Monday, December 8, 2008

Deceiving Miss Dearborn - Laurie Bishop

Annabelle Dearborn has been managing the financial affairs of her family’s estate since her late father lost their wealth in a bad investment. To help pay expenses, she has opened their doors to boarders. But when she discovers an injured man in the barn on her grounds, she manages to find a place for him in her full house—and in her heart. He has the manners of a gentleman and the strength of a Corinthian, yet he has no idea who he is or where he’s from. The one thing he knows for sure is that his desire for Miss Dearborn is growing—and he can only pray that, when he finally does remember his true identity, he’ll be worthy of Annabelle’s love.

After a succession of bad investments made by her father and his consequent death, Annabelle Dearborn is forced to turn her home into a country inn. Faced with a disastrous financial situation, she considers selling her last valuable object – her father's ruby ring. Later she finds a man hiding in her stables claming he doesn't know who he is… He only remembers waking up in a field (hence his new name, Mr. Wakefield) but his posture and speech show clearly that he is a gentleman. Immediately (but not without some suspicions), Annabelle proposes him to stay and recover while giving her a hand in the farm and house chores.

First of all, this story is perfectly predictable. Immediately we guess the man who was robbed, beaten and left naked on a field must be someone rich and even titled. Mr. Wakefield is a true gentleman, agreeable and charming, always doing everything to please his delightful employer, even when he finds out his true identity.
In the other hand, Annabelle acted, too often for my taste, like her mother's favorite punching bag. She is gentle and full of hope, even when everything seems without salvation, but a bit more of strength wouldn't do her any wrong.
Anabelle's mother was a real pain. She simply refused to acknowledge her situation and all the troubles her husband caused. She never makes any effort to understand her daughter's concerns and only worries about herself and her well being. Not the most sympathetic character…

I really had a hard time believing Annabelle and Mr. Wakefield were in love by the end of the story. There's no attraction or even much interaction and suddenly they are having feeling for each other. Everything is too sudden, too quickly to have any deep.

I was never partial to these amnesia plots and this one didn't work either. The fact that some arrogant and cold aristocrat could change of character so quickly is simply unbelievable. His own family describes the man not only as intimidating but like he had an icicle instead of a heart. How could he become more friendly and modest while staying a little while in a country house sleeping in the master's bedroom and wearing Annabelle's father clothes. It seems to me a bit too stretched. One day, someone knocks him in the head and he wakes up a much nicer person. I'm almost tempted to say that those men who almost killed him made him a favor.

Grade: 2.5/5


Ioanna December 8, 2008 at 9:04 PM  

I have never read anything by Laurie Bishop. Based on your review, I think this will remain the case :) I can not see anything to make the book worth trying, even disregarding the amnesia, which is not my favourite plot anyway :)

Ana T. December 9, 2008 at 7:01 AM  

My thoughts exactly Ioanna! :-)



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