Friday, September 4, 2015

REVIEW: The Endearment by LaVyrle Spencer

The Endearment
by LaVyrle Spencer

Publisher: Pocket Books
Page Count: 308
Release Date: March 1, 1982
Format: Mass Market Paperback

How got: personal library; via BookMooch

First attention getter: synopsis and author

Synopsis:

From GoodReads:

FROM THE STREETS OF 19th-CENTURY BOSTON TO THE HARSH FRONTIER--SHE WOVE A WEB OF DECEPTION TO ENSNARE HER MAN!

Lovely, fiery tempered Anna Reardon was forced to lie to get out of the street urchin's life that shamed her ... to become Karl Lindstrom's mail-order bride in the beautiful, treacherous Minnesota wilderness.

Karl forgave Anna for her deceptions--but there was still one shameful, burning secret that she had to hide from him, knowing its revelation would destroy the love that had become her very life!

My Thoughts:

Star Rating - 4

While not my favorite work by Spencer, I still enjoyed this volume immensely. Her characters are rich, her setting detailed, and the relationship sweet.

I liked how detailed Spencer got with Karl’s Swedish background and his love of his rugged home. I got a real sense for how comfortable he felt in this wild land and how dedicated he was to building a home for himself and a family. His strong sense of family and personal sense of honor also defined who he was and shaped how he viewed and interacted with the world.

Annie and James, in contrast, come from a much different life and environment. What they had to do to survive and endure comes through with sad, vibrant detail. Annie, especially, made my heart ache. So much trauma and pain scarred her ability to trust and her self-image. How that affected her relationship with Karl really became the soul of the book and main relationship.

The romance in this book was as sweet and endearing as Spencer’s previous works. The main lead’s opposing backgrounds made for an interesting blend. They both balance each other out and provide something the other needs. Karl gave Annie and James a new home and opportunity in life. Annie mellowed Karl out and made him see that there are other walks of life, more trauma in the world than he may have experienced.

The only fault I can find does irritate me a ton, so it seems to have more weight than it would for someone else. At times, Karl’s sense of honor and right went over the boundaries of such, going into self-righteous territory. Holier-than-though could be used to describe his actions and attitudes towards Annie and her situation.

Now she does hide much and does lie to him more than once. So a bit of distrust and his attitude could be explained. But, a bit more understanding after he learns her full story would have helped to save his characterization for me. From other reviews I’ve come across, I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Great characters, story, and romance make this a great historical romance. Even though the main male lead can be overbearing in his judgment at times, I still liked him and rooted for him. So still a solid 4 stars and recommended for lovers of historical fiction and of Spencer’s books, especially.

4 comments:

  1. I'm a bit disappointed that you didn't love Karl and Anna's story as much as I did (it's one of my all-time favorites), but I could see how you felt that Karl sported a holier-than-thou attitude. I would like to point out, however, that Karl in some ways was an innocent like Anna and had never been exposed to the ugly side of life as she had. To him, life was very black or white, with a very solid and supportive family life. So, of course, he was going to compare Anna to his high standard. In any case, Lavyrle Spencer is one of the best for writing deeply emotional and satisfying romances.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess I can see where Karl was coming from when you put it that way. At least by the end, his eyes were a bit more opened and he still wasn't sporting that black/white outlook.

      I will completely agree, though, that Spencer knows how to write emotional and satisfying romances. Every one of hers I've read so far has satisfied on that score. :)

      Delete
  2. I haven't read a LaVyrle Spencer book for a few years and I really would like to read one again. We read a few for a book club I'm a part of and I really enjoyed them. I'll have to pick this one up. What is your favorite one of her novels?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I only recently discovered her this year. I've already four works by her so far and pretty much love most of what I read of hers. My fav would still have to be the first of hers I read, Morning Glory. It's a beautiful blend of heart wrenching emotion, building up of a family, and great historical detail. I loved seeing two such traumatized individuals come together to create a strong family and fight the odds together. Definitely recommend that one! :)

      Delete