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The Quilty Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

The Landower Legacy

The Landower Legacy - Victoria Holt

This isn't the cover of the book I am reading, but it's the one that comes up under this ISBN and I am too lazy to look for the right one! Thanks MBD!


Starting this today, for my gothic square!


Thoughts & analysis:


This one is hard for me to review, because it was not a bad read, but it absolutely did not live up to the promise of the genre/cover synopsis. I can't really characterize this one as gothic, as there was almost no suspense at all. If I were pressed to put a genre on this book, cover and description nothwithstanding, it would probably be historical romance, or maybe family drama. I'm not really sure.


So, let's get to my complaints. When I read a gothic romance, I am expecting that the heroine will be put in significant danger by someone who wants to keep her from succeeding in attracting the hero. There might also be some perceived light supernatural elements, even if it turns out at the end that they were just plain old human avariciousness or jealousy. A bit of light haunting perhaps, or some lights appearing and disappearing in the woods. That sort of thing.


There should also be a secret that is coming back to haunt someone - usually the Hero. And then, last but certainly not least, there should be some sort of a large country home or chateau that is the center of all of the action.


So, with this book, all of the elements were here: a haunted mine shaft where black dogs appear when someone is in danger, an impoverished hero who is trying to save the estate that has been in family since the 15th century, and a number of secrets possessed by a number of characters.


The problem with the book is that none of these three things really had anything to do with each other. I am accustomed to seeing them used as plot devices, but their disconnection from one other made them just that much more obviously the gears to keep the plot moving forward, and it felt really unnatural. So, as a gothic, it didn't work for me. There wasn't one moment when my pulse quickened and I felt like the heroine was really in danger. The one point of danger ended up being so quickly over and easily resolved that it just fell flat. 


Also, maybe it was the fact that I had just read a book using the same freaking plot device that I hate 

multiple personality disorder

(show spoiler)

 that meant that I figured out the "twist" the first time that an allusion to it was raised.


This sounds like I hated the book, but I didn't. It was disappointing, but I actually really liked both the heroine, who was pretty tough, and Aunt Mary, who was a hoot - an independent woman who was running an estate (really successfully) at a time when ladies weren't supposed to do anything more strenuous than fainting. And Catherine's perfectly planned and brilliantly executed revenge on the man who jilted her (for her wealthy but weak sister) was delightful!


The romance though, was pretty unconvincing for me, and since I can't abide cheaters, I was less than enamored of the married Paul Landower. I get it that he felt like he'd been trapped into marriage because his wife was a wealthy woman who bought herself a husband by leverage his family's poverty against him. But, you know what? Them's the breaks, dude. If you sell your soul for cash, you don't get to complain when the purchaser decides she wants the benefit of her bargain. And, he treated his son like shit, which pissed me off.


So, I can't, however, justify using it for the gothic square, or for bingo at all. And while it was a fine read, it was a disappointing gothic romance.


Page 182:


OK, so far this book bears only a passing resemblance to the back cover synopsis.


"She had everything. Beauty. A Title. An Inheritance. And a secret that could destroy it all."


(that sounds ominous)!


So, at this point, the main character doesn't have a title and never did, unless the title was "Most Independent Young Woman In Victorian England". And the secret that took her inheritance actually wasn't her secret, and she apparently blurted it out when she was 14 years old (what?)!


It goes on from there.


I'm enjoying it, but holy jumping up and down Martha, who wrote that synopsis? It is nothing like the book!


Page 65:


Caroline is hilariously irreverent about her stuffy, misogynistic jackass of a father. Holt has recycled a name from The Lord of the Far Island - Jago - which I thought was a really weird name in that book, and it is just as weird in this one. The setting, Cornwall coast, is straight out of Rebecca, of course.