Sourcebooks Casablanca (5 March 2013) Paperback / Ebook: 352 pages
Historical / Paranormal Romance
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Jamie Marten is a modern gamer girl thrown into the past by a magic portal. Stuck in a time where communication is more face-to-face than FaceTime, Jamie must learn how to fit in if she ever wants to get home. However, as she gets to know Micah Axelby, her gracious host, going home may be the last thing on her mind.
I can’t tell you how much I wanted to read this book – it sounded like exactly the type of thing I enjoy. The nerdy, slightly socially inept girl goes back to a time where social niceties are the be-all and end-all, and meets her very own Mr Darcy type character. There was so much opportunity in this novel, but despite enjoying it, I just don’t think Gina Lamm took advantage of them all.
It was a very promising start – after a little bit of an introduction into Jamie’s life, we jump pretty much straight into the action. She grabs the handle of a bureau while sorting out a storage unit in order to make some money, and pooof – there she is in 1816. Lamm quickly got some laughs in, as Micah immediately assumes that Jamie is a courtesan come to tempt him and takes it completely in his stride, as though it happens to him all the time. I think there more scope for humour in this book, with all the misunderstandings that are bound to come from being 200 years apart. Apart from some rather unladylike swearing on Jamie’s behalf – one instance of which I did particularly enjoy -
“That’s me.” Jamie said glumly (…) “Luckiest bitch alive”
humour just wasn’t utilised like it could have been.
As a character, Jamie manages to carry her modernity awkwardly around with her in 1816 with very little being said about the matter. On her few meetings with Micah’s acquaintances first names are used without regards for the social niceties. I can see why Jamie would act this way, as a modern character, and I feel that it could have been a plot point but it was just let go, by and large. Other than that, there is not a lot of characterisation going on – Jamie still refers sporadically to her love for technology, and recreates a computer set up for Micah to experience, but she doesn’t seem to miss it as much as she might considering her previous dependence on it – although considering she was recovering from break up at the beginning of the novel, this might well have given her the impetus she needed to get out and away from the computer. In a way, Micah’s characterisation is just as scanty – he thinks of himself as a noble gentleman, and that’s supposedly what spurs his actions, although he doesn’t act very nobly at points throughout the novel. Other than that we know very little about him, except that there is some scandal surrounding him due to an ex-lover’s death.
In fact, there isn’t a lot to say about Jamie and Micah’s interaction altogether – they barely tolerate each other at first, and then suddenly Jamie is entertaining the notion that she might love him, egged on by Mrs Knightsbridge – housekeeper, caretaker, woman of mystery. Jamie then begins making the effort to spend more time with Micah and a relationship does evolve, although where the initial spark comes from isn’t really apparent – the two have (obviously) very little in common. She ‘takes’ Micah out on a modern date including pizza, which I thought was a really nice idea and foreshadows the ending of the novel, but I think there could definitely have been a fuller picture painted of life in 1816.
The plot itself is a little hard to stomach – even for a novel about time travel. The mysterious Mrs Knightsbridge has a hand in the occurrences, as we find out relatively early on in the story, but this never really comes to fruition – partly because the ending is a little rushed. Even the allusions to her involvement throughout the story are quite vague and arbitrary. The author has obviously realised that there needs to be some sort of explanation for Jamie whizzing back in time, but I don’t think it was developed quite far enough and it fell by the wayside at times despite it being a pretty large part of the story. There is a ‘suspense’ storyline which finds Jamie in danger from an ‘unkown’ source and sees our heroine being fairly TSTL. However, although this does drive the romance plot along towards its conclusion, there isn’t much of a mystery and one of Micah’s less noble moments happens as a result.
All in all, The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl was an enjoyable book, but it definitely had its flaws. Any disappointment was partially my own fault as I had such high expectations. As a fun and entertaining light read it ticks all the right boxes, but I expected a little more substance with regards to the cultural differences of Jamie and Micah.