As a rule, I like romance. I enjoy the whole boy meets girl and the fall in love thing. So, when I came across a book styled as a romance mystery with intrigue, séances, jewel thieves and more, I jumped for it. (It was old enough that I didn’t have to worry about the romantic content.)
I couldn’t have been more disappointed. Well, OK, I could, but The Second Latchkey wasn’t all it was billed to be.
Let me be fair, it wasn’t a bad book and I can see why it was popular in its day, but it just wasn’t for me. The story revolves around a girl named Annesley, a browbeaten young woman who is a personal assistant/maid to a small-minded verbally abusive old cow. Desperate for change, Annesley answers an advertisement for a gentleman seeking a wife, because anything has to be better than this. And so the plot thickens….
There were several points that I disliked about the book. First, it really annoyed me when the first chapter told of Annesley going to do something. She was trying to get the courage to do it, but of course, the authors did not tell us what that thing was. Argg, that’s annoying. Second, there were several swear words.
What I considered the worst part (and it won’t necessarily bother anyone else) was the focus on Annesley’s emotions and feelings. Think Rebecca. Generally, the focus was passable when Annesley was reacting to a moving plot. At the end though, the plot almost stalls and the last few chapters focus on how she feels and her reactions to life around her.
The idea of the plot wasn’t too bad though. In the early twentieth century, a desperate young woman finds a man in need and marries him. Turns out the young man has wealth and he begins to take Annesley up through the social classes. There are burglaries and a fortune teller to mix things up a bit. Plenty of jewels and parties fill the story. But mostly, this is a story of love and redemption. Interestingly, the story covers about 15 months of their lives and Annesley goes from the pit to the palace to the pit in those 15 months.
If you enjoy romance, then pick this one up, but it’s probably not for most guys.