This book makes me feel like this:
Elisabeth Lane and I discussed it over at the AAR blog fairly recently:
AJH: I should probably warn you, I’m going to be useless for this. I have literally nothing to say about this book that isn’t ‘omg I loved that’.
Elisabeth: Well, this is going to be a short review then since I felt much the same way. So…SQUEE. See you next month?
AJH: Maybe can just replace ourselves with a set of wildly joyous reaction gifs?
Elisabeth: Honestly, I think that’s a fabulous idea. There’s only so many ways to say THIS BOOK WAS AWESOME, after all.
AJH: It was, however, so awesome that I’m kind of desperate to talk (gush/squee/exclaim) about it. I mean, I read a lot of historicals and it was such a breath of fresh air, to be away from the usual sorts of settings and situations. And, don’t get me wrong, I love me some slutty Duke and some Almack waltzing scandal, but I really appreciated the political focus, the small town environment, and the fact that the book is largely about middle class people with what felt to me like very human, recognisable problems. Problems like how to get on with your life when you’re a widow. What to do when your teenage sister gets pregnant. How to keep your sweet shop running when you don’t have much money. And so on.
Elisabeth: I’ve been reading historical romances for so long that a lot of them have started to blur together. Not that I don’t also love the ballrooms of Mayfair, but Sweet Disorder was powerfully original. And also so full of heart. Not just in the romance between the hero and the heroine, but in the community’s struggles, family issues and needing to find a way to get along in the world with all the scars of the past.
AJH: Yes, heart is exactly right. I loved the way pretty much every single character you meet is developed and nuanced and written with such understanding and compassion. Even the people who behave less than well. It’s essentially an arranged marriage plot and it could have been so easy to make Phoebe’s alternative choices unpleasant in some way, but they’re both decent men, who just happen to be wildly unsuitable for her. Moon because he’s kind of intimidated by her and the Tory guy, Mr Fairclough, who is just a little bit too patriarchal, although he’s compelling to her in other ways.
Elisabeth: It’s funny actually. I liked Mr. Moon much, much better as a hero than Nick, but that’s, well, for me. For Phoebe, he’s kind of a disaster. He doesn’t read (she’s a writer) and she doesn’t like sweets (he’s a baker), but I loved his down-to-earth wisdom and, of course, his bakery. I was very excited when Rose Lerner mentioned on Twitter recently that he’s going to get his own novella. But Nick had his good points.
AJH: Moon would make a wonderful (and unusual) hero. I can’t wait to see what she does with him. Personally speaking, Fairclough is more my type — tough but kind Tory mill owner from Th’ North. Oh my. And how completely hilarious is it that we’re debating the romantic possibilities of the guys the heroine didn’t want?
Read the rest of it over here