The Gentle Season
You’ve heard the phrase “never judge a book by its cover”. This is especially true in romance novels because the covers often misrepresent the story. The Gentle Season has a very nice cover: great-looking man, pretty woman, Grand Canyon backdrop (no, they never go there). You may wish to look at this cover often if you choose to read this book. It will give you much more pleasure than reading it will.
Dia Hunter is not a bad writer and this is not a bad book. Mostly, the problem was the, well, it was the, shucks and get out, I just couldn’t get past … Alewine Jones’ dialogue. Honest-to-hellfire, I couldn’t get around her durned, dag-nabbed, sorry excuse fer language, and that there’s one solid to Sunday fact.
Multiply this dialogue by 310 pages, and you may get a sense of the frustration I felt in trying to read this book.
Alewine (Aly) Jones is a woman who runs a freight company. She don’t dress ladylike and she don’t talk ladylike, neither. But she’s honest as the day is long and always keeps her word. Her best friend’s a gentleman gambler by the name of Nicodemus Turner, a man she has been in love with fer years.
As for Nick Turner, he loves Aly, but is too all-fired scared to approach her about marrying up because of his sensitive past. When he finds out he has a daughter who needs a father, he lures Aly into a card game where the stakes involve a weddin’. If Aly loses, she must marry Nick (in name only), so he can convince the dying mother of his daughter that he’s a fit enough father to take the little girl back home to raise as a lady.
Of course, Aly loses. Of course she marries Nick and fights her attraction to him. Of course the sweet little girl turns out to be misrepresented, as does Nick’s former lover. Of course, their marriage of convenience rapidly turns into something else, but by then, I was looking around for something else to read.
This book was intended to be light and funny, but it comes across as annoying instead. Says Aly, “Heck no, I ain’t blushing. All this lollygagging around makes me feel like I’m thirteen and pimply again. I’ll just say it, dadgum it. You think Nick’s planning on making me share his bedroll?” Aly’s unremitting aw-shucks speech was a little cute at first, milding annoying later, then downright irritating after a few chapters. Plus, she was the only character in the book who talked this way, and she had supposedly gone to finishing school years earlier. After a while, she just sounded stupid. Her backwardness left me completely baffled, as did the hero’s reasons for falling in love with her.
Nick is well-educated and is from a sophisticated background. Aly is so independent and over-the-top feisty, I just didn’t picture the two of them together at all (except on the cover, of course).
When it comes to colloquialisms in books, a little goes a long way. Aly’s distracting dialogue went way too far for me and ruined what may have been an okay story. Unless this is something you can tolerate, I’d avoid the problem altogether.