While traveling for a few days this past week, I read two romances that were very silly — one silly but entertaining, and one silly and annoying. Which is which? Read on…
Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Q. Sutanto: This is the silly and entertaining one! Four Aunties and a Wedding, the follow-up to Dial A for Aunties, continues the hilariously ridiculous adventures of Meddy, a wedding photographer, and the four aunties who dominate her Chinese-Indonesian family. In this sequel, Meddy is finally about to marry the man of her dreams, but when she overhears her own wedding photographer plotting a murder and realizes that there’s going to be a mafia hit on her big day, she and the aunties spring into action to foil the evil plans. Shenanigans ensue — kidnappings, spontaneous Tai Chi, komodo dragon fascinators, and marijuana-laced cocktails, to name but a few of the outrageous obstacles that interfere with Meddy’s dream destination wedding.
This is a light, fast read, and I enjoyed it overall, but did find myself getting annoyed eventually by just how over-the-top the plot became, how the aunties and Meddy jumped to one false conclusion after another, and how these ridiculous circumstances completely ruined the wedding day. Fortunately, Meddy’s groom is far more understanding and loving and, well, just plain perfect than any ordinary man might be, so the couple gets their happy ending… and so what if zipties, druggings, and assassination attempts get in the way?
Definitely Not Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos: Obviously, that leaves this book as the silly and annoying one! This Austen-inspired romance centers on a 39-year-old single mother whose business is failing. In desperation, she makes the obvious choice — to go to England and participate in what she thinks will be a documentary about Regency life, but turns out to be (drumroll, please…) a Regency-themed reality dating show. The prize is marriage to a wealthy British hottie (and $100,000), and Chloe is determined to win. To get to the prize, though, she must live in total Regency style, meaning chamber pots, no technology, food-based cosmetics, and constant chaperonage. This book was published in 2012, and feels a lot like an Austenland retread — and also feels pretty dated, in terms of attitudes toward relationships and female competition.
The plot really doesn’t make sense, the Regency affectations are applied inconsistently and weirdly (for example, the woman playing the role of Chloe’s chaperone is very pregnant, and has agreed to give birth Regency-style… WHY?). There are slapsticky misadventures, mistaken identity, and plain old nonsensical decisions. I finished the book, and I suppose it held my attention enough to make me want to see how it turned out, but I can’t say I recommend this one.
And there you have it! Fun romance, not-so-fun super annoying romance… and now I’d better switch up my reading for a bit and tackle something with a bit more there there.