June Love

June Love - Karla Hocker I'm saddened and disappointed to have to award this book only one star. The author, Karla Hocker, wrote one of the first romance novels I ever read (and what remains one of my favorite traditional Regencies), The Devilish Marquis. Unfortunately, "June Love" just is not romantic, and I just didn't like it. It reads too much like a history lesson, even if it is mostly fictional.

The hero, Viscount Stanmore, is a beta hero, which in and of itself isn't a turn off for me - I quite like them, in fact; the lack of romance between the hero and heroine is.

As stated in the blurb (copied below), in this story, Stanmore has engaged the services of the heroine, "Miss Thea Stone," to investigate his family history and the claims that his family is descended from the royal Stuart line back in the 1600s. What the blurb does not state, unfortunately, is that the 1600s and the family intrigue take precedence over the supposed development of Stanmore and Thea's "love."

Indeed, in the untangling of the hero's family history, not to mention the political intrigue that requires "Miss Stone" to be placed in quotes (as she is hiding her identity for reasons that come to light later in the story), so much gets lost in the hero and heroine's relationship that we are left wondering how they went from a working relationship to declaring their love for each other.

*** Possible spoilers in this paragraph *** In fact, they declare their love for each other LITERALLY halfway through the book (around page 150 out of 300+ pages), which leaves not much to the tension and drama because you KNOW they'll be together at the end of the book. Instead, I felt like I was wading through pages and pages of prose about historical events and these "eerie" parallels between history and the present just so that I could see what their "happily ever after" would come about.***END SPOILERS***

The way the story is written leaves not much time for the relationship to unfold, and, in fact, there is little to no tension in the relationship itself. There is no "will they or won't they?" back and forth. After one too many prose passages about historical events (which read too much like a history text), I ended up skimming through the second half of the book in hopes of coming to a soaring conclusion (it wasn't).

I commend the author for her research and attention to detail. This book is clearly well-written. That said, it should have been a historical fiction book, not a romance.