Thursday, January 24, 2019

[Mrs. Y Reviews] Amaryllis by Joyce Proell

Book Cover Via
Romance novels can be very entertaining, and I enjoy the genre for many reasons, chief among them the fun of shenanigans that only seem to happen in romance novels. I find that the Historical fiction romance novels not only are fun but they have a lot of things that make me want to research the period and I've learned a lot from this motivation. I especially am a big fan of any of the ones having to do with sailing, because I love the idea of sea swept chaos with some heart. Want to know more about what I’m raving over? Well, climb up the gangplank, don’t hide in a box, and whatever you do, stay away from guys who wear ostrich feathers in their hats, they are far too grandiose to take things seriously for your dad. It’s time to review "Amaryllis" by Joyce Proell. 

Joyce Proell contacted me on my blog form and asked me to do an honest review, and she was kind enough to send me a free mobi copy of her book to do this very honest review. I want to thank her for such a treat. If you're going to pick up “Amaryllis” it’s on Amazon for $5.99 as of writing this review.

For this part of the review, let’s go into my first impressions of "Amaryllis." This is a historical fiction romance novel, and the cover for me was lovely. It wasn’t some muscle clad Fabio barely containing his breeches; it was a reasonable looking man and a more than sensible-looking woman in an embrace. I enjoyed that. I love when things can be intimate and romantic without the overtness.

As I opened up "Amaryllis," I found the first twelve chapters to be riveting and grabbing my attention. From the hook onward, it was a fantastic concept and a premise for why two people should be together. No spoilers, but I liked this take on the idea of close quarters for reasons trope that often happens in Romance novels. This was a bit different, and there were real-world stakes involved, and I also enjoyed it from a historical aspect.

I'm going to sail into my favorite part of "Amaryllis" (get it? Sail? No? Darn). My favorite part of the book was the active element of historical facts that were contained in this fictional narrative. The book is set during the American Revolutionary War, and I am a bit of a history nerd, so this is in my wheelhouse. Anything involving how the thirteen colonies moved toward unification is an interesting topic in my historical enjoyment log.  I enjoyed that there was a reference to the rarely discussed prison ship system, how there was a real-world image of what it was like to have officers and troops occupying a person’s home without permission, and other actual references to that time. The references made the romance part of the book more realistic and far more enjoyable to me as a reader.

For this part of the review let’s go into a couple of criticisms about "Amaryllis." My first is going into the “Cliche much” category. Now, generally, for a romance novel to hit this category of criticisms from me, it’s because of some very poorly done love triangle aspect. That’s not the case here. The issue I have is that the antagonist specifically was far too easily thwarted and slightly weak in my opinion. There wasn’t enough trouble that could have been caused. That said, there is a rather horrible scene where this antagonist is particularly abusive to the main character, but I felt it ended a bit too cleanly. That’ is where the cliche comes in, and it’s almost too convenient for a climatic ending because of the antagonist so that by the end of the book the tension that the antagonist caused seemed to be swept under a rug. This plot issue was addressed in the book, but it was very convenient.

“Wow Mrs. Y, that’s vague!” you might be saying. You’re right, that’s a vague bunch of words there. If you read the book and then re-read this criticism, it might make more sense to you. I’m happy to talk about this part with anyone who reads "Amaryllis." It’s the first time one of my criticisms is more about the way a trope became a cliche and less about the structure of the actual novel.

Using that as a segway though, let’s talk about the highlights of "Amaryllis" that I truly enjoyed. The first being, the grammar, spelling, margins, spacing, line work, and word placement were divine. I mean honestly, Amaryllis was edited so beautifully, it could be a lace doily. It’s flourished in beautiful ways, it has such clean lines and never once did my eyes ache. "Amaryllis" was a joy to read from purely a reading perspective.

My next positive mark about "Amaryllis," I loved the captain of this story. I loved how realistic that man came across, and I enjoyed that he had ideas that were on point for not only his purpose in the story but also to move the plot in and out of the reality of war and the romance. The character is gruff, and he has a lot of bad to him, but he’s essential to the plot, and he moves it well.

Going to my biggest compliment, not only was "Amaryllis" a complete and whole story, it was done so well that it’s a rousing stand alone. I genuinely love an excellent position alone book when it’s expertly done. Everything about the plotline moves like a dream, and the markers and arcs for all of the primary characters move well. The father character, for example, is a complicated character, and throughout the book, I truly enjoyed how he was so crucial to the story and how his beliefs molded the changes in the narrative. The same with the maid, she was a wonderful character, and I enjoyed it. But mostly, this whole story would not be possible without the work that was put in to transport the reader to revolutionary war colonial America. That in and of itself is a huge plus to this story and enjoyable.


"Amaryllis" was a fantastic book, so given all of my scoring, it is a 91/100 which is a 5-star review on Goodreads and Amazon. If you want some historical romance to go with your coffee, this is the book to read. I want to thank Joyce Proell again for allowing me to read and review her book, and I hope you all have a beautiful day!