting group. Go on.”

Book: “Check it: small info dump on Lucy and what happened to her lover and how she still yearns for him and thinks Sussex is a stiff prig.”

Me: “Info-dumpling consumed, can we move on now?”

Book: “Meet the other women who are/will be part of this trilogy of books. See what good friends they are?”

Me: *tapping fingers on desk impatiently* “Is this going somewhere?”

Book: “Hey, I know, let’s have a musicale!”

Me: *yawns*

Book: “How about some more verbal wrangling between Lucy and Adrian? I’ll even throw in another woman in case I want to add a Big Misunderstanding later!”

Me: “I hate the Big Misunderstanding.”

Book: “Don’t worry, that will never develop into anything.”

Me: “Well, what will develop? I’m getting restless.”

Book: “Hmmm, Lucy appears to be attracted to bad boys.”

Me: “That could be interesting.”

Book: “Naw, that won’t be much of a factor in this story. Hmmm, Lucy appears to have shut down emotionally as a response to being ignored as a child.”

Me: “That could be… wait, isn’t she so madly passionate for her first lover that she goes to a mystic to try to find her true love? How is that emotionally closed-off?”

Book: “Don’t worry about that disconnect, the whole thing won’t really come up again. Moving on…hmmm, look at this, some role reversals: Lucy is the selfish and bratty character who disparages the one who loves her and Adrian is the idiot who follows her around until she realizes what she has.”

Me: “Yeah, sorry, that’s just not working for me. Lucy is a self-involved and immature child.”

Book: “Here, try this on for size: Lucy gets a note from her missing lover. She goes to meet him but is intercepted by the Duke.”

Me: “Now you’re talking.”

Book: *Sexy Hijinks ensue*

Me: “Wait! What is it with the ‘best sex evah! with free orgasms for all involved the first time our romantic duo rub up against each other…literally rub’ scenario? *rolls eyes* And enough with the ‘I will do this to you and I’ll take this from you and he never did this for you’ stuff. Can we have a little mutual cooperation please?”

Book: “OK” *flips pages while muttering* “The next morning, Lucy cries over the urchin boy who was her only friend as a child. It turns out her father chased him away for being a gutter snipe. Lucy goes to Adrian’s after getting a letter. There’s a dead body at Adrian’s. Lucy’s father shows up and Lucy accuses Adrian of trying to maneuver her into a compromising position so they are forced to marry but fortunately the whole Brethren gang was there to give the appearance of respectability. Lucy runs off to visit the fortune-teller again and goes missing. Oooh, look, mysterious Templars to catch your interest.” *waves Templars in your face then tosses them over its shoulder before you get a good look*

Me: “What was that?”

Book: “Nothing, nevermind.” *keeps flipping pages rapidly and muttering* Lucy and Adrian both end up at a masked ball at the club owned by the mysterious Orpheus. They find themselves in the same room, separated by a sheer curtain, and under the influence of some strange combination of ether, absinthe, and opium smoke. Seduction begins but is interrupted by Lucy’s father. Now they really are compromised and have to get married.”

Me: “That whole scene was just weird.”

Book: *Stretches, rubs spine, and sighs* “I’m tired of the mystic, the secret guardians of artifacts, and the psuedo-paranormal vibe. Here, have a traditional historical romance.”

Me: “Uh, what?! Wait, all that took up 4/5ths of the book and now they’re married and finding love over the labor pains of a whelping spaniel?”

Book: “Roll with it!”

Me: *gazes wistfully out the window as original Major Plot runs alongside the carriage, rapidly loosing ground*

Book: “Oh fine! Here, have a wacky plot-twist!”

Me: “That’s just a bunch of b…aloney! That could never happen!”

Book: “Oh no! Now there’s danger, kidnapping, false-trails and one of the Brethren Guardians is framed – all in the last chapter. Whatever will be the fate of the most interesting character in the book?”

Me: “Now this is good stuff! What happens next?”

Book: “Sorry, that’s all for now. Come back in six months or so.”

Me: “WHAT!?”

Book: *exasperated* “Was there anything you liked about me?”

Me: “I hope you don’t think I’m shallow when I say you have a lovely cover and your voice is amazing.”

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