I love Diana Norman. She cannot write fast enough for me. I’ve paid good money to get her back list as she is just an awesome writer/storyteller. A Catch of Consequence by Diana Norman was a riveting read for the first 1/3rd of the book and then the story kinda looses it’s steam towards the end for me. The story is broken down into three parts.
A tavern-keeper pays a high price for refusing to let a British aristocrat drown. This is the time of rebellion against the British government and when the Patriots burn her home, she must marry the Englishman and return to his home. However, Makepeace finds London as unforgiving as Boston.
Part I: Boston
In part one of the book, we are introduced to Makepeace Burke. An independent woman running a successful tavern called the Roaring Meg in Boston. When we meet her, it is during a time of unrest. Many of the Americans are upset at the British taxation and are rebelling. Makepeace’s tavern is a haven for their meetings. Makepeace is also affected by the taxation and is clearly on their side however, she doesn’t agree with the violence. Sam Adams is seen as a hero who is the leader of the American rebellion against British rule and often visits The Roaring Meg. It is by chance that Makepeace sees a man floating in the water. She clearly suspects that he is the victim of one of her patrons and decides to quietly fish him out. She soon realizes that he is British and has to hide him until he is well enough to leave. Meanwhile, as the rebels continue to get restless and there is fear of even more violence, Makepeace starts to get concerned for her safety and that of the British officer she’s fished out of the sea. Events do come to an head that makes Makepeace along with her brother Aaron and her friends Betty and Josh, run for their lives. The man she fishes out of the sea is none other than Phillip Dapifer.
Ms. Norman can write some of the best heroes and Dapifer is yet another one. It seems that Dapifer had come to the American colonies to obtain a divorce and while out on a evening stroll, he is attacked by the rebels and thrown into the sea. He is grateful to Makepeace for saving his life. When certain events take place that makes him realize how much of a threat he was for her business and to her life, he takes Makespeace to London. It is while they are on-board Lord Percy that Makepeace and Phillip or “Pip” fall in love and marry. It is one of my favorite moments in the book. This part of the book was riveting. I loved every single scene here and the romantic moments between Makepeace and Dapifer were exquisite. My grade: A.
Part II: London
London seems intimidating to our newcomers. Makepeace, now Lady Dapifer awaits her future never realizing the dreadful turn that it takes. Once they arrive as Pip’s London home, Makepeace has a nasty confrontation with the first Lady Dapifer, Catty Dapifer. Catty makes things difficult by causing a scene before being summarily dismissed from the Dapifer home. Uncomfortable and angry, Makepeace tries to adapt to her new life and she does, however, withstanding some opposition from the first Lady Dapifer. Meanwhile, Phillip is distressed to learn that his first wife is suing him for aggravated adultery and charges him with bigamy. Affronted, Makepeace tries to win peace between herself and Pip and Catty and her current escort, Conyer’s but they won’t have none of that. In fact, Catty and Conyers feed the scandal sheets daily of their troubles. Makepeace does confront Catty but things turn downhill for the worst. Another riveting read here, my grade A.
Part III: Newcastle
Here we see Makepeace struggle to come to terms with previous events. She and her daughter Philippa, along with Aaron, Betty and Josh, join a traveling theatre group and eventually move to Raby, Northumberland to a property owned by Makepeace that was transferred to her from a gambling debt. They move there and go into the business of coal mining under the watchful eye of Andra Hedly. Meanwhile, Makepeace eventually comes up for air and seeks only to avenge herself on Catty and Conyers. She is single-mindedly determined to banish them. Kill them. Strangle them. Her need for revenge impacts her life greatly and those around her.
This part of the story lacked the fast paced excitement of the first part of the book. What bothered me was the heavy brogue of Andra’s tongue. I couldn’t understand half of what he said most of the time. I am not a fan of accents. Another thing was the story at this point was somewhat predictable. I knew where she was headed and was bored with it. I could put the book down at this point in the story and wouldn’t care to pick it back up again. I was sorely disappointed to see the pacing and the story go downhill. The magic of the first two parts of the book just fizzled out towards the end. This book is not a romance novel and I didn’t expect it to be so that’s not why I’m disappointed . Another thing is that this is about one woman’s life and how it changes due to consequences of her life and decisions. It was a riveting read to me overall. I loved reading Makepeace Burke’s story.
The underlying theme thus far about Norman’s books is the heroine and this from someone who is more drawn to the hero but Norman’s heroines take center stage. I so loved Penitence Hurd from The Vizard Mask and her story was captivating throughout all five parts of the novel. Here, A Catch of Consequence broke down towards the last 1/4th of the book to me but overall, still a great read. . Anyway I highly recommend this book but since I’ve read some of her back list, The Vizard Mask, is still my favorite. The Vizard Mask is the book to beat and I will compare all of her past and present books to it.
Edited to add: I am thrilled to see that she has another book coming out soon, titled The Sparks Fly Upward. Release date is September 5, 2006. I’ve been searching the Internet trying to find out more info on the book with zero luck. It is set to release here in the U.S. as well as the U.K. Anyway, I’m thrilled she’s releasing another because seems to crank them out one every two years.
[tags]Diana Norman, Historical Fiction, A Catch of Consequence[/tags]