Sunday, April 20, 2014

Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards by Kit Brennan

Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the SpaniardsLola Montez…a woman who is reputed to have been a spy, a dancer, and seductress. This is not the first story I’ve read that was inspired by her. Though I enjoyed this historical romp laced with humor and gasp-out-loud moments, if I were to compare this to An Invitation to Dance by Marion Urch , I’d find it sorely lacking.

It’s not that it’s not entertaining—it is, and I even learned stuff from it about the situation in Spain during this time and the Royal house and Prime Minister… The problem is I never grew terribly fond of this version of Lola. She’s funny, witty, but I fail to see how she’s independent or strong. She does one stupid thing after another. She is capable of getting herself out of bad scrapes, but she gets herself into them in the first place. I mean, seriously, after all she’s been through—having those she loves murdered, being robbed, stalked, etc, how dumb do you have to be to set yourself up with a crap-ton of publicity and make yourself a huge public spectacle, all the while using a name that your would-be killer knows? And you know he’s alive… How dumb do you have to be?

And she does nothing remarkable, unless you consider the fact she manages learn fluent Spanish in just three weeks. (Really?) She just sleeps with men and dances. And runs away from things. Though I did feel bad for her when everyone was so intent on blaming her for the mission’s failure. It wasn’t her fault.

My other complaint is that her characterization was somewhat off at times. Lola is feisty, I’ll give her that, but she lets some horrid woman and her daughter just waltz into her room and take her dresses and jewelry…and yet just days later, this same Lola challenges Dumas to a duel? Sometimes she’s the spunky Lola we expect; other times it’s like WHERE THE HECK IS LOLA?

But it wasn’t all bad. The Royal family, especially Aunt Carlota, were exceptionally amusing and there were many LOL moments throughout the story. These moments kept me reading even when at times I grew tired of Lola’s bad decisions and just wanted the story to end. It was also interesting learning about a dance called the Tarantuala. Overall, it was also very fast-paced with conspiracies, theater life, masked balls, fine horses, tickling mustaches, politics, executions… I think I’d have loved it if I had liked Lola more.

I plan to read book two, because I do feel this heroine has potential. If she can just stand on her own two feet a while, without depending on a man, and wise up a bit, I can see this series doing great things.

They’re all rogering their relatives, I thought, with each others’ blessing!

The ability to barefacedly throw an accusation back at your accuser seems a necessary skill for the Spanish of either sex. If you’re good enough at it, you can make the other forget what the initial injury or accusation was in sheer dumbfoundedness at your yapping arrogant tenacity.

I bought this on Amazon.

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