Ah, Gothic romance novels. Dark and stormy nights, curses, ghosts, witches, innocent maidens, dark broody lords. This is not the sort of thing one should find boring. And yet, The Shadows of Stormclyffe Hall is so predictable and so boring. To add insult to injury, that cover is the hottest thing about the book.
I had to look at the Goodreads summary to refresh my memory about the character names. So Jane, an American graduate student, is obsessed with Stormclyffe Hall and is writing her doctorate dissertation on it. Does that even make sense? Who cares, it’s a plot device to put her in the path of our handsome, brooding, rakish hero Bastian Carlisle the current Earl of Stormclyffe. Bastian isn’t exactly excited about some American coming to dig into his family history and stir up the trouble that has surrounded his family since his great-great-great something grandmother threw herself off the cliffs near the Hall. Turns out his family, actually cursed. Can Jane and Bastian remove the curse that haunts his family before they die of it? Will they find love? Is there an evil, scheming, jealous woman behind it all? You betcha.
The book is so predictable. I could see the plot beats coming from a mile away. I could have forgiven the book those faults, after all I don’t really read romance novels for the plot, except the rest of the book was pretty terrible as well.
The book lost me pretty early on. One of my pet peeves with romance novels is when the heroine is described as someone who doesn’t really take a lot of interest in how she looks, but boy is she absolutely drop dead gorgeous. Despite not being someone who guys fawn over all the time. You know, naturally pretty and she doesn’t really wear make-up or take care in her appearance like those other women. Gorgeous, but not too gorgeous. Lots of curves but not so much that it would be trashy. This description drives me batty. Jane was described a couple of different times, and each time had some variation on that theme.
So you’ve got a predictable plot, an annoying attitude towards women, and to top it off the sex wasn’t memorable at all. I skimmed most of those scenes. Which means the only reason to read this novel is the plot; the terrible, predictable, boring plot. I didn’t hate the book, and I don’t think it’s horrible enough for one star, but it’s a solid 1.5.