Thursday, June 24, 2010

Karen Robards: Shameless

Shameless: C
Elizabeth Banning & Neil Severin
The Banning Sisters Trilogy #3
Historical - Regency

Lady Elizabeth, the youngest and most headstrong of the three Banning sisters, has been engaged three times, and has most scandalously broken off all three engagements. Her fear of becoming any man's property has kept her from marriage and earned a reputation in the ton as a heartbreaking flirt. Neil Severin is a wicked rogue, black of heart and black of reputation. A man of no morals, devoid of compassion, he is a government-sanctioned assassin. And his newest target is a man Beth holds dear. When the flame-haired beauty thwarts his plan, Neil exacts his own brand of spicy revenge. Beth despises him. Neil doesn't care. But circumstances most unexpectedly throw them together, and with Beth's life in danger, Neil finds himself in the unexpected role of hero, racing to save her before it's too late... (back cover)

Here are some facts:
  1. I have read all three of the stories about the Banning sisters.
  2. I loved the first one: Scandalous.
  3. The second one, Irresistible, was pretty cliched and uninteresting.
  4. The third - this story - is slightly more interesting but still pretty cliched.
OK. End of review.

Just kidding... sort of.

What more to say about this novel other than the fact that I've been waiting years and years for Beth's story only to have it sort of peak and then plateau into an abyss of semi-blandness?

I liked Beth, though I couldn't really relate with her unwillingness to have any man be her master. I mean, I knew she was headstrong and stubborn, but when I read Scandalous (book 1), she was but 15. What 15 year old isn't headstrong and stubborn? Ms. Robards neglects to delve into Beth's psyche as to why she dislikes marriage. What we know about Beth's cruddy family situation is from past books... and authors cannot rely on back information from other books to support the current story. Besides, I never got Beth's perspective on it. (In this aspect, Meredith Durant did a better job in explaining Mina's absolute insistence on being her own person in Written on Your Skin. )

And I liked Neil, but only in the most vague and superficial manner possible. As in, he fulfilled the part of the cold, heartless assassin in a manner that was most expected. Cliched, I suppose.

Surprisingly, the adventure was enough to keep me reading without sighing in irritation and without copious amounts of eye-rolling.


The way Ms. Robards ended the novel was bad. As in, without the epilogue, there would be no happily-ever-after. In essence, she didn't end the story: the epilogue was the last chapter of the novel. Why she labeled it as an epilogue is beyond me.

Authors, 'epilogues' are not used as last-chapters. It is a step beyond the end of the story. It's the "what happened after the happily-ever-after? Where are they now?" chapter, not a "let me finish the story."

Let me explain myself another way.

An epilogue is a bonus feature that can be taken out without adversely affecting the story. The story will still have an ending without the epilogue.

Without the epilogue at the end of Shameless, it would have felt unfinished and would have been highly unsatisfying. This is the point I would add in the WTHeck?! This is Ms. Robard's, like, twentieth book. I would think she knows all this already......

Regardless, the entire story proves to be a most average sort of story.

Bottom line: Read, I suppose, but don't buy.

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