The Gold Coin
Gosh, I’m really scratching my head here – I just don’t know what to make of this book. I guess I’d have to say it’s odd. It’s just … odd.
Anastasia and Breanna Colby are identical cousins and yes, they switch places when it’s convenient. Their fathers, nice Henry and awful George, are twin brothers who married sisters. Born only months apart, Anastasia and Breanna are virtually identical in every way. Not only can their parents not tell them one from the other, but neither can anybody else (this is remarked upon countless times throughout the book, so it must be true).
Prior to his death, their beloved grandfather gave each of the girls a coin – a gold coin to Anastasia and a silver coin to Breanna – with the promise that the girls never under any circumstances give the coins up to anyone, ever, and I mean never. Henry and George don’t get along, so when Anastasia is about ten, Henry takes her and her mother to Philadelphia to expand the family business in America. Upon the death of her parents, Anastasia returns to England and her beloved cousin, Breanna.
Because Anastasia is not yet twenty-one, her fortune is overseen by a financial guardian in the person of one Damen Lockewood, Marquess of Sheldrake, the family’s trusted banker from the prestigious House of Lockewood. But Uncle George has other plans for his niece’s funds. He’s in over his head and in debt up to his ears. He hopes to marry his daughter, Breanna, off to Damen, but it’s Anastasia who catches Damen’s eye (Damen is the only one who can tell the women apart, of course). As the story progresses, Uncle George runs amok, creating the conflict in the story; there is no conflict, but only mutual attraction, between Anastasia and Damen.
The plot of The Gold Coin is very simple: Anastasia has money; George wants it. Beyond that, I’m afraid there’s just not much here. At least a hundred pages, no, make that two hundred pages, could have been cut and not have been missed at all.
The story unfolds through both Anastasia’s and (here’s the truly odd part), through George’s point-of-view. But, George is the villain. Because of this, there are no surprises. We know everything George is thinking and planning, his reasons for wanting Anastasia’s money, and his plotting of how to get it. This is the only romance I have ever read where I know virtually nothing about the hero. We are never in Damen’s head. Never. Like, never. Isn’t that odd?
On top of that, Damen is perfect. He anticipates Anastasia’s every need. He reads her mind. He knows what’s going to happen before it happens. He understands her motives and everybody else’s, too. He is never surprised by anything. He’s smart as a whip (this, too, is mentioned several times.) He’s brave, handsome, cheerful, thrifty. . . but the reader has no idea of what he is thinking or feeling, not to mention his family history or motivations beyond what is revealed in dialogue between he and Anastasia. A full half of the book is devoted to the villain(s) – every rant, every rave, every evil plan was gone over and over again to the point of utter boredom (mine). I wanted to know about the hero. I kept looking for the hero parts – other than a few meager paragraphs early in the book, there were none. This approach was so bizarre, I can’t imagine why the author chose to do it. It left Damen’s character one-dimensional and sketchy.
The love scenes were sizzling, but again, oddly, they didn’t do anything for me. They seemed strange because I knew so little of Damen. Oh, Anastasia is a smart and feisty heroine and Damen is, after all, Practically Perfect In Every Way, but something was missing and I just can’t put my finger on it. The sex was very physical (“he hauled her up”; “he threw her down”), and some purplish word choices had me cringing a couple of times (plus, the author used the T-word, yes, “turgid”).
There are way too many villains in this book, and the reader gets into all their heads. Breanna, who will be the heroine of the sequel, The Silver Coin, has her work cut out for her given her role in this book. There were lots of anachronisms that crept in and some plot points that left me wondering. All I can say is, if you’re an Andrea Kane fan, I do hope you enjoy this book, but I didn’t flip for The Gold Coin.