Monday, November 4, 2019

Ladies of Intrigue by Michelle Griep

Ladies of Intrigue by Michelle Griep


Let’s begin with the summary of this compilation:

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady
Cornish Coast, 1815
When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret?

The Doctor’s Woman
Dakota Territory, 1862
Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins.

A House of Secrets
St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890
Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.

And now, my review:

The description may not be clear because it doesn't include previous publishing dates, but these are all repackaged books, so you may have read them in the past. I've noticed this pattern—repackaging older novellas into one volume, but not telling readers. That said, thankfully I hadn’t read any of these stories, so it was a good way to learn about her writing.

Full disclosure, I only read the first two in this novella collection. I found myself growing weary of the voice—the fact that there were a lot of overly told emotional reactions without the opportunity for readers to feel them along with the characters. Repeated melodramatic descriptions of cries “tearing from her throat,” etc. (cliché; melodrama; telling) There were POV issues as well. I noticed these issues in a more recent novel I read by this author, so I may not read more of her work for a while.

On the positive side, there were moments of strong, insightful prose. Some relatable conflicts—will the hero choose the future or the past? If he chooses vengeance, he is choosing to focus his energy on the past. If he chooses his future, he can focus ahead. Those are choices everyone must make.

I write and prefer reading contemporary romance, but sometimes it's fun to immerse myself in a historical world of formality and different customs. That's what I was hoping for with this collection. Though these stories didn't appeal to me, perhaps other readers will enjoy the escape these stories offer.