This is the review that Anne Rice (aka the dowager queen of everything) and some annoying chick named Sandra Martinez - who holds herself out as an empath (whatever that is) thought was unnecessarily harsh, unduly cruel, and a violation of the author's human dignity.
I was actually really nice in this review. This book sucks biomechanical donkey dicks. I can't help it if the author can't write her way out of a paper bag (or into a historical time period).
I read this book after I made the decision to try to read and review more freebie "indie" novels. Every time I've made that decision, I read one, it sucks, I punch myself in the face, and I go back to reading other stuff. Now when I have the urge to review more indies, I just punch myself in the face. That way, I can skip the ohmygodthisbooksucks part of the experience, and just go straight for the pain.
Not to say that I never read books that are self-published. Some of them can be quite good. I wait for someone else to point me towards them, however, since my random free book picking radar is irretrievably busted. Evidently.
Anyway, migrated from amazon, previously posted on April 9, 2013.
"I downloaded this book for free and read it last night. I have read a lot of various subcategories of the romance genre, including contemporary, historical and paranormal. If I had to guess, this is intended to be a historical romance, although, as other reviewers have previously pointed out, it is of no identifiable historical time period. It is pretty clearly not a contemporary romance: ship is the primary method of international travel, and people travel by horse and carriage. Nonetheless, aside from determining that it is set somewhere during the past, I am unable to determine whether it is Georgian, regency, Victorian, or prewar. It can be no later than WWI (and probably not even that late, since horse still seems to be the primary method of travel).
The behavior of the five young women in this book is anachronistic. Writing a historical romance requires more than plugging modern characters into an indeterminate past. Every one of the young heroines behaved completely inconsistently with a historical perspective. We have unchaperoned young women spending long periods of time in bedrooms with young men, and during the epilogue one of the couples spends two years travelling together before they marry.
Even applying contemporary morals and standards to the book doesn't work however: we also have a 14-year-girl falling in love with a 19-year-old man - which may have been acceptable during the historical period this book is intended to portray, but it is generally unacceptable in a contemporary setting, where the young man in question would be a college-aged man dating a girl in middle school. In addition, one of the romances is between a much older man who falls in love with the daughter of his deceased best friend from school. As the mother of a teenaged girl, if one of my husband's friends started putting the moves on her, he'd likely be introduced to the business end of a shotgun. That just gets an outright yuck.
Finally, the writing is flat-out bad. I am sorry to be so blunt, but I read a lot, and I can recognize solid writing when I see it. This book doesn't have it. Ms. Ellle's word choices are often bizarre, and I suspect that she writes with a thesaurus open on her computer, because it appears that she often doesn't actually know the meaning of the word she is using as a descriptor.
For example: "It was a busy town with hundreds of occupied buildings and a flourishing river running through the center." "Flourishing" is a strange, and inappropriate word, to use to describe the river in this sentence. A garden might flourish. Rivers do not flourish - they may flow, rush, or surge, but they do not flourish. Another example: "with rather thin lips and colorless cheeks, he bore the distinguished, yet notorious, face of an ailing man." This sentence doesn't even make sense. Ailing men aren't always notorious (widely known), nor do they necessarily look distinguished (having an air of distinction).
These are just two examples of a common problem with the book. There are also proofing issues, which would be easily fixed with some attention to detail. I hesitate to even mention proofing issues, since, the substantive issues are pervasive and problematic, and I don't want to move the focus off of the significant problems, and get sidetracked on insignificant and minor issues.
In addition, the writing is flat and stilted. Each character is awkwardly introduced with a couple of sentences describing their physical characteristics. The dialogue is wooden and unconvincing. There is no natural flow to the story. The pacing is slow. I hit about 25% and was bored, so I skipped forward to 50%, which was the point at which the sisters left the ship and made it to their ultimate destination. I read about 20% at this point, got bored again, and skipped to the end, read the last few chapters and the epilogue. If I hadn't been planning on writing a review, I would have DNF'd at 10%.
I do understand that reasonable minds can differ on the merits of a book. However, someone who is looking for a historical romance would be much better off choosing a different book. Perhaps someone who is more interested in a family saga or women's lit, who isn't at all picky about writing fluency or proficiency, might enjoy this one. I didn't."