Love Across the Ocean
by Ellynore Seybold
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Page Count: 158
Release Date: August 3, 2016
Format: Kindle ARC
How got: ARC copy from NetGalley for free
First attention getter: the pretty cover
Charlotte Mesinger is willing to do almost anything to escape the beatings in the home where she grew up. When she spies an advertisement for a wife to help care for three children, she sees it as an answer to her prayers, even though it means going to America and forgetting the young man she's been seeing.
When Friedrich Haupt's wife dies giving birth to their third child and her parents insist he must hand over the children to them, he is frantic. A customer in his jewelry shop suggests going to America, and another offers to buy the establishment. But convention forbids a woman living in his household without marriage, for whatever reason, and he places the ad, ready to give the woman her freedom after a year.
With these desperate situations resolved, Charlotte and Friedrich still have many secrets...
Star Rating - none as DNF-ed @ 30% (put 2 on Amazon as had to put something)
I really tried to like this book; my expectations were high as it involved a trope that is a favorite of mine. I am also partial to immigration stories. However, and this is a big however, this book has so many issues that it has reached the point of not being enjoyable. After 30%, I have to declare this book a DNF.
The premise of this romance is strong initially. An arranged marriage to protect a family and build a new life makes for intriguing reading. I also grew to like Friedrich. He's a caring, considerate man whose main focus in life is to protect his children and build a new life for them after a tragic circumstance.
With a great starting premise and relatable main hero, one would think this romance had a strong foundation. However, these two points were the only good ones in all of the part that I read.
The first offender was Charlotte, our main heroine. She is far, far too perfect. She is innocent, beautiful, angelic, and good. I grew to hate her, even though I only read 30% of this book. I can only imagine the depth my hate would have reached if I had tried to force myself to finish.
Next is the premise. What started out as an intriguing idea quickly moved into absurd territory. The background with Friedrich’s in-laws and the intricacies of family law in Germany seems silly to me; nothing about that seemed real. I'm not an expert on 19th century German law so maybe the author had some grounding in fact. Yet, it wasn't portrayed on the page well enough to be believable to this reader.
The writing style didn't work for me as well. The author did have some good descriptive passages. I got a clear picture in my head of the scene the author was trying to set. Yet, the way she chose to frame the writing seemed simplistic. Choppy dialogue paragraphs and short sentence structure made this a hard read, grammar-wise.
My next point of contention is probably a small one for other readers. It just bugs me more, because I like things to have a strong historical background, even my historical romances. The author was very ambiguous about her historical setting. I got the vague impression it was the 19th century with the immigration to America storyline and some of the background details. However, the author chose to leave the reader guessing on a more specific time frame. Whether this was in the 1830s, 1850s, or the 1870s, the reader could only guess. But like I said, this is a personal bone of contention. It may not bug another reader, so take this paragraph with a grain of salt.
What started out as a highly anticipated historical romance turned into a big disappointment for this reader. Good bones seemed to be in the offering in the beginning. Yet, bad characterizations, an absurd premise, a flaky writing style, and vague historical details quickly killed this bird for me. I'm not sure I could recommend this book to anyone. I feel it could do with a good edit and a good going over by the author.
Note: Book received for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.