Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Wilde in Love by Eloisa James

Lord Alaric Wilde, son of the Duke of Lindow, is the most celebrated man in England, revered for his dangerous adventures and rakish good looks. Arriving home from years abroad, he has no idea of his own celebrity until his boat is met by mobs of screaming ladies. Alaric escapes to his father’s castle, but just as he grasps that he’s not only famous but notorious, he encounters the very private, very witty, Miss Willa Ffynche.

Willa presents the façade of a serene young lady to the world. Her love of books and bawdy jokes is purely for the delight of her intimate friends. She wants nothing to do with a man whose private life is splashed over every newspaper.

Alaric has never met a woman he wanted for his own... until he meets Willa. He’s never lost a battle.

But a spirited woman like Willa isn’t going to make it easy...

The first book in Eloisa James’s dazzling new series set in the Georgian period glows with her trademark wit and sexy charm—and introduces a large, eccentric family. Readers will love the Wildes of Lindow Castle!

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Book 1
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Avon Romance

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I need to be honest, and I don't know whether it was my mood or not, but I struggled throughout the entire novel. Eloisa James is an author I found when I first began reading historical romances, and I adored those novels, spurring me into a love of the genre. However, Wilde in Love was close to being did-not-finish by me many times over, and it was only because I am a fan of the author that I forced myself to finish.

At the start, I talked myself out of giving up multiple times. Why, you may ask. Silly. That is the only word that came to mind for the first 20% of the novel. Silly. Every bit of dialogue had to be a zinger, whether it was witty banter, dry humor, or over-the-top vapid silliness. I couldn't take the characters or the story seriously enough to fall into it and enjoy myself.

I was intrigued by Alaric, but equally annoyed at the attention paid to him. It felt unrealistic. Now, I realize this may have been written to be 'humorous.' But there is humor, and then there is this feeling of forcing unbelievability on the reader and calling it humor. If Alaric's horde of fans were any indication on society, it's unimaginable that the downfall of civilization didn't happen in the Georgian period. I realize this is to mirror today's society with young girls fangirling hot celebrity actors. But, bear in mind, these were GROWN women, not children collecting lockets and portraits of the object of their affections as young girls did with posters when I was a child, or girls do today with saving pics to their phones.

I know I sound overly critical, and I realize every book isn't written for me. I'm writing this portion of the review for those who are more of a serious nature, who would have a similar reaction as I did. We enjoy humor as much as the next person, but it has to make sense. Those who know they get a chuckle from this sort of thing, on the flip side, they obviously know this is promoting it toward purchasing it.

If Alaric had unwanted fans, he had just as many family members. As the second son of a duke, with the oldest gone, Alaric fled responsibility and grief. His father, the duke, is on his third wife and his third set of children, leaving Alaric with the luxury of doing his own thing, no matter his birth order. Alaric wrote a series of books featuring his adventures all over the world, only to arrive back home to realize a play had been made in his false image, with a horde of admirers meeting him at the docks.

Willa is not an Alaric fan – she doesn't read fiction, seeing Alaric's books as an exaggeration on events rather than nonfiction. Willa is an academic, not prescribing to the silly notions of romance and falling all over a man because everyone else is. Yet, every time she looks at Alaric, the reader is subjected to a rundown of his attributes. I felt this contradicted Willa's personality traits, anticipated it every time she caught sight of him in the beginning portion of the story, but felt it fed into the love-hate tension Willa was tossing out at Alaric at every turn. Willa didn't like what Alaric stood for, but she enjoyed the pretty trappings.

Willa and Alaric's personalities and lives simultaneously balance yet contradict one another. Willa doesn't want to be a member of his fan club, wishing for a private life. Alaric begrudgingly enjoys the attention, yet only has eyes for Willa because she doesn't want him due to his celebrity status. My issues aside, the romance between them does unfold organically, creating a believable balance of a public persona versus a private life.

With such a large cast of characters, often at times, it felt as if the setup for subsequent books overshadowed the narrators and their evolving story.

This was a rough start to a new series for me personally, but I'm curious to see where it goes next. Perhaps it was just my mood, the 'humor' rubbing me the wrong way most of the time, and I patiently wait to find out during the next installment.

ELOISA JAMES is a New York Times best-selling author and professor of English literature who lives with her family in New York, but can sometimes be found in Paris or Italy. She is the mother of two and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Wilde in Love (The Wildes of Lindow Castle #1) by Eloisa James to read and review.

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