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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Review: Trapped at the Altar by Jane Feather

Print Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books (July 22, 2014)

From Goodreads.com:  The first in an all-new, sizzling historical romance series from New York Times bestselling author Jane Feather.

Torn between a true love and family duty… Ariadne "Ari" Carfax has never been one to play by the rules; she’s an heiress to the Carfax family, banished from London when Oliver Cromwell seized the throne from King Charles, who has since gained notoriety for pillaging, thieving, and ruling the Carfax Valley with an iron glove. All too soon, Ari finds herself in her family’s legendary vise, forced into a marriage to Ivor Chalfont, Ari’s childhood friend and confidante, against her wishes. While the Carfax family has only its own interest at heart—a union between the Catholic Carfaxes and Protestant Chalfonts will guarantee the Carfaxes’ reinstatement at London court, and the rehabilitation of their noble name—Ari cannot bear the thought of being separated from her secret lover/poet, Gabriel. She vows to fight her family—and Ivor—every step of the way, even when forced into the marital ceremony at her own grandfather’s wake, in a treacherous coup de etat that leaves her wed to another, and eternally broken-hearted. Sending Gabriel to the temporary safety of Lord Monmouth’s outpost at The Hague in Scotland, Ari resigns herself to her new life as Lady Ivor Chalfont—at least until the newlyweds travel to London, and she can escape her new husband and reunite with Gabriel. As the two make their preparations to travel, however, Ari finds herself entertaining entirely uncharacteristic thoughts about her new husband: she finds that she likes him as perhaps more than a friend, after all. Not wanting to be disloyal to Gabriel, but simultaneously more and more attracted to Ivor, Ari can’t help but give into the physical pull between her and her new husband, and the two embark on a tentative, post-marital courtship that just might hold the seeds of love…until, that is, Gabriel spots Ari in London and makes it his mission to get her back. Ari is caught between a lover who might be better left in the past, and a husband who she just might be able to love; who will win Ari’s heart? Set in 1600s England during the tumultuous Monmouth Rebellion, this is the epic story of what happens when the one thing we think we can trust—our hearts—turns out to be the most duplicitous

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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

The first thing that I have to mention is that the synopsis NEEDS to be changed. Her name was NOT Ariadne "Ari" Carfax, it was Ariadne "Ari" DAUNT. I assume this error was due to the fact that Carfax was perhaps her original surname, but in the version I was given,her surname (and obviously that of her family) was Daunt, and I must admit its very discouraging to see it printed wrong.

Secondly, there was a  few inconsistencies with this novel that caught my attention whilst reading it. To start with, there were numerous instances of two words being used side by side that should not be there. One instance that I remember clearly was the passage that read "Face it, Ari. Accept it. We will be married this day week". This lead to confusion for me as a reader. Would they be wed this day? This week? This day next week?

Another word that stuck out like a sore thumb was when Ari (whilst speaking to Ivor) says, "You sound like my pimp". I am full aware of there being brothels during this time period, but not once have I ever heard the word pimp used in another historical or regency romance. It was like a bucket of cold water had been thrown over me, shattering the illusion that I was there with the couple. 

As far as the story itself... I didn't love it, I didn't exactly hate it. There were some scenes where the characters really stuck out to me, like when Ari came to the aid of her husband and their men during an attack, but for the most part there was just too much going on. On one hand this was a novel about a couple finding the balance between love and friendship, then there was the part about them reclaiming their family name(s) and reestablishing them in society. And then there was the third (and less talked about aspect) which was Ari's original love and plans with Gabriel (the poet she had loved at the start). I feel like the author tried to weave too many story-lines into one novel causing confusion, all cultivating in a rather abrupt and unfinished (at least to me) ending.

DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has NOT altered or changed my review in any way. All thoughts expressed in this review are 100% my own.

Trapped at the Altar is available for purchase from Amazon.com

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