So, as a newbie to romance novels, I am little by little working my way through the new releases and the “classics” of the genre as well. Something Wonderful is a beloved romance novel and JM is hailed as The Queen by many readers. Did I like Something Wonderful? Yes, I did. But did I also think it was a bit too much? Yes, I certainly did. So much so, that I didn’t think I could write a proper review because I need to make fun. I need to poke at things that were so over the top, I can’t control myself. Because of that, we thought of this new feature called Smugglers Do The Classics for those instances where we feel the urge to write more than a review, we feel the need to make a parody. So this is a warning!
1) There will be spoilers in this post
2) Even though I liked the book and I respect JM immensely for what she has done for the genre and I also respect the readers who think this is one of the best romance novels out there, I WILL BE MAKING FUN OF IT.
3) I felt a huge range of emotions whilst reading this book and to my understanding, images speak loudly than a 1000 words so I will be using JackFaces because no one can convey emotions better than Jack Shephard, from Lost. Fans of Matthew Fox, be warned: we mean no harm or offense to the actor Matthew Fox. We simply can not resit his character on LOST, Jack Shephard, and his Jackfaces. All caps are courtesy of Lost-Media.com.
You have been warned!!!
Title: Something Wonderful
Author: Judith Mcnaught
This book was a complete rollercoaster that left me, befuddled, happy, sad, hurt, befuddled, happy and sad all over again. And the tears? Holy crap, I was feeling dehydrated at the end of it.
First let me say that I have read two JM’s books so far. One was Whitney, My Love which I hated with the force of a thousand storms (even though I loved parts of it. I think my intense hatred comes from the fact that my enjoyment of that book was marred by the many abusive actions coming from the “hero”. I hear the new, edited version is more politically correct) and the other was A Kingdom of Dreams which is possibly my favourite medieval novel ever. I love that book with the force of a thousand sunshines.
So what is it all about? Bear with me cause this is going to be looooong.
The book opens and it is a sort of a prologue where we learn that Jordan, our hero, is 18 years old and already a jaded cynic. In bed with his lover, a much older, married woman, he is by the window when he sees his father coming out of the bushes (hee) with his recent lover right after his mother comes out of another bush with her lover, who turns out to be the husband of Jordan’s lover.
Phew. I am tired already and it’s only the freaking prologue. He doesn’t have a good opinion of women, that one, oh no. At that same point, we learn about Alexandra, a 13 year old girl who lives in a small cottage with her bookish grandpa and her mama and whose father, whom she worships, lives in London and visits twice a year.
We jump to a few years later and now Jordan is 27, the current Duke of Hawthorne and Alex is….17.
Jordan on the other hand, who is rich, famous, handsome and has everything going for him is world-weary, restrained, guarded and cold. He is also in danger right now.
Someone is trying to rob him by an inn near Alex’s Village. Alex, who at that moment was coming back from her friend’s birthday party-tournament thing and get this, was dressed in fully medieval armour rushes to help Jordan and ends up killing one of the bandits. She faints and Jordan, who thinks she is a young boy, takes her to the nearest inn and the two spend a good half an hour alone in a room waiting for help and by the time Jordan figures out she is a young lady, it is already too late, scandal had fallen upon them and Alex is ruined. Her mother takes her to Jordan’s estate and threatens with going public with the story of her daughter’s ruin in front of the dowager Duchess and Jordan who was completely amused by Alex’s quips and joie de vivre and also feels he owns his life to her, decides they have no choice but to marry. He secretly plans though, to carry on living as he always did, to keep his mistress and send Alex to a godforsaken part of the country pretty much like her own father did to her mother. Alex, knowing that they could never fit , tells him straight away why they can’t possibly marry. But Jordan knows they have no choice and he tries to seduce her into accepting him and there is a wonderful first kiss when the seducer becomes the seduced.
They marry in a rush and although Jordan wanted to wait a couple of years before consummating the marriage he realises he can’t fight his lust and their first time is at same time hilarious (for Alex has no clue on what is supposed to happen) , hot, sweet and tender – Jordan feels the first signs of something growing in his heart right there and then. But before they can do much, only a couple of days later and right before they are to leave on a short honeymoon, Jordan disappears. Alex, who already luuurvs him (she thinks he is gentle, honourable and sweet, poor Alex)is devastated at the loss of him and after a few days, everyone believes he is dead. That moment when acceptance hits both Alex and Jordan’s Grandmother, the duchess, is stuff for a Hollywood (alright, make it Bollywood) movies. It was heartbreaking.
But Jordan is not in heaven , as you may have guessed. Oh nooooooooo. He is in hell aka a French dungeon where he is kept prisoner and tortured. But then he escapes.
because this is so like a soap! The turns and twists and then Jordan has to learn to trust his wife, and she has to learn to love him again and they try and try but someone is still trying to kill Jordan and he thinks she is involved and voila, Le Big Misunderstanding and until things are completely cleared, I am sitting by the edge of the seat , being furious at Jordan for hurting Alex until finally, finally we reach The End. Woonza!
My emotions were completely engaged and I felt my innards turn and turn and hurt along Alex’s. Oh the poor girl went through so much. There are small scenes that were so pungent and poignant: like Alex standing in front of Jordan’s portrait and talking to him. Or how her father, her miserable father has given her a pendant made of tin which she treasured until she learnt that his other daughter with his other wife, had earned one made of gold; or how her one treasure was her grandfather’s watch, which she presented to Jordan twice, and twice he did not care for it. OH, At points I wanted to wring Jordan’s neck!
Twice I bawled like a baby: when they think Jordan is dead and the Duchess and Alex cry together and in the end with one of the best grovelling scenes in the history of mankind: when Alex lies in the throes of death and Jordan breaks down beautifully begging her to not leave him when he finally, FINALLY realises what she means to him? That was really, something wonderful.
Rating: 6, Good. But I can see how other readers would give this a 10.