On a whim, I pulled this off the library shelf because a) I want to read more of Jane Feather and b) I liked that it was set in an earlier period of history than what I usually read. So here’s what we get:
Magdalen is born amid a betrayal of her mother, who was French, to her father, who is English. Because of her illegitimacy, she is sent off and raised with supporters of her father. When she turns eleven, she is shuffled to the care of Guy de Gervais, a handsome and chivalrous knight. Guy explains she is destined to marry his nephew, Edmund and she accepts it as her duty. Though spirited, Magdalen knows her responsibilities and expectations leveled upon her. As she grows up in the Gervais household she becomes even more enamored with Guy. Guy is happily married and has a huge brood of nephews and nieces under his roof, and dismisses Magdalen’s attachment to him as innocent. Which, honestly, it is. But Magdalen is an old soul, and she knows in her heart she loves him. On the night before her wedding to Edmund she professes her love for Guy and tells him her arrangement with her fiance is ill advised, but Guy dismisses her.
Years later, Magalden is grown up and married several years to Edmund. When a conspiracy unfolds to remove Edmund and Magdalen from the picture, Magdalen is removed to her husband’s land under Guy’s escort. When Edmund is attacked along the road and presumed dead, a romance between Magdalen and Guy reluctantly unfolds. When Edmund turns up over a year later, both Magdalen and Guy are forced to face their actions and emotions.
Lawd, I had a time of it getting through this one. It started off intriguing enough, but from moment one the plot was one predictable cliche after another. Magdalen is a hard heroine to like, and while try not to hold that against her, I had a heck of a time sympathizing with her. She’s just…meh. Bland. In fact, most of the characters are. By the halfway point of the book I found myself skimming through the pages. In fact, the last quarter I didn’t really “read” at all. It was the “epic” conclusion involving a kidnapping and rescue in which only one of her men will live. And we all know which one it will be.
Definitely not my favorite read of Ms. Feather’s, though I haven’t given up on her.
Almost Innocent by Jane Feather, 432 pgs, 1990
Romance: 2/5 Raunch: 3/5