Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tuesday Review: THE HUSBAND HUNT by Lynsay Sands

I tend to go in spurts with my reading and gorge myself on one particular type of book. For all the years of my adolescence it was inspirational romance, then I found thrillers, then contemps, then Regencies, Westerns . . . you get the idea.

Right now, I'm on a Regency kick. I find myself wandering the paperback aisle of the library looking for anything with a flowing gown on the cover. I inadvertently mention common Regency tropes at inappropriate places like staff meetings.
The Husband Hunt (Madison Sisters, #3)
And I'm also running out of authors. I'm picky about who I read, and so I usually stick to authors I know and love. Terrible way to read, I know. But I'm trying to branch out, and so I grabbed every Regency in the library that looked even remotely interesting and took them home.

Lynsay Sands' THE HUSBAND HUNT is one of the books I found, and the best of the bunch. It's the third in a series about the three Madison sisters, orphaned just before their coming out. By this book, the two older sisters have found love, and the youngest sister, Lisa, is 21 and looking to get married before she's officially on the shelf.
She has the man in mind--Robert, a young aristocrat from the neighboring estate--and when she realizes he has no interest in her whatsoever, sets out to enjoy the season and see who else she can find to marry.

But someone has decided to forego courtship and abscond with Lisa to Gretna Green. To protect her, Robert is forced to stay at her side while she flirts with every other bachelor in London.

I liked the heroine -- Lisa Madison -- in this story. And that surprised me. Lisa isn't the most, ahem, savvy of heroines. She manages to stumble into trouble with virgin-cheerleader-in an-axe-murderer-movie regularity. I believe she's kidnapped three separate times in the few weeks spanned in the book. She manages to botch her own ruination -- which she planned!

But in spite of all this, Lisa Madison is a cheery and fun heroine, whose exploits are at once practical and inept. Ms. Sands was able to use humor to her advantage, and turn what could have been a too-stupid-to-live character into a sweet and funny girl I wanted to spend the afternoon with and accompany on an adventure.

Ms. Sands is most prolific in paranomrals, vampires to be specific, and has only a few Regencies. I haven't tried one of her paranormals (see first paragraph), but if they're anything like this one, they'll be funny and well-written.

There were other flaws in this book -- the historical points weren't perfect, the language too modern. But the voice was strong and the writing snappy, and the heroine and humor were more than enough to carry me through.

Anyone read anything by Lynsay Sands? Know other books where good writing and great humor made up for an otherwise flawed story? Know any other authors who switch between Regencies and vampires?


Marnee Bailey said...

I haven't read Lynsay Sands yet, her Regencies or her paranormal, but I have heard she's got a light voice.

I think that Sherrilyn Kenyon is one where her voice and humor sometimes carries her stories. Sometimes they're great and lovely and wonderful. SOmetimes, I feel like I just missed the boat with them.

I don't know about authors who go from Regency to vamps exactly, but lots write in historical and contemporary. Victoria Dahl. Maya Banks. Carolyn Jewel.

quantum said...

I always think of Vamps in connection with Lynsay Sands. Didn't realise she wrote Regencies as well.
Sounds worth a look.

With good writing and great humour I can overlook all sorts of defects. I probably wouldn't even notice them. Doesn't Maureen have pirates using mobile phones? I guess that's possible with fantasy! LOL

I think Jayne Anne Krenz has had a go at most genres including Regency when writing as Amanda Quick. She has so many pseudonyms that I find it hard to keep track! LOL

haleigh said...

Marn - I liked her voice a lot. I'm always a little surprised and impressed when authors can go back and forth between historical and contemporary paranormals.

Q - I'm glad to hear you like her vampire books! Her regencies are definitely worth the look! Jayne Anne Krentz is a great example. I like both the Amanda Quick books and her time travel series!

Terri Osburn said...

This sounds like everything I expect from a Sands book. I read The Perfect Wife, which is a medieval from 2005, though nothing like the medievals I'm used to. The hero is alpha, but not annoyingly so. And the heroine is, shall we say, fluffy. She's convinced her husband, whom she's about to marry but has never laid eyes on before, won't want her unless she's skinny.

This leads to a not-so-well thought out plan for the wedding that has less-than-successful results. I laughed and cringed as Ms. Sands put the hero through hell. The poor man. And God love him, he was quite happy with all of his wife's curves.

Highly recommend it and I'll look for this Madison series.

Janga said...

I've never read Lynsay Sands, probably because I associate her with vampires. It sounds as if her Regencies are "wallpaper historicals" or historical lite, at the least. I always feel a bit guilty because even though I love historically accurate books by writers such as Jo Beverley and Joanna Bourne, I love equally books with characters, plot, and/or style that so captivate me that I'm not bothered at all by inaccuracies or anachronisms. My response to those who attack Julie Anne Long and Julia Quinn for perceived errors is "Who gives a %#@%? Not I." Characters I love engaged in compelling stories presented in lucid and graceful prose wins with me every time. I'll keep reading Beverley and Bourne and Long and Quinn, thanks.

