For this week’s Throwback Thursday I picked a novel that received both criticism and praise upon it’s release, and, although I wasn’t exactly a critic, Elizabeth Boyle‘s Memoirs of a Scandalous Red Dress (book five) was not my favourite book in the Bachelor Chronicles series.
What if all you have are the memories of a pirate…
…and the scandalous red dress that nearly brought you to ruin? Remembrances of the kisses he stole? Or his seductive, rakish smile as he charmed his way into your bed, stole your innocence and your heart? To proper and respectable Philippa, Lady Gossett such memories are best locked away. At least so she thought until a stranger arrives on her doorstep and offers her a chance to tempt fate once again… to tempt Dash back into her life and quite possibly into her bed…
But the man Pippin loved all those years ago, and the man she discovers are hardly the same. Captain Thomas Dashwell has a score to settle with the now widowed Lady Gossett, the vision in red who has haunted his life for so long — ever since that fateful night when she betrayed him and married another. She’s the one woman he’s vowed to hate until the end of his days… and the one woman he can never forget…
I adore all the prior installments of the series and with the intensity that has surrounded Pippin and Dash’s love affair, I wanted a more long-lived conclusion. The prior books, and this one, were so well written that I had really gotten to know the characters almost as if they were real. I DID NOT want a drawn out conclusion set some 20 years later, when Pippin was 40-something and Dash older.
Before I go on, I have to say that there is nothing wrong about a 40-something heroine, what struck me in this novel was that 40-something meant that Pippin had only a few more years to live considering the era this is written in and the fact that people just did not live very long…maybe 20 at most and since Pippin and Dash are reunited so late they would have a very short time together before one, or both, of them died.
And although, I have enough of an imagination and desire to hope that characters are immortal even though a book has ended, this one was so well entrenched in its history that I couldn’t escape the reality presented in the novel. In this case, Ms. Boyle’s spectacular world building worked against her, in my opinion.
On top of it all, this book made me cry – not pretty sobs, but gut-wrenching noisy blobs of water leaking from my eyes – because it was so bloody sad that the characters had wasted so much time. Not to mention Dash’s ongoing alcohol withdrawal – which again was VERY real.
But, as I said, this novel received plenty of praise for its originality, and some people were clearly able to read the novel without reading the character expiration dates between the lines and so its worth an honourable mention as this week’s Throwback Thursday pick.
(aka The One Who Could Not Escape Reality)