Monday, May 7, 2012

Cruise to a Wedding--Reprise

"Gosh, I wish I liked this book better..."  That's what Betty Debbie says I am sadly in hearty agreement.  The cruise is full of possibilities but it is marred (heavily) by the tit for tat behavior of the heroine in using her social capital  to maneuver her friend into a stupid marriage instead of out, out, out.  Silly.  I also take issue with Rimada's name--one letter short of a mid-scale hotel catering to families of an indiscreet number traveling to Disneyland...  Alright, have I unloaded all my bombs?  
Love and lardy cakes,
Betty Keira

Gosh, I wish I liked this book better. I sort of got an Enchanting Samantha vibe (which was not as enchanting as it sounds...) I did like it a bit better than that book, but not much.

Loveday Pearce, charming face, dark brown hair, tall girl....rising 28 (as her mother says). She is Theatre Sister and friend to the combustible Dutch girl, Rimada (which name so reminds me of a hotel chain...Ramada Inn). The beginning is all about she falls in and out of love with monotonous frequency...and currently is imagining herself in love with houseman Terry. Whatever Rimada wants, Rimada gets - if her guardian doesn't stop her first. Right now she wants to marry Terry. Loveday is pretty sure he's not right for Rimada - besides being a head shorter than Rimada, he is suspected of being a fortune hunter. Rimada would like to get around her autocratic, dictatorial, high and mighty guardian, Cousin Adam. Loveday lets her in on an English idiom "it wouldn't be cricket". At this point Loveday is against the marriage. Let's keep that in mind. She is AGAINST it.
While in the operating theatre, Mr. Gore-Symes, local surgeon, introduces Loveday to "Professor de mumble van mumble from mumble" (thank you Betty!). Huh?Who? Lucky for her he stops by her office and clearly tells her that he is Rimada's terrifying guardian, Adam De Wolff van Ozinga. They have words...which end with him kissing her! What? Our girl gets so incensed, that despite her original plan to put the kibosh on the Terry/Rimada romance, she now decides to help it along. It's sort of a vengeance thing - since Adam called her a meddling busy-body, she's darn well going to prove him right. I find her willingness to make other people miserable because she's miffed at a good looking guy mystifying...a mysterious mystery of epic proportions. Evidently Loveday is the brains behind the Loveday/Rimada friendship, so it's up to her to be Machiavellian and come up with a plan. A plan to unite Rimmy (argh! Now I'm channeling that rat from Ratatouille - Remy) and the vertically challenged, fortune hunting rat, Terry, or as I shall now refer to him, Darth Frodo.Her evil plan? Go on a cruise and jump ship at Madeira for a wedding (thus the title). They will be daaaays away from England...however will Guardian Guy find them in time to stop the wedding?
Before going on a cruise, Rimmy needs to go to Holland and see her mum - and to buy a boatload of new clothes. Rimmy's mother welcomes them both - and thanks Loveday for being kind to her daughter while she is in exile. Exile? Rimmy is not the only drama queen in the family. Rimmy and her mum are definitely from the monied class...who else would bother with gold-plated taps in the loo? Much shopping and socializing ensue. Loveday finds Rimada's rich friends boring...and her mother is superficial. Lucky for her The Guardian shows up. And now we get his FULL name. Professor Baron Adam De Wolff van Ozinga...glad we've gotten that out of the way...Adam invites Loveday to come and look at his etchings...I mean...his home. His home a mere 120 miles away...
Loveday is given a home tour along with a bonus side dish of third degree. She finally tells Adam to get on with it, so she can enjoy looking at his Hepplewhite shield-back chairs without the Perry Mason bit. Daggers are drawn, a bit of verbal sparring, a swift kiss, expertly given, avoidance of innuendo about the canopied bed...he kissed her in a bedroom???...deep breath...deep breath...okay, I'm back. The kissing doesn't mean the swords are laid down...oh my word, no...much more crossing of swords to come.
En garde.
Thrust: old are you, Loveday? Older than Rimmy, I'm sure. Won't tell? It's a well-known fact that women over thirty like to keep their age a secret. Ouch. First blood to Adam.
Rimmy discloses a bit more info on her relationship with Darth Frodo...she's already given him money three or four times and now she's planning on footing the bill for their cruise to a wedding. Loveday is shocked and very tempted to tell Adam what's going on...but barring that she settles for getting Rimmy to promise to tell her mother just before embarking on their cruise, as a salve to her conscious.
Back in London and back to work. There's still some time before the cruise - Rimmy and Darth Frodo are out on a date when Adam shows up and asks Loveday where she is. Loveday is a lousy liar and is busy making such a hash of her tangled webs, that she's downright grateful to accept a dinner invite from Adam - thinking this would be a great distraction. It might have been had they not ended up at the same restaurant as Rimmy - so Loveday is forced be wily.