Speaking of Quinn, her collection of second epilogues releases today. I love that she "explained" the detail in On the Way to the Wedding that created such a brouhaha among the purists. I could almost see her grin as she typed that sentence.

Terri Osburn said...

This is where I'll admit, I rarely catch anachronisms. If the writer used a word that didn't come into use until 70 years after her time period, I'll never know nor do I care. Just tell me a lovely, sigh-worthy story in a beautiful, intriguing way.

FWIW, in Sands Medieval, I liked that she kept it real, so to speak. There's an incident that results in the hero's hands being burnt, which renders him unable to go to the bathroom alone. She doesn't dance around this situation. At all. I liked that about the story.

MsHellion said...

I've liked several of Lynsay Sands' novels--the vampires are pretty funny and the historical ones are too. She is known for her light voice and light read. I'm not sure if I've ever read one that was a "must keep" for me because I prefer the blend of serious and funny in my romances, and if the romance is all light (or FEELS all light to me)--it tends to be a book I can dismiss (I'm sorry to say.)

That aside, I think she's a wonderful writer and she has the conflict stuff down...and keeping the pace going very effectively.

P. Kirby said...

Years ago, I read one Sands's novel, one of the "funny" vampire ones and put her on my never-again list. The humor totally did not work for me; too cutesy.

Maybe she's better when writing historicals. If I run into this at the library --not payin' cashy money for it -- I'll give it a try. Historical inaccuracy doesn't bother me that much - don't know much about history anyway.

I can see why an author would dabble in different genres. Seems it would get dull writing the same thing over and over.

Maureen said...

Well, I'm reading an Emma Holly historical right now. I resisted for a long time, but she wasn't publishing her contemporary erotic, which I prefer, so I thought I'd give it a try... You never know. Too early in it to say yet, but it seems fun.

And I'm never one to notice anachronisms, because I love doing them myself, I suppose. Q - She only pulls out her cell phone because she keeps thinking it will eventually work... ;-)

MsHellion said...

I also want to shout out a Thanks to Hal for covering today. I hadn't caught up on some of my reading materials (a book I've been reading is taking much longer to plow through, even though it's very good)--and then I remembered I had three meetings all long and back to back, so I wouldn't have been particularly engaged either. :)

Thank you, Hal!

Haleigh said...

You're welcome Hellie! I've been reading quite a bit lately so it was perfect timing :)

Haleigh said...

Ter - it sounds like her style hasn't changed much since the medieval you read! This was different as well from many of the Regencies I've read -- even the names are more modern. But it was a fun change of pace. And very "real," as you noted. Her voice seems very genuine, which always love

Haleigh said...

Janga, I'm with you. If there are great characters, I can ignore just about any historical anachronism. I recently picked up a Julie Anne Long based on your recommendation as was so pleased!

Haleigh said...

Hellie - this one probably isn't a 'must keep' for me either, as much as I enjoyed it. While I enjoy a light read, I also tend to gravitate toward the darker/angstier stories.

And yeah, the pacing and conflict were spot-on in this one too!

Haleigh said...

Pat - campy humor is definitely not for everyone! I'd like to dabble in writing Regencies myself, though I've never tried it. It seems daunting to make that big of a switch! But so many authors do it successfully.

Haleigh said...

Mo - I love that when you can follow an author you trust into a whole new genre.

I love the idea of a cell phone on a pirate ship!

irisheyes said...

I read a couple of her medievals a long time ago. I tried her out because one reviewer said that if you liked Julie Garwood you'd probably like Lynsay Sands. I had plowed through all of JG's backlist and was looking for something similar. I thought they were cute. They did make me laugh.

Just like several others have mentioned historical inaccuracy or anachronisms never bother me if the writing is good enough. When you pick up a Julie Garwood, Julia Quinn, Lynsay Sands, etc. you pretty much know off the bat if that's your cuppa tea or not. It's pretty obvious a lot of JG's writing is tongue in cheek. To complain about that is kind of silly IMHO. Kind of like reading SEP's football series and then complaining that it was no good cause you don't like football players. :)

Terri Osburn said...

Or that she's not writing about a real football team. *rolls eyes* Excellent point, Irish.

Haleigh said...

haha. I agree Irish. I found a similar kind of tongue-in-cheek humor with Sands, as if she knew it was a little cutesy and totally okay with that.

Speaking of, I LOVE the SEP football series! "It had to be You" will forever be one of my favorite romances of all time (next to JQ's "When He was Wicked")

irisheyes said...

I'm right there with you on IT HAD TO BE YOU, Hal! That has one of my favorite tropes - everyone thinking Phoebe is one way and finding out through the story that she's completely different than you think (or you're led to believe). I think I like the trope in this book so much because you know she's the one perpetuating the illusion just to keep herself safe. Phoebe has a special place in my heart! :)

Sin said...

I read a Sands vamp book a few years ago, but the whole drinking from blood bags turned me off. She does have a good voice which kept me reading through the whole book.

It's been so long since I read a whole book. I've been on a haiku kick lately so obviously my attention span is non-existent.