Sunday, May 14, 2017

Tender Wings of Desire

It is impossible to shock me with the name of a romance novel, so I might not have noticed that Colonel Sanders was starring in his own book unless it was explicitly pointed out to me by a coworker.  Let us take a moment to acknowledge the existence of this:

Let's bask in it.  Tender Wings of Desire. Bask in the Colonel's exposed shoulders. Bask in the mom jeans that his beloved is wearing, and the key chain attached to her purse strap.  Bask in the highland castle, flowered field, ocean waves, AND sunset al captured in the background.  And bask in the delicious chicken wing she gazes at past her beloved's head.

And because I love you, dear Internet, I am going to read this.  For you! Normal people would live Tweet it--I'm sure someone has, and if so, point me to it, please!--but what I have is a blog, so that's where we're going with this.  Strap in, kids--we're doing this in real time.

Dedication: for mothers everywhere. Thank you, Undisclosed Author (Who I Assume Is a Marketing Writer Who Said "Yeah, I Could Whip That Off For You In a Few Hours, Sure.") I'm touched you thought of me.

Chapter One.  Our heroine is named Lady Madeline Parker and she hates embroidery and thinks it's pointless.  But her sister Victoria is prim and likes embroidery, unlike Madeline, who likes riding horses.  So wait, where are the mom jeans?  This is all Regency!  THE COVER LIED, CALL THE PAPERS!

Okay, moving on. It's hard no to judge this on Regency terms--like, "zero musical ability" is not a colloquialism of the time, and this many adverbs would be bad writing any day. Oh, and both sisters have "pale, dewy skin," which just makes them sound...moist? Maybe pre-fungal?  

Chocolate colored curls, thick golden ringlets, marrying a duke, blah blah blah. Someone has read enough romance novels to know the patterns, anyway.  It's actually impressive how many cliches are packed in per paragraph.  

Madeline doesn't know why her sister cares "so terribly much" about marrying "so very young" when there is a whole world to see. "Victoria looked as though she might faint from the scandal."  This is actually well supported in literature--the British upper classes are likely to faint at anything.  Strong men have been known to fall over dead upon opening a startling letter.  So this part is legit.

Wait, Madeline's embroidery hoop is next to her on the settee?  I thought she threw it across the room a few minutes ago?  I can't be bothered to scroll back; make a note for the continuity experts.

Stubbornly, matter-of-factly, fully, preferably, terribly. Every page, packed full.

Ooh, Madeline doesn't feel a spark with her handsome fiance-to-be Reginald.  He's too bland and blond.  Perhaps a white-haired colonel will sweep her off her feet?

For some reason no one uses contractions here.  "I do not know about being a duchess." I guess that's how they talked in ye olde fashioned times.

Two sisters who envy each other, because the younger wants to marry but the older wants the freedom to wait.  What will they do?  WILL THEY SWITCH PLACES?

Chapter 2
Interesting--a lot of books that go for this kind of cliche (we like our heroine because she's a tomboy, not a girly girl) end up being pretty femmephobic, but Madeline likes to get dressed up and look pretty.  I can appreciate that.

I don't think "sure" was used as a synonym for "admittedly" by anyone who referred to the ton by that name. Especially not twice in the same paragraph.

Fashion porn--petal pink, green ribbons, hairstyles. I have never read an actual romance novel that spent as much time on clothing (well, on clothing that was not about to come off) as this.

Did the Victorians or the Regenciers or whatever "throw" balls? Either way, Madeline has terrible manners.  She can't keep her parents' friends straight and she doesn't know enough not to drink when people toast to her.  And oh my god, you do not address a duke as Duke!  I am rolling my eyes so hard at this girl. She has clearly not learned nearly as much about being a society lady as I had at the same age.

Chapter 3
Okay, there's an amorphous "plan" taking shape now.  Will she run away to the new world and meet Colonel Sanders?  Will she discover the glories of fried chicken?  I mean, the cover didn't give any real information at all!  All I know is, waiting till the day before the wedding was a bad plan, kid.

(Also, a bride did not plan her own wedding back then; her mother did.)

The pauses to describe people's looks reminds me of the Babysitter's Club and Dawn's long straight blonde hair and Stacey's short blonde perm and Mary Anne's two brown braids.

The extent to which they will go to avoid contractions is amazing.  "'Little late for that, do you not think?'" That's the weirdest combination of modern and faux-antiquated phrasing I can think of.

I read a fanfic recently that made a point of the fact that saying "okay" would mean nothing to the Victorian gentry.  I do not want to denigrate fanfic by pointing out that this is worse than most fanfic, but it is SO MUCH WORSE.

Chapter 4 
I'm 30% of the way through the book and there is no hero yet.  Unless she ends up with Reginald?  No, that's not going to happen.  I have to call it quits for the night, though.  I was really hoping this would be funnier--it's not a send-up of romance novels; it's just a really bad romance novel.  Like, really bad.

I wonder if someone could make a living out of this?  Cranking out specialized tie-in novels for products?  Romancing the Roomba. Whirlpool of DesireThe Cowboy Duke's Honda Civic.

To Be Continued!

1 comment:

Lianna Williamson said...

I'm rooting for a time-travel plot twist to explain the mom jeans on the cover.