Love and lardy cakes,
It seems like every book we've reviewed lately has had excruciatingly forgettable titles. At Odds with Love falls smack dab in that category. What does it even mean? Often there will at least be an obscure reference to the title somewhere in the pages...but either this one didn't, or I dozed off during that paragraph.A title like Jane Gets Her Man...or Jane, the Hot, Hot Baroness would help me remember which book this was.
Jane may be a 'plain' name, but really it's her last name that says it all. Fox. Jane Fox is a H.O.T. twenty-seven year old nurse with russet hair, built like a brick house. She's taken leave from professional nursing to nurse her dying granny. Gran wishes that Jane would find a nice doctor and settle down, but Dr. Willoughby is already spoken for. Speaking of Dr. Willoughby, he's called in a specialist, one Professor van der Vollenhove who is no slouch in the good looks department. Despite the ministrations of the good doctors, granny dies. She's lived a long and prosperous life, so don't grieve too deeply.
The professor drops Jane off at his friends Julie and Rex's home - they are more than happy to take her in. Her and her herd. It isn't long before talk of a Marriage of Convenience is bandied about...which is really what the dear girl needs if she's going to be hauling around three animals and one faithful family retainer. You thought Bessy was happy with her sister? Not so much.
On paper the MOC looks sound:
- They are both medical professionals.
- He needs someone to entertain his friends and fend off too much social life.
- She's a good listener.
- The herd will have a home.
- Ditto Bessy.
- They can spend the next two weeks getting to know each other..dating!
The next morning
Nik takes Jane shopping - so that he can purchase The Prussian Blue Silk Dress, Part II.
The wedding goes off without a hitch, and as soon as the 'I dos' are said, Nik loads up the Bentley with Jane, Bessy, Bruno, Percy and Simpkins and they're off to Holland! Wagons Ho!
Jane sets her mind towards winning the heart of her husband. It's a three part plan.
Part 1. Make sure she's always looking hotter than usual. Adjust lighting accordingly.
Part 2. Try and make Nik jealous...without any actual flirting...just looking hot. Add a little devastating use of eyelash sweeping.
Part 3. Drastic measures. Swipe the Bristol and drive to Amsterdam, expressly against doctor's wishes. Take advantage of an earthquake, then confess all to husband.
Jane's three step program works like a charm. Kisses in the hospital courtyard and semi-explicit references to implied conjugal relations.The end.
Rating: This was a lovely, gentle story. Seldom do we get to witness both sides falling in love so naturally. At first Nik is very slightly inclined to mocking looks and cool indifference...but behind that facade he's unfailingly kind, so I'll give him a pass. Jane recognizes that she's in love well before Nik and actually Takes Steps. When Nik does realize he's fallen in love with his wife, he goes for a drive and a long walk in the country trying to figure out what he should do. He's completely clueless that Jane loves him, and quite unsure of what to do about it. Lucky for him that Jane is working hard enough for the both of them. Also lucky for both of them that Amsterdam experiences an earthquake at precisely the right moment for greatest efficacy. I'd love to give this a high rating, but frankly, nothing really happens. All of Jane's trials eventually work out just fine. Even without the earthquake, Jane would have gotten her man sooner or later. I think I'll go with a serving of boeuf en croute (8).
Food: Homemade shortbread, chicken ragout in England, chicken ragout in Holland, short rations at Lady Grimstone's - special cereal like shredded cardboard, dry toast spread with vegetable extract, soup so thin it was probably an Oxo cube dissolved in water, bread and butter so thin she could see through it, very small lamb chops, Blancmange for pudding, tin of digestive biscuits to fight off hunger, semolina shape(??). At the Hospital of Horrors she had fish paste sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, casserole of beef, milk pudding for afters.