A Smart Girl’s Avon Romance

Ransom My Heart by Mia Thermopolis/Meg Cabot

Meg Cabot, writer of The Princess Diaries Series, The Mediator Series, 1-800-WHERE-R-U series, All-American Girl Series, along with other chick-lit classics, returns to her historical romance roots in her standalone novel Ransom My Heart. The author of the book is listed as The Princess Diaries narrator, Mia Thermopolis and the proceeds are going to Greenpeace.

I have been a fan of Meg Cabot since my high school days — I was a big fan of The Mediator Series which she originally wrote under the name Jenny Carroll. The show Medium takes a lot of cues from The Mediator and 1-800-WHERE-R-U became the Liftime TV series Missing. The Princess Diaries is undoubtedly one of my favorite series, and I was excited to read Mia’s novel.

Meg’s characters usually have such heart and charm and cheekiness, it’s terribly easy to fall for them. However, Finnula isn’t quite as endearing a heroine as Mia or Sam or Suze. Finnula came off as the cliche tomboy turned damsel; her antics with her bow and arrow were more cartoonish than they should have been. While readers knew what Finnula did, it was difficult to figure out what was going on in her head except when she was about to jump Hugo’s bones. Finnula did have a lot of Robin Hood/goddess of the hunt Artemis-Diana cues, which were clever if you know your Greek myths.

For her knight Hugo, Meg decided to make him closer to reality than the idealized archetype of a returning Crusade soldier. He’s far from the ideal lover – promiscuous, flawed, manipulative, morally ambiguous. I also didn’t cringe when she shifted to his perspective, it didn’t sound too feminine, which a lot of writers tend to do. Kudos to Meg for doing her homework so thoroughly on this historical period. She also writes the love scenes quite well — vivid but not too-detailed. I hadn’t expected an adult novel to be tied to The Princess Diaries, nor read her adult books so I was pleasantly surprised that she wrote love scenes… Honestly, it didn’t bother me but maybe it wasn’t the best idea to tie something that sexually graphic to a teen series that was not graphic or gave the implication that it would be.

In a cliche story like this, there needed to be much more character development overall and a tighter story plot. I felt like it was mostly bouts of lust between the two lovers, rather than a multi-faceted relationship. While all the characters had very interesting back-stories, their current ones lacked any luster. Another thing that bothered me was that characters were inconsistent, which probably stems from the lack of development. Then the epilogue seemed out of place, and it could have just ended with the last chapter.

This was not Meg Cabot’s best work. I didn’t even feel like Mia would write something like this based on her character, this sounds more like it’s Tina’s forte. While easily fun for a light read (or to maintain your status of reading all things Mia), I’d say it’s easily what it is — a very typical Avon romance novel. I was expecting a bit more from the author, but some days you win some, other days you lose some. I’d say that my book choices are progressively getting better, so I’ll count this as a win.

Image Credit to: Avon Romance Blog

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