May 1812, by M.M. Bennetts

aisforawkward's review

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This was a very dense historical romance, with problems in being accessible at times, but was still very good for the most part. I have been meaning to read it for over a year now, but for some reason kept forgetting to get around to it.

This book was centered around two characters forced into an arranged marriage that neither of them knew about until only days before the marriage had to take place (the 1st of May was the deadline), and how over the course of the month the relationship (and how each approached it) unfolded.

As much as I liked the amount of information compressed into the book, it suffered at times from the authors attempts to fit the book into a very specific timeline (largely taking place as the title says, in May 1812) with all the major events, as well as the more mundane of the day to day. The biggest problem came from the balancing act the author attempted between the romance plot and the historical details (especially in the war efforts and political arena), because sometimes the news and politics interspersed throughout interfered with the flow of the overall plot, and sometimes the plot interfered with the attempted setting. Much of this I think was due simply to the length of the book, because while already a bit above average in length for historical romances, in this case I think the book deserved to be longer simply to more properly explore the large scale ramifications of day to day life in London, for example after the assassination of the prime minister.

Regarding the romance plot itself the biggest flaw in the plot was that it, especially near the end, ultimately hinged on the possibility of an annulment which this marriage would never have qualified for, even though it was treated by everyone as though it were a possibility. It may be reasonable to assume that this was an accurate portrayal in terms of how the average person saw the issues, but I it felt very unlikely that everyone involved would have made that mistake. Had this been a more generic historical regency fluff romance it wouldn't have been such a glaring problem for me, simply because I would be holding it to a lesser standard of historical accuracy than here where the author clearly went to a great deal of trouble to research a great many details of the climate during the timeline surrounding the assassination of the prime minister.

Apart from the problems above it also suffered a few missing word typos scattered throughout but not so many as to be a distracting problem. It also suffered from a hero who was at times an irrationally jealous asshat (or as he put it, asshead), and a heroine who was unrealistically (given the circumstances) forgiving at times. But I enjoyed it for all that.