Although there has been strong “buzz” on this book, it didn’t do much for me. It harkened back to earlier days of romance when heroes and heroines were stock and descriptions overdone.
Seth Wyatt, a best-selling horror novelist, and Pippa Cochran, a woman fleeing an abusive relationship, meet when she takes a job as his assistant. His medieval-like fortress of a home in a remote, small town seems the perfect place for her to hide. Their attraction to each other is immediate and, although Seth fights it every step of the way, their story ends happily ever after but not, in my opinion, without a few glitches along the way.
The plot is tried-and-true and has really nothing original in it to recommend it or make it stand out in my mind. The book almost seemed too clever. As a result, the hero and heroine seem stereotyped and clichéd. Pippa, the prototypical do-gooder, arrives just in time to save the autocratic, crotchety Seth and his invalid son from themselves. There isn’t a miracle she can’t work and Seth comes to view her as his savior … the person who has brought meaning back into his previously dismal, gloomy existence. She is just too wonderful for words; I found her more than a little nauseating in her goodness. Pippa really isn’t a bad sort and neither is Seth, but they did nothing for me as a couple. They reminded me of romance heroes and heroines of yore where the hard-bitten hero comes undone by his feelings for the interfering but ultimately loveable heroine.
The prose in this story leaned towards being overwritten and, as a result, somewhat strange sounding. A couple of my particular favorites were when Pippa described Seth as having a triangular-shaped back (imagine that, I can’t) and when, during a particularly hot love-making scene, Pippa “could feel the steel of him even through the twill.” – UGH! Why not just tell it pretty much like it is?
Self-conscious, overwritten language also helped contribute to the ruination of potentially wonderful secondary characters. These were characters with the possibility of becoming downright loveable but they were overdone and too obvious. Secondary characters need to stand on their own and appear just as they are without a lot of overdone build-up. The most effective and memorable secondary characters simply need to be who they are.
There was also a mystery somewhat erratically woven into this story. It seemed like a wandering afterthought and it got confusing. When it came to the mystery, I frequently found myself going back and rereading previous pages to see what I had missed and sometimes, I couldn’t even figure that out.
Blue Clouds is one of those books that will appeal to some people and not others. I count myself among the latter. I found it lukewarm, lackluster, and a bit on the blah side. In my own defense, however, I would like to say that I really enjoyed Garden of Dreams, Patricia Rice’s release from earlier this year, and I invite you to read my review of that book. I’m also curious as to what others out there in Romance Land think of these two books. Let me know what you think. I’ll be watching the message board.