Book Review: Keiran Kramer’s “When Harry Met Molly”
After much ado, here is my very first book review on the new blog…
I read When Harry Met Molly by Kieran Kramer after Julia Quinn recommended it on her website. She acknowledged from the start that the book had a few historical inaccuracies, but it was the writing that drew her to the book.
Firstly, here’s the summary:
He’s always been a player.
Dashing Lord Harry Traemore is perfectly content to live out his days in the pursuit of pleasure. But when he’s named by the Prince Regent as one of society’s “Impossible Bachelors,” Harry is drafted into a ribald romantic wager. The rules of engagement are scandalously simple: The bachelor whose mistress wins the title of “Most Delectable Companion” gets to remain unmarried. Harry is utterly unconcerned about his status…until his latest lightskirt abandons him.
Who will win this game of love?
Enter Lady Molly Fairbanks. Harry’s childhood friend—actually, “foe” is more like it—is the most unlikely companion of all. She’s attractive but hot-headed, and in no mood for games. Besides, what could the self-indulgent Harry possibly know about what makes a woman delectable? It’s time for Molly to teach him a lesson once and for all…but will it lead to “happily ever after?”
At first I thought the book might read like a comtemporary due to the title, and the historical inaccuracies would draw my attention away from the characters and story. I imagined myself stopping halfway through to say, “People in the Regency era just didn’t do that! Argh!”
But this did not happen.
The main characters: Harry and Molly, kept my attention throughout the story. Not only did they have a love-hate relationship, or rather hate-love, but both characters had a sense of humour that I admired.
Molly and Harry are childhood enemies, the route of the prolem being that Molly (at the age of thirteen) read aloud a self-composed poem that depicted her love for Harry’s older brother Roderick, but also relayed her observation of a kiss between Harry and Roberick’s fiancee, Penelope (also Molly’s sister). While Roderick and Penelope made it through the incident with their engagement intact, the fiasco led to Harry enrollment with the army and Molly being sent to a strict girls school. Needless, to say both blamed the other for the incident.
Thus, the hate begins…
In my humble opinion, Kramer set the stage perfectly for Harry and Molly’s relationship. Not only was there the dynamic of hate turing into love, but also the fact that both characters – being dismissed second children – had to develop a sense of self-worth.
More hilarity ensues when Molly’s fiance, with whom she was eloping, runs off with Harry’s mistress. Since Molly has just been abandoned with no way of getting home, Harry offers her a bargain: pretend to be his mistress for a week so he can enter the “Most Delectable Companion” contest and win a marriage-mart free year, and he will help Molly get home.
As Harry and Molly went from childhood enemies to fremenies to friends to lovers their was a lot of drama, and best of all comedy. There were wonderful laugh out loud moments in the book.
A LOVE RECTANGLE OF TRAGIC PROPORTIONS
Robert, Robert, wherefore are thou, Robert?
While Persephone’s in the arbor,
Bestowing kisses on young Barry,
You clutch the golden ring
She’s to wear when you marry.
Persephone, Persephone, why does thou wound Robert so?
Barry is but the moon
While Robert is the sun.
Can’t you see Robert is all
And Barry is, um, none?
Barry, oh, Barry, why not find your own true love?
My sister isn’t yours
She belongs to another,
But if you steal her away,
Perhaps I’ll marry your brother!
Did I mention I love the poem that Molly recites in the beginning? She of course tweaked the names a bit, for confidentiality purposes. Can you guess who Harry is?
Of course, as many other historical novelists mentioned, Kramer did take liberties with historical figures and events. The regent himself made many appearances in the novel, and did not come across as very royal in any of them. Also the situation between mistress and their protectors seemed a little unrealistic at times. (Although, allowances could be made for Molly because she is not really a mistress.) Then, there was the fact that Harry seemed a little too nonchalant about making Molly his fake mistress and risking her reputation. I found his reason – that she would be wearing too much powder and rouge to be recognized – a little, okay a lot, flimsy.
However, that said I still found this a most delectable read. Great chemistry between the characters, lots of comedy and a great writing style come together to give this book an 8/10.
I look forward to reading the rest of the “Impossible Bachelors” series.
–Rika Ashton (aka The Eagerly Awaiting)