Title: Journey’s End (Gilded Promises)
Author: Renee Ryan
This has to be one of the worse books I have read in a very, very long time. I only finished it because Amazon gave it to me free for a review.
The premise of the book is that the heroine’s mother was cast aside by her very rich family when she married a stable hand. When the stable hand died before his daughter was born, her family refused to take her back and she raised her daughter in destitution on the “mean streets of London”. How I wish that phrase wasn’t used in the book…
The heroine is coming to America to find her grandfather and destroy him after he’d destroyed her and her mother’s lives.
So, this blurb had me intrigued, except, of course, she forgives her grandfather like 5 minutes after meeting him…
- The book, mercifully, is short.
- The heroine had a cool backstory. She may not have lived up to it, but it’s a great set-up.
- The heroine, apparently, is Rain Man with her numbers ability. She is able to make a fortune in a few months gambling, more than enough to get her across the Atlantic Ocean and set her up in high style while she searches for her grandfather. So why, again, was she and her mother destitute? Oh, that’s right, because picking pockets and stealing food is so much less amoral than winning legitimately at cards. You are not even sort of convincing me on this. People who are hungry and poor do what they must to survive. Why she wouldn’t have used these talents to potentially save her mother, I don’t know.
- Oh, and yeah, why would men play cards with her for her to beat them? I am going to tell myself she dressed as a boy . . .
- How, exactly, did her mother teach her to walk, talk and hold herself as high born lady when her mother was bed ridden by the time the heroine was eight?
- Why couldn’t her mother get a role as a governess, companion, or something else? She was highly educated in a time when not even most men could read.
- The Irish girl, Mary, that the heroine met on the boat to America is a blatantly contrived device. Because of course her name is Mary. And of course she is so pure and sweet and Christian. With nary a sin in the world. Um, yeah. Sure. Hence, plot device rather than a real, breathing character, one that the heroine doesn’t even bother with again other to think how kind and Christian Mary is from time to time.
- The “instant” lust, love and attraction between the hero and the heroine was laughable and unbelievable.
- So tired and annoyed by how “gentle” and “kind” everyone is. People are people, with personalities, and flaws, and foibles. I almost vomited in my mouth over the repeated saccharine description of her cousin. And, its always a description. We never see her cousin be any of these wonderful things.
- This author does not get the concept of show don’t tell. I never see any of these characters behaving charitably, kindly or whatever else. It is constantly told to me.
- Oh yes, and let’s talk about how much is repeated. I never did a good description of houses, or the slums, or even the hotel the heroine was staying in. I never once felt like I was there. However, I was told over, and over and over what her cousin looked like, and the hero. Of course the hero. Over and over.
- The hero and heroine both clearly had Google Glass over a hundred years before it was invented as they must have been reading teleprompters in everyone’s eyes. That is the only way I can figure out how they knew so much from looking into people’s eyes throughout the book.
- The heroine, who promised to be so cool, so strong, so amazing . . . well, she wasn’t. I was angry when a girl from the “mean streets of London” couldn’t take down a bunch of “society matrons”. Or froze under their censure. Come on. I was also shocked how quickly she went along with what people wanted. Mean streets of London, remember?!? Strong and confidant, remember?!? Must be why the author had to tell me these things about the heroine . . .
- I never once cared in the entire story if the heroine got what she wanted. I wasn’t even sure what she wanted.
- The romance was . . . not believable. Not even kind of. No idea how two people could go from hating each other and distrust to engaged in a week.
- There is no plot. I was looking for it on page 42, 156, and at page 240 I realized there wasn’t going to be one. The heroine came to New York to get vengeance for her mother. She had no plan on how to get it. I liked the careful reconnaissance she does at the very beginning of the story, but that all gets tossed out the window at her first meeting with her grandfather. Where she instantly forgives him. Because of course he never knew his beloved daughter was in trouble. And she totally knows he’s honest and sincere. For reals.
- Despite how much dear old grandpa and uncle say that they loved the heroine’s mother, they sorta gave a half-assed attempt at best to find her when she first ran away and then said, “Oh well!” Neither came looking for her again. Neither bothered with her again. And, somehow, neither managed to get wind of any of the dozens of letters she sent.
- Um, how did the aunt get every one of these letters, anyway?!? Why would the servants give them to her when the letters were addressed to her father-in-law?
- This is an Inspirational Romance. I didn’t know what that meant, but apparently, it means it’s religious. There are no steamy scenes, which is fine. However, the author beats you upside the head with the religious bits. Maybe this is normal for this genre. I was fine with the characters quoting scripture as appropriate to see them through a tough scene. I was fine with them looking for their faith. Could have been very touching and moving. Instead, it was cliched at best. There was no deep moment of religious awakening. No spirituality at all.
- Done now. There was still so much more wrong, but I am done writing about it and done thinking about this book
I do NOT recommend this book, even if you get it for free. Still cost me a couple of hours to read it. Hours I’d rather spend cleaning out the linen closet.