I should have listened to myself and stuck with my original verdict: not interested.
But since I have been on some kind of an Irish kick, I read this book which seems to be rather a staple item if one is interested in an Irish setting in the genre. I removed it from my not_interested shelf and started reading.
Where do I start? I could recommend nothing in this book. The prose dragged. Endless internal dialogues, and stupid ones too, mind you. Nothing that would crack you up. Just a lot of a stupid heroine's fantasy. So now we are on the heroine, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS WOMAN?
Hope grew up in the care of her loving uncle and aunt. When she came of age, naturally the said uncle arranged for a match for her, all done in love and with much thought. Hope, the idiotic girl, oh I am sorry, the "responsible", "mature" and "smart" woman that she is, decided to run away. For what purpose?
"To experience life", and I am still quoting: "to find true love."
Is this a Shrek movie or what?
So this woman who was supposed to be very responsible and someone who did her duties ran away from her loving uncle and aunt, completely disregarded how worried her uncle and aunt would be, to experience life and find true love? And Donna Fletcher is trying to hoist her off on us as some heroine who was "wise" and "responsible"?
OK suffice it to say: I thought Hope stupid, immature and selfish. As a woman I dislike her intensely. All her courageous deeds......I don't know what to say. She is prideful, I guess. I could not say that she did any of the courageous acts because she was a mature person.
Then there is the plot. Hope pretended to be a lad of 12 for more than 50% of the book. I honestly do not understand why writers use this for their heroines. I mean, unless this is a M/M book, which would make it hot, where is the appeal of a woman pretending to be a man and then the hero finds himself oddly attracted to said pretend man? I was so bored out of my freaking skull turning the pages, wondering when would Hope become Hope? It is enough with the "I am pretending to be a lad and no one can tell" act. For one, I never bought that "she fooled us all" thing.
Maybe I just have a really hard time connecting with tomboy/mannish heroines. I am a girly girl myself. I wouldn't know how to act like a man even if I tried. Nor do I ever want do. If other women choose to adopt the tomboy style, I have absolutely no problems with it. But I cannot pull it off and I see not appeal in doing that. I really struggled with Hope's "pretending to be a lad" thing. And I was rather annoyed whenever Hope "got annoyed" (Donna Fletscher's own words) because Colin was popular among the ladies. When Hope started "haunting" Colin and this other lady who Colin was "involved" with were trying to "get it on", I completely lost my patience with Hope. Seriously, what right do you have in trying to keep Colin away from other women? It is not exactly you are up for a tupping, dressing as a lad. Single that he was and not knowing that you were a woman, what was he supposed to do? To be celibate because he felt oddly attracted to a skinny boy? I mean, come on, get real, woman.
I wanted to give the book 2 stars but having written this review, I am so annoyed with Hope. I am giving it a one star rating. There is no story, no sexual tension, no romance, no plots, no humor, not even suspense. What we have is a runaway heiress who was too selfish to consider her uncle and aunt's feelings, who wanted to experience life and find her true love before she became a boring wife (and what are you going to do if you find your true love? dump your poor betrothed?), who got jealous because her hero was a lady's man and tried to keep him away from other women while dressing as a boy herself. I don't know what else I can say. Hope is a pathetic female character.