Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Windflower Tour: Chicago Stop (A Review)

I am feeling a bit lazy right now.  So lazy, in fact, that I refuse to type up a synopsis of this book. I know, I'm a bad reviewer.  Also, Christine just posted such an amazing synopsis that anything I would cobble together would seem pathetic by comparison.  Don't believe me? Go check it out!
I have to start off by being honest.  Before starting to read The Windflower I was prepared to hate it.  Oh alright, I was convinced I would hate it.  HATE.  After my experience with the dreaded Whitney, My Love I had convinced myself that Old School historicals are not my cup of tea. Because of this, my expectations of The Windflower were very low.

As I had mentioned in a previous post, I had an extremely difficult time getting into The Windflower.  It took me two weeks to get past page 150. It never takes me that long to read a book.  It was painful.  If it weren't for the fact that I was reading the book as part of The Tour, I would have put it down and considered it a DNF. I hate admitting defeat with a book.  So I powered through, forcing myself to read despite my determination to hate Merry and Devon.

I am so glad that I did.  No, this was not a perfect example of historical romance.  Yes, Devon was a big fat jerk.  Sure, Merry was TSTL at parts.  But I still liked it.  I know that it was partly because my expectations were so low.  If you expect the book to suck, then you are pleasantly surprised by a halfway decent read. I am aware of this.  Yet I still liked it.

Me, pleasantly surprised

Merry is everything I usually can't stand in a heroine: very young, naive, too pretty for her own good, TSTL, unrealistically spunky, and sometimes a bit of a Mary Sue.  Yet there is something endearing about her.  She brought out the best in those around her (except for Devon, of course.)  Cat and Raven became more human for knowing Merry. She never gave up.  No matter how many curve balls life threw at her, she kept on surviving. Merry is that girl you want to hate, but just can't.

Devon is an ass.  I know that.  Hell, it was evident in every one of his actions.  In the beginning his treatment of Merry was inexcusable.  Later, his intentions were more noble, if misguided.  I came to understand why he made his choices, even if I didn't agree with them.  Their attraction was clear.  From moment one, they were drawn to one another.  I bought it.  Their love and HEA? Not quite as realistic.  Devon didn't give Merry many reasons to fall in love with him.  The way he treated her in the beginning would have made anyone (besides an 80's historical romance heroine) punch him in the nose and never speak to his sorry ass again.  In some ways Merry's love smacked of teenage puppy love. Devon went from "I desire her, but cannot stand her" to "I love her, but must not sully her" far too abruptly. But again, my expectations were bottom-of-the-ocean low, so I was still pleased with the end result.

If the book had solely been focused on Merry and Devon it would have fallen flat for me.  Sweet, annoying, but nothing to write home about.  The saving grace was in the form of the secondary characters.  At the start of the book I kept reading so that I could get more of Cat.  Later it was Cat and Raven.  Had sequels been written, I would have wanted to read their stories.  Cat was this wonderful, multi-layered, tortured soul.  Had this book been written today, I would almost expect his character to be gay.  Perhaps the fact that he was not makes his relationship with Merry all the more poignant.  Raven was the youthful heart of the story.  He is no innocent boy, but there was a purity and honesty to his character that made him unique.  It also landed him into a heap of trouble.  He was unrepentant, and I loved it.

Homer gives his woof of approval even though the character is named Cat. (man my phone camera sucks!)

All in all, I am glad I forced myself to go on reading.  Not a favorite, but not a Dreaded (Old School) Historical.  If you like the subgenre, especially those from the 80's, you should definitely give it a shot.  Others? Proceed at your own risk. Enter into this reading relationship with the understanding that it may not be all sunshine and roses.


Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

I thought the Windflower was okay but didn't affect me like everyone else.
Your pictures are too funny :D

Shannon said...

heehee! Thanks :)

Yeah, I didn't love the book, but I didn't hate it, which is better than I had thought it would turn out. I think if I had higher expectations starting out I would have ended up giving a C instead of a B.

Lady of the Review said...

Who is next? I know I'm supposed to read it...somwhere along the line. :) Maybe? I dunno. LOL!


Stacy~ said...

OMG you are too funny. And yay Homer for your woof of approval.

Being a fan of a lot of old school romances, I was completely into it, but get that not everyone has a love for them. I think it's tres cool you gave this book a chance. Rock on, Windflower tour.

Kati said...

Yay! I seriously was beginning to think that NO one on the Tour would enjoy it. I'm glad at least one person did.

Thanks for a really fun review, Shannon!

Tracy said...

Funny post - glad you enjoyed it. Can't wait to read it...sooner or later.

Ana said...

OMG someone liked it? Yay! (although you still agree that Devon is an ass muwhahaha)

Shannon: loved the pics and loved you thoughts.

it's interesting how almost everyone prefer the secondary characters to the protagonists.

next stop: Kate pf What Kate's Reading. I will write an update of the tour this Sunday!

Kristie (J) said...

I'm really loving everyone's thoughts on this book as it makes it's way across the world. And the best example of "the book that never was and should have been" without question is Cats!!!!

And yes - I loved it more then many - but I started out reading old school romance and in that category I think it's a standout though I can see why today's readers have issues with it certainly.

Ciara said...

LOL. I love your facial expressions! Thanks for giving the Windflower a chance and thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Heloise said...

Shannon, yet again you confirm my firm belief that if only your expectations are low enough, your enjoyment of life will be that much higher! :)

Okay, I read a lot of the 'old school' books in the day so after watching you all review this one, I think I'm going to have to read it. I'm so curious. (In my teenage years I LOVED Whitney My Love. But even then I thought the 'scene' was beyond icky. It just wasn't a deal breaker for me then.)

Christine said...

I love your pictures, Shannon! How fun!

I think your sentiments echo mine very closely. I'm glad you followed through and ended up enjoying it well enough.

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