Thoughts After Reading:
I have heard high praise for Barbara Metzger’s unique approach in her work A Loyal Companion, so I figured it was about time I gave it a try. It turns out I should saved myself the effort, because A Loyal Companion joins the select few novels by Metzger I hold in great dislike. I give Metzger full marks for trying to incorporate an unusual hero and a new type of protagonist – the heroine’s dog – but that’s about the only good thing I can say about it. The romance was subpar at best. The hero was not even introduced until after a full third of the novel, and the simplistic – albeit sweet – romance frequently took a backseat to the external conflict. Without wasting too much of my time explaining things, the plot consisted of large stretches of uninteresting detail with only the occasional tidbit of romance development or excitement. Similarly, I hated that so much of the narration was spent from the dog’s perspective. It was endearing the first time the dog started spouting philosophy and relaying his conversation with the cat. But the tenth or fifteen time the plot was brought to a grinding halt in order to listen to a dog ramble on and on about odd human mannerisms, I almost skipped the canine-related dialogue completely. A personal pet peeve was how many references the book made about affairs. I did not enjoy reading that the heroine’s “loving” father had a mistress before his wife died, or how many cheating spouses in the ton were coupling in various bedrooms at the heroine’s come-out party, or even that some of the servants would sleep with anyone they could find. It wasn’t funny, and it wasn’t appealing. By the time the storyline began to drag for the last twenty percent of the book –meandering until the prerequisite kidnapping and rescue – I was quite ready to toss the book in the rubbish bin.