Review on: Days of Gold by Jude Deveraux
Jude Deveraux is among the first romance novel authors whose work I read when I was in high school, and thus her works always have a special place in my heart. Romance novels about Irish or Scottish people, or in those settings, are also something I look forward to reading. So, when I spotted this book on a shelf at our bookstore, I was thrilled to read something that was close to my heart. Yet somehow, despite Deveraux being a renowned romance novelist, despite all the factors that would otherwise make this book a sensation in my eyes, Days of Gold somehow didn’t entice me or entertain me as I hoped it would.
The story begins in Scotland where a Scotsman named Angus McTern, meets Edilean, an orphaned girl under the care of her English uncle, who happens to be the owner of the ancestral land that Angus works on. Later on, circumstances lead Angus and Edilean to run away together before Edilean’s uncle forces her to marry someone to get to the fortune her dying father left her. Edilean then discovers that the man she loves and wanted to elope with, only wanted her money; but with the help of Angus, she and him fly off to the Americas evading capture from her uncle, and escaping the trickery of Edilean’s supposed love. On the journey to America, and even after their arrival, Angus and Edilean develop feelings for each other, but their relationship is strained by Edilean’s immaturity, and Angus’ belief in the disparity between their classes/circles. The book revolves around their journey from Scotland to America, and how each of them build a life in the New World, and the progression of their relationship.
The beginning of the book was initially promising – you have a handsome and strapping young Scottish laird, and a beautiful and witty English lady. Somehow circumstances lead them to end up in each other’s company, and they have to help each other for their plan to succeed, which of course leaves room for them to fall in love. The setting seems like a perfect place for two fictional characters to make an amazing story readers will love, yet somehow, there’s a lot of imbalances and loopholes in the story that left me rating this book rather poorly.
First, Edilean is described as a wonderful and kind woman who seems like she hasn’t the ability to do anybody any wrong, which is why the people working on the McTern land love her so much. Yet so see it in parts of the book, where some of the characters (who are supposed to like her), suddenly either say or do something which is the opposite of how they’re supposed to see her. It’s confusing to see those characters shift in their perception of her – they look at her as a nice person, then as a rude person, then back to a nice person.
Second, Edilean’s character itself seems flawed. She’s a very confusing character whose actions are also all over the place. Sometimes she’s good and kind and angelic, and other times she can be quite the spoiled and selfish person. It feels like Deveraux wanted to make her character an independent woman, but didn’t totally consider the weight of her independent woman’s words and actions against her descriptions from the first chapter.
Third, Angus’ character is also a little confusing. He is from Scotland and grew up there the entire time, yet he is somehow able to perfectly execute an English lord’s accent to keep up his and Edilean’s ruse. Apparently, it’s so good that he’s able to trick almost everyone that he meets. Considering he’s been in Scotland the entire time, working the fields and conversing with other Scottish people who have a heavy accent, it makes it seem almost impossible that he can pull off an English accent without even so much as a touch of his Scottish brogue.
Fourth, the flow of the story seems a little off. The first half of the story is the meeting between the two main characters, their escape from Scotland, escape to America, and a little bit of the developing love story between the two while they learn to get settled in the New World. But later on, it cuts off to four freaking years later, which seems like too much in between for the characters to not get over each other. Neither finds a new love in between that time, and somehow the next time they meet, they still feel as stubborn-headed and for Edilean, somewhat immature, despite the four years that they could have grown up. And the progression of Edilean not forgiving Angus for leaving her, to falling back in love with him, in a span of only a few pages, seems so incredulous.
Towards the second half of the book, it felt a little like Deveraux was rushing to find a way to end the story. It was nice that she brought back interesting characters from the first part of the book, characters that I never expected would show up again (that was really a surprise!), but otherwise, their roles in the second half of the story felt a little forced. And somehow, to make things seems more interesting, she started pairing up random people at the end, just so she could give everyone somewhat of a happy ending.
After I finished the novel, I was happy to have seen it end. The characters did get a happy ending where they end up together, but how it was laid out was not exactly the way I would have wanted to see it written out. The story seemed so interesting at the beginning, but somehow as the pages wore on, it kind of flattened out. Sure, there were parts here and there that were really nice, or hilarious, but otherwise it wasn’t really what I would consider Deveraux’s better works.