Thoughts After Reading:
I've read some excellent traditional romances by Allison Lane in the past, so when I found another one of her novels with a seemingly interesting storyline - I eagerly gave it a try. Alas, I was destined for disappointment. Lane's Double Deceit started out well, but quickly became the worst traditional I've read in months. There's just so much wrong with this book, I'm going to jump straight to my complaints ;).
Let's start with romance aspect of the book. Lane very much ignores the main adage of writing: "show, don't tell." There's a few scenes that demonstrates the hero's and heroine's fellow love of archaeology, and a few references to the characters' lust of each other, but that's about it. The main idea that the characters are falling in love with each other stems from their thoughts and angsty feelings, rather than any actions of the characters shown throughout the plot. Then there's the storyline. The whole premise is convoluted and rather ridiculous, but I tried to go with it. Basically, the heroine's father cheats to win an estate title from hero's father and put it into the heroine's dowry. So both characters are considering a marriage of convenience to the other: the hero, because he wants to provide a good home for his mother by getting the estate back and the heroine because she feels responsible for her sad excuse of a father. Similarly, both protagonists decide to switch identities with their friends: the hero, because he has a reputation as a rake and wastrel that is enormously exaggerated, and the heroine because she don't want to get compromised into marriage before she's had a chance to get out the lay of the land. The nicest thing I can say about the novel is that it started out pretty well. Although silly, it was initially rather entertaining and even caused me to laugh once or twice. Very quickly, however, things started going downhill. The storyline comes to a standstill as the hero and heroine try to evaluate the wrong person. Both are regretful of starting the deceit, but neither can summon up the courage to explain everything. The handful of scenes between the hero and heroine are filled with discussion about a particular archaeological find. Which may have added veracity to the idea of them sharing an interest, but was also boring as hell to read about. As the book got closer to the end, I thought things were going to be cleared up with a clear expression of the hero's love and was ready to give the book a two or three star rating. But nope, that was asking too much of this novel. Instead, the last fifteen percent of the story was filled with a huge, ridiculous fight and at least a month of moping. I felt a grim satisfaction when the final resolution to the romance plot was as ridiculous as I expected.
I'm not sure what happened, but Double Deceit was certainly not one of Allison Lane's better regencies. The second to last sentence of the book was "Thank God," and it mirrored my thoughts exactly as I finished the final page of this ridiculous novel.