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Pump Six and Other Stories
Paolo Bacigalupi

His at Night

His at Night - Sherry Thomas Okay, okay. Maybe I'm not so much 'over' romance novels as I am far more solidified in authors-I-like and authors-I-don't. Sherry Thomas, she of the utterly delightful-to-me [b:Delicious], is an author-I-like. Not perfect, but a whipcracking fun read. Frothy house parties! Spies and intrigue! That glorious fictional moment of escaping wretchedness into a clean, well-fed, elegantly decorated wonderland, complete with gardens! Microscopically more gritty than your average historical romance, which gives the shiny romance-novel-setting a soupcon of reality in a way that I thoroughly enjoy!

I also very much enjoyed the heroine's ruthless practicality when it came to the contemplation of marriage. I like the contrast between what marriage likely meant in the context of the time place and the frothy romance. I like it when the practical, loveless contemplation of the contract of marriage is not portrayed as a bad thing (caused by grasping, greedy womenfolk!), but an unfortunate necessity. I like that contrasted against the happily ever after our hero and heroine manage to scrape out.

What keeps this book from the sheer delight of Delicious, though, is the double-standard and boneheadedness of the hero. He wants an anonymous, perfect lady! Real ladies are confusing and icky, because they have external motivations! He can be a devious manipulator, but heaven forbid a woman do the same! ::facepalm::

I did love the bits where they were both cranking up the obliviousness to eleven and enjoying each other's competence without saying a word.

Thought the secondary romance was sweet but almost entirely unconnected with the main storyline.