Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Mistress of Trevelyan by Jennifer St. Giles

DNF @ 68%

Normally, I give books I don't finish a one star review, because my logic there is if it's too awful to finish, it's a bad book. There are some special circumstances surrounding THE MISTRESS OF TREVELYAN, though-- I started reading it before I left for Portugal and then never picked it up again when I got back because I had a gigantic stack of ARCs that had come to my house through the post, and few books can stack up against travel or brand new shinies, let alone an old Gothic novel that you're feeling ambivalent about.

Second, THE MISTRESS OF TREVELYAN is leaps and bounds better than the other book I read by Jennifer St. Giles, which was TOUCH A DARK WOLF, a book so bad that it almost takes badness to an artform. Like, I seriously considered deleting THE MISTRESS from my Kindle along with all the author's other books, because I wasn't sure she could possibly write something good. That's how bad TOUCH A DARK WOLF was.

THE MISTRESS OF TREVELYAN is actually okay and starts off pretty good. It's a Gothic novel written in the same style as the ones that were so popular in the 60s and 70s (before bodice-rippers came on the scene to steal the show). Ann Lowell is living in 19th century San Francisco, and takes on the position of governess to have a place to stay and money to burn. In addition to growing attached to her charges, she finds herself (incredibly, furiously, passionately) obsessed with their father, who might or might not have murdered his wife.

This actually is pretty similar in style to some Victoria Holt novels I've read, bar the heroine's lusty persona. Holt was pretty prudish in her writing and kept the bedroom door firmly shut, but man, all that sexual tension you had to read between the lines for in the real things are laid out explicitly before you, as brazenly as, well, Victoria's Secret-- only the secret's out. The problem is it drags forever. Gothic novels are supposed to be slow-paced, but this is really slow-paced, and by 68% in, I wanted more spooky goings-on to tide me over and the idea that closure was on the horizon.

I'm giving this a two-star rating because I was planning on giving this 2-3 stars depending on what the ending was like, but I'm docking a star because it was so boring that I never really got around to finishing the book in the first place although it wasn't quite terrible enough to earn a solid 1-star rating.

1.5 to 2 out of 5 stars

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