Parry: "She talked through the starters, got her second wind with the smoked duck and was well into her stride with the dessert...she allowed her glass to be filled and the time they had reached the coffee she was feeling happy and slightly pot-valiant."
Riposte: Just when she's thinking that they've gotten away with it, Adam tells her that he knew all along that Rimmy was in the restaurant with Darth Frodo. All that work, just for a hangover. Fast forward one week, and it's time to Shove Off! Loveday, Rimmy and Darth Frodo walk the take the Cruise to a Wedding! Cue the Love Boat Theme. Darth Frodo is given the job of visiting the Purser's office and securing them a table. Which he does. Unfortunately for them the only table to be had was for six persons...and guess who joins them?? Adam, that's who. Like an uninvited bad fairy he descends on the party. And proceeds to sow doubt and discord, in a very genial sort of way.
Feint: Sorry Rimmy, but you're broke - all your investments failed. Darth Frodo will have to support you on his limited income. I still have enough to give you whatever kind of wedding you'd like, within reason. Hey, Loveday... what kind of wedding would you want?
Land Ho! Medeira Interlude.
Turns out the cruise is not so much to a wedding as it is to an old flame of Rimmy's. Adam has arranged for Guake ten Kate (I just can't make that first name sound good in my head) to join the party in Funchal. Everyone is rented, scenic drive is taken, flora admired...and Loveday wonders about indoor plumbing for the locals. Adam stops at a scenic viewpoint two thousand feet up, and we find that Loveday is acrophobic. Oops. Not such a treat for her. But it does give Loveday and Adam a chance to take a walk...and for Loveday to find out that Adam is a Manipulator, Grand Class. He admits to lying about Rimmy losing her money and telling Darth Frodo that Loveday is an heiress. Loveday is less than amused at that, because she's had to fend off advances from him. She does see the humour...but is not amused at being made use of. Adam sees Darth Frodo off...after telling him that Loveday is to be married soon. Of all the nerve! Yes, but surgeons need nerves...
If talk of marriage is being bandied about, can a Dawning Realization be far behind? I think not. In fact, that very night while idling round the dance floor Loveday is gobsmacked to find that she is in love. Adam invites her out on the balcony to look at the moon - but she's in shock and gives a catty remark, to which Adam replies, "Do you dislike me very much?" And there's a facer, she thought desperately...Adam babbles on a bit, while Loveday is lost in thought. "Are you plotting against me again?" It's just the moon making me feel not quite as ancient as you think I you want to snog?
Thrust: Fierce mockery in his kiss and voice. Ouch. That one might need stitches.
Parry: Loveday gives a come-hitherish look at a stranger who comes to ask her to dance. The girl's got wiles, and she knows how to use them.
Feint: The next night Loveday pulls a mythical headache...she can't bear to spend the evening with him. Never fear, she orders a tasty meal from room service and grabs her one and only book.
Counter-Thrust: Adam visits the 'sickroom' with Rimmy, cancels her meal and takes away her book. A plain meal of bouillon, steamed fish and a miniature jelly is what Adam orders up for her. How could Loveday be head over heels with someone who could be so utterly beastly as to starve her - and take away the only book she had? Despite the angstiness, Loveday is happy to be sitting next to Adam on the plane (remember: afraid of heights). He holds her hand for the entire 560 mile flight to Lisbon. A day spent sightseeing in Lisbon, then a flight to Holland. No hand holding this time, but Adam is handy with a flask of brandy to ward off the air sickness.
Back at Rimmy's mum's house, Loveday is not feeling the love...and to cap it off, Adam is trying to corner her for a 'talk'.
Feint: Time to fake another sick headache. That gets her out of a talk that evening, but Adam is persistent and he'll be back in the morning - after breakfast. Loveday sets her alarm for 4am and sneaks out. She is so determined to avoid Adam that she walks two miles, in a drizzle, to the bus station.
Time for some bullet points:
*Back at work, it's business as usual...the surgeons lists were like trying to fit a quart into a pint pot. Mr. Gore-Symes asks her to tart up the place a bit for a posse of surgical talent he's expecting. The surgical talent turns out to be Professor Baron Adam De Wolff van Ozinga.
*Loveday drops her forceps in shock.
*swooping kiss.
*trip home to visit the family.
*Adam finally runs Loveday to ground...follows her into the Nurses Home! Proposes in front of a gaggle of goggling nurses. Kissing. Touché.
Rating: I found the story uneven and I really disliked the part where she connives to help Rimmy elope with loser boy...but aside from those glaring problems, there was some fun to be had. Sure, Loveday was fairly abrasive, but I found the give and take pretty equal - most of the pitched battles were well deserved. Awesome makes up for a lot - I give it a madeira cake.
Food: smoked duck, trifle, Italics Food! gazpacho, lulas guizadaz, arroz doce, flan, apple tart
Fashion: tweed suit, amber silk jersey with ruffled collar, pink sheath, long dress of cream and pink chiffon, coral pink silk voile, cotton jersey in a pleasing shade of mushroom, jersey trouser suit!