The Nightingale's Song
Have you ever watched a school play? The kind where inexperienced but passionate actors tromp from one set spot to another, and then stop and give exaggerated speeches, only to move on to the next spot? I never before thought that this could be done in a book, and then I read The Nightingale’s Song. There was an awful lot of impassioned speaking in this book, with little else in between.
The book started off promising, with the heroine in the process of writing an epic. The first few pages of The Nightingale’s Song had a bit of humor, and described the heroine as being strong and independent – the kind of heroine which I have always thoroughly enjoyed. Then, as I dug in, I started getting itchy hands. The kind that say “put this thing down now, before you get grumpy.” But I promised to read this and write a review, so after encouraging myself with a trip to the chocolate stash after I was done, I forged on.
Clare, also known as Nightingale (her writing pseudonym), has been told by her king to wed. The hero, Jordan, who is also known as the Dragon, is sent by the king to drag Clare to this wedding, as Clare’s fiancé happens to be his nephew. When the Dragon meets Clare, he falls head over heals in lust, but tells himself and her many times upon many times (as he is manhandling her, I might add) that he can not give into temptation. While he is waiting at Clare’s home for a few of his men to heal from injuries received from an attack on the way there, he spends his time (when not manhandling the woman he keeps telling himself not to manhandle) trying to untangle a web of intrigue that permeates every aspect of life in Clare’s home. When Clare’s father dies, things get even more tangled and dangerous (or so I am assuming – it got very confusing here) and Jordan heads off with Clare to take her to her future husband. After Clare successfully handles a questioning session with the king, who somehow thinks Clare is involved in helping the French, and avoiding marriage when her husband-to-be elopes with her sister, Clare and Jordan finally get together.
I had several problems with this book. The heroine was, though described as having a backbone, always trembling and incapable when the hero was present. She talked and talked and talked about escaping, but in reality only made one really weak attempt to do so. She kept letting the hero maul her with very few words of reproach. The hero spouted on and on about honor, all the while groping his nephew’s intended. He kept on calling her names like “lovely thrush” and other birdlike terms of affection, due to her pseudonym, I’m assuming. All the secondary characters in this book were unlikable, including King Henry. The groom-to-be ran off with Clare’s sister without a word to Clare (basically, she was jilted at the alter) and yet, in the end, they were all buddy-buddy. Did I mention that they had sex several times on their wedding night – with her being a virgin and all? Ouch.
This book was clunky, and although I am a fan of books that are driven by interaction between the hero and heroine, this book was too wordy for me. Purple prose? This book had it in spades. Two redeeming moments were when the heroine and the hero were each introduced, and then the epilogue, which was funny and touching. It was obvious to me that Powers knows her history. I just wish she would have fulfilled the promise of the first 42 pages.