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Goat Heads and Sand Burrs, P. Kirby's Reading Blog

The good, bad, and fugly books I've read.
Never Too Late - Amara Royce

Oops. Seeing this title in my "Currently Reading" shelf, I went looking for it on my Kindle, thinking it was missing, until...I discovered it in my "Read" collection. As in, I read it, and forgot soon after.

Pity, because I was totally down with the premise. Being in the heroine's age range, I can see the appeal of a younger man. Ahem. That is, if I weren't happily married.

Trouble is, unique premise notwithstanding, Never Too Late was pretty much your standard romance. As in, too quick to make the h/H fall in love, with an interesting, but disappointingly watered-down subplot, and no substantial exploration of complications of cougar romance in Regency(?) England.

Honoraria Duchamp, a forty-year old widow, runs a bookstore and in her spare time, is a crusader for social justice, focusing on exploited children. Most of her efforts are in the form of printed pamphlets, created in a backroom press at her shop.

Her efforts run a foul of powerful people because, hey, how better to run a sweatshop than to employ children? Cheap, energetic labor. Said nefarious forces sent Alexander Devin to Honoraria's shop to dig up dirt and find some way to discredit her (and run her out of business). These powerful business interests have Alex, aka, Lord Devin, under their thumb because his younger brother has supposedly been engaged in a homosexual affair and Devin's blackmailers have photographic proof.

As you might expect, Alex falls for Honoraria (horrible name) quickly even though, at twenty-seven, he's quite a bit younger. Honoraria takes a little longer to warm up to Alex, but, ultimately, the attentions of a gorgeous younger man are hard to resist.

The story takes the usual romance tack, with the text telling me that Alex is sexy, that Honoraria is beautiful, but never really showing me what's attractive about either. I think this is why YA romance works better for me; because instead of going straight to the sexy, a lot of YA focuses on the subtler aspects of attraction. The shape of someone's hand, the colors of their hair in the sun, the silly curve of their lip when they laugh. "Grownup" romance for all its overt sexy, isn't all the romantic.

You might think, with a relationship as complicated as Honoraria's and Alex's that there'd be more of the slow discovery of love, rather than insta-sex. But no. The love story is tediously formulaic.

And the subplot -- the exploited children -- resolves much too easily, and, again, a la romance-standard, is largely there to temporarily distract the couple from Teh Lurve.

I didn't hate it, but apparently it was so unmemorable that I forgot I'd finished reading it about five minutes after I hit the 100% mark.