Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Traitor's Daughter - Elizabeth Powell

Between Passion and Honor

Amanda Tremayne's father, a well-respected naval officer, was wrongly accused of treason and hastily executed for the crime. Before his death, he charged his only daughter with the daunting task of clearing his name and exposing the real traitor. Now, at the tender age of twenty, headstrong Amanda will stop at nothing to restore her father's honor.

With the aid of her faithful friend, Harry, she sets out to find proof of her father's innocence--but how can she know that as she searches for clues she will also stumble across the handsome and adventurous Captain Sir Jonathan Everly? And more important, how can she live with herself when she knows that the man she can't resist is one of the very men who sentenced her father to death?

This was a new author for me, so I did not know what to expect. The book started promisingly enough with an Author’s note before chapter one, saying that the actual commander of a battle was Captain so and so (and not the hero) and that he (the actual commander of that battle) did not receive a baronetcy until a later day, compared to the date the author used for the hero. Seeing that the author had gone to the trouble to research some historical facts for her plot impressed me positively before I even started the book. But from then on, I am afraid it went steadily downhill.

The basic plot is that heroine’s father, a Captain in the navy, had been convicted and hung for treason, so the heroine is trying to clear his name, and at the same time the hero trying to unmask a traitor in the admiralty. Their efforts throw them together frequently and they decide to join forces, all the more so since it seems that the real villain who framed the heroine’s father, is the traitor the hero is after.

The naval themed plot was somewhat original for a Regency, and that was one of the books positive points. However the actual elements of the plot and how it all hanged together logically (or illogically) was an issue for me, as I infinitely prefer my plots to make [perfect] sense. There were many instances where I was not sure what was supposed to have happened or why or how. eg Why didn’t her father defend himself, when accused of treason, by laying out his suspicions and evidence gathered against the real traitor ? Other than the fact that if he had, he would not have hung for treason and the real traitor apprehended at the time and hence we would have no basis for the current plot, there is no other reason. Also there were complications, and twists and turns, which were neither sensible nor very realistic (even for a novel). And the heroine does oblige the reader with the standard TSTL moment towards the end where she voluntarily and blindly walks into a trap. You know the one: Where the heroine is told that she will be given vital information that will [enter heroine’s main goal here: eg save her brother’s honour, sister’s reputation, the family fortune etc etc], as long as she comes along now, alone, without telling anyone, and carrying with her the vital papers in her possession that the unknown collaborator just wants to look at. Why in such situations, everyone else can smell a rat but heroines never can?

The hero and heroine were likeable enough and I had no major objections against either of them. But I was not particularly invested in their relationship or emotions. And they did also have another classic moment in Regencies which I detest, the ‘misunderstood kiss’. [As readers know, misunderstandings abound in romance novels, and every little thing is exploited to its full potential to cause a problem between the hero and heroine.] The misunderstood kiss is where the h/h share a passionate kiss - and although it is patently obvious to everyone they both enjoyed it hugely, the heroine ends up thinking that the hero despises her (for her being too forward or some such nonsense) and the hero that the heroine is disgusted with him (because forgot his manners or has some defect that makes him repulsive. In this case, he had limp. Yes, I know it sounds irrelevant but that seems to be common ‘hero logic’). My patience was wearing thin by that time, so that scene did not help matters at all for me.

It is also worth mentioning that by the climax of the chase to catch the villain in the final chapters of the book the heroine managed in a couple of hours to be: nearly asphyxiated by the villain, actually shot, almost burned alive, and almost drowned! I think this was just a tiny bit too much… When I started the book I thought that it would be at least a 6/10 one. As I was progressing this was continually re-adjusted downwards till it reached a 4/10. All in all, the book had too many problems to be really enjoyable, and the romance was a bit bland. On the other hand I have read books worse than this. So I may give this author another chance in the future.

Grade 2/5


Ana T. December 3, 2008 at 7:24 PM  

Great review Ioanna! I can't believe you said you couldn't write reviews. :-)

Ioana December 5, 2008 at 9:24 AM  

A truly *wonderful* book, it seems :) I'm so glad everytime someone points out a book like this one - because it means that I will not have the pleasure to read it :)
And why don't you feel for the poor heroine who passes through so many perils?? You cruel girl...



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