Tiffany Cole

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Smashwords book reviews by Tiffany Cole

  • The Lady in Yellow: A Victorian Gothic Romance on May 01, 2012

    "In this novella of Victorian Gothic Romance, young Veronica Everly takes a position as governess to a pair of identical twins. She never dreamed she was to join a family of werewolves, or that she would fall in love with her handsome employer, Rafe de Grimston. When Rafe makes her promise to redeem them, she is faced with an agonizing choice." Above is the official summary of the book, and it is exactly what The Lady in Yellow is about. Most books understandably have to leave out a lot in their summaries, definitely when there are many sub-plots, but the only thing not covered in this summary is perhaps the mystery surrounding Rafe de Grimston's wife - as it happens, that mystery is part of what it'll take for Veronica to redeem them... Hold on, let me back track to the beginning. I'm getting ahead of myself. The story starts with Veronica sitting in an agent's office, being interviewed for the position of governess. In spite of the agent's consistent warnings that the Grimston twins can be very difficult and that the twins will have a hard time accepting her after the mysterious death of their beloved mother, Veronica remains confident that she can handle them. After all, Veronica was once the governess for a mad child. She's even prepared to handle the intense amount of responsibility that comes along with raising children whose father is often away for months at a time. Finally, the agent gives her the job. The moment she meets the twins at the beautiful, far-off Belden House, Veronica's confidence is put to the test. The twins are pale and green-eyed, androgynous, and act as though they are one human split into two. They are known for being elusive and secretive. Sometimes they disappear right before your eyes, but they always come back. Mrs. Twig, the housekeeper, is as secretive as the twins. Though the mother's death is perhaps the largest mystery, it's certainly not the only mystery. The moment the agent said that the twins would have a hard time accepting a governess in their mom's place, I instantly thought of the Sound of Music, just a much darker version that has werewolves and lacks music. The plot is tried and true: Initially, the kids will start off disliking the governess and the father will be too busy to be bothered with either the governess or the children, but the governess is so charismatic, kind, and pretty that they all come to love her in the end. The Lady in Yellow has been selling pretty well. I'm sure this plot is part of the reason why, and adding supernatural creatures to the mix makes it that much more appealing. This novella is full of description and action. I wouldn't say that the description or action jumps out at you and holds on, but it is well done and concise. The story goes along fairly fast. It isn't bogged down in exposition, though that sometimes comes at the cost of description being simplistic. My main problem with The Lady in Yellow was Veronica's characterization. Sometimes she simply didn't come across as a real person to me. In the beginning, a lot of her reactions seemed to have no depth. Her emotions and reactions did get more relateable as the story went on, but there were still points where I couldn't help but think, "She's taking all of this very easily for someone completely unfamiliar with the supernatural." Not being able to fully grasp her or Rafe's characterization did make the romance seem as though it happened very fast, but a lot of romances happen quickly. I wouldn't call this a story flaw, though. I just have complicated romance preferences. The Lady in Yellow is a short, fun, and pleasurable read. I enjoyed the adventures and the Victorian Gothic aspects. Over at Smashwords, one can set their own price for The Lady in Yellow. That's also something I don't see often. I'd recommend this novella for anyone into romance, werewolves, and/or the Sound of Music.