There was vegetation. Too much vegetation. Both in the forbidden valley and elsewhere. More plant descriptions than I have ever read. As for the rest of The Forbidden Valley by Essie Summers, I recall few details. We read this one a few months back, and I tried to challenge Mae to take over the review. Considering that I handled installment one of The Woods Snuggle Up to Classic Harlequin Romance, the second installment would be her chance to review something other than an Amazon-purchased toddler product. For some reason, Mae’s preference was to focus on This Time is Different, which had another title at the time. And post lots and lots of .gifs on America’s favorite social networking service for moms and grandmoms who love to share too much.
By the time I gave up on Mae proving that her humor could go beyond movie quotations, Italian pastries, and those Graphics Interchange Formats, TTID had taken over and I did want not our blog post about The Forbidden Valley to interfere with the name reveal, cover reveal, blogger sign-ups, Advance Reader Copies talk, Advance Reader Copies requests, Advance Reader Copies transmissions, creation of a FB spoiler group, FB ads, miscellaneous pre, pre-release hype, pre-release promotion, actual pre-release, Release Day Eve eve, Release Day Eve, Release Day, Takeovers 1 through 10, Bonus scene talk, Bonus scene release, or this new app about romance books. So I waited.
While waiting, I forgot. Forgot about how Charlotte flew around the world to visit her relation (cousin, I believe) in New Zealand. Forgot about how the cousin, Phyl, disappeared. Forgot about how Charlotte pretended to be Lacey. Forgot about Edmund Leigh, who was a love interest without interest. And forgot about Avis. Well, I at least thought that I forgot about Avis. But, like Yours to Command, our first foray into classic Harlequin Romance, this book had a villainess. Since Hertz, Enterprise, and Budget sound too friendly, Essie Summers chose Avis for the villainess’ name. Avis played her role nicely. Unfortunately, no one else did the same.
Because Charlotte/Lacey had her hands full with child care, wild boars and fire fighting, I think she struggled to sufficiently romance the hero, Edmund Leigh. Plus, Edmund Leigh was very lacking and inconsistent. In some scenes, he was a dull but rugged MAN. Elsewhere, he was like a character in a Bravo reality show. What he never was in my opinion was a romantic hero or a man worthy of Charlotte/Lacey.
My hope is that Essie Summers, who Wikipedia says was known as New Zealand’s Queen of Romance, was so focused on writing about the flora of New Zealand that she didn’t really intend for The Forbidden Valley to be a true genre book and instead had different aims for this project. Ms. Summers wrote over 50 books, so I would assume that NZ’s romance queen penned numerous stories with more love and chemistry than this one. Besides the pages and pages of botany and Avis being amusing, the Phyl disappearance provided some intrigue. But overall, the book was a forgetful read whenever it was that Mae and I read it. Trying to piece it all back together a couple of calendar seasons later has been a boring and unrewarding task.
Mae and I will read more together, and we will be back for a third installment. However, we might try something other than classic Harlequin Romance. Assuming there is sufficient demand from Mae's dozens of followers for more Wood family fun.