A Lady’s Guide to Ruin by Kathleen Kimmel #Review

A Lady’s Guide to Ruin by Kathleen Kimmel #Review
A Lady’s Guide to Ruin


Series: #1Birch Hall
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Berkley
Released on December 1, 2015
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

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DNF at p. 139

I grabbed up this book because of the exciting and curious blurb- a woman thief pretending to be someone else while hiding out as an escapee from Bedlam with a lord and his sister on their estate with the promise that she would not let him fall for her.  Yes, it really did sound just the thing.

However, after reading nearly half this story and pushing myself to finish it, I’ve decided to stop.  I couldn’t engage with the story, I couldn’t like the heroine or her choices (and she did have them and went with less than honorable ones), and I wasn’t even interested to see where the story was going.  I had a liking for the hero and his quest to find his brother, but it wasn’t enough.

I won’t say the story is awful, but it is most definitely not for me.

My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read the book in exchange for an honest review.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.


  1. Its so horrible being unable to connect with a story especially when you get pretty excited for it!! And its the worst when you see yourself forcing yourself to read when it should be fun!!

    1. Exactly! I kept waiting around for that moment when I connected with something- character, plot, the relationship- and it didn’t happen. I didn’t like the heroine, either, and particularly didn’t like her in a romantic roll. So yeah, best to stop.

    1. Yes, this was a new to me author and I do like trying to find new books/series to like, but sometimes I hit ones that aren’t for me. Good luck on your own hunt, Lekeisha!

  2. Dang, Sophia, I think this is actually the first time I’ve seen you DNF a book. 🙁 I admit though ADN I agree with you, there have been times where I just DNF a book as well! And I don’t blame you one bit! It’s ALWAYS a disappointment since you want to like it and your time is already invested into the story, but if it isn’t doing it for you, PUT THAT MESS DOWN.

    I hope your next read is better girl! <3

    1. Yes, it’s terribly hard to set a book aside. But I really didn’t see my opinion changing after reading that far and getting more disappointed with things. You’re right- put it down. 🙂

    1. I thought it sounded fun and was all set to enjoy it, but it didn’t live up to the blurb for me. Maybe it will be at your library and you can thumb through to see if it grabs you.

  3. I hate heroines who make bad choices. I’m a real stickler for safe sex in novels so when I noticed that my HQN series were more and more featuring them I got an okay from my editor to lower the rating for promoting unsafe sex. Yeah I got some authors in a tizzy about it. Stick to your guns!!!

    1. Usually in historicals, I cut the heroine some slack about choices since they didn’t have much power and few choices. After a while, I realized that this gal whined about her past, but was making bad choices again that would land her right back in trouble and she was very calculating about the friendship she had (under false pretenses) with this generous man and his sister. I hated seeing her using them.
      Oh yeah, the unsafe sex stuff and also the women not taking no for an answer are two hot issues for me. I don’t blame you for going on campaign there, Debbie.

  4. Your description of the blurb does make it sounds like a good one. It’s hard to enjoy a book when you don’t like one of the main characters. The hero does sounds like a nice character, but it’s too bad that wasn’t enough to make it into a good story. If you’re pushing yourself to finish a book, it’s definitely the right moment to put the book down. I hope your next book is better!

    1. I’ve been slowly working toward this over the last few years. I run into the dilemma of finish it and go on a rant because by the end I’m good and mad along with disappointed or just stop when I don’t see a chance of my opinion changing saving myself time and irritation.

      In this case, the heroine was lying to, using, and planning to steal from the people who took her in, sheltered her, provided her with clothes and food and a safe home. It came across as manipulative since she calculated each expression, word, and action to get the result she wanted. She whined earlier about her life and being forced to steal and lie, but now she is still doing it. I couldn’t like her as a result.

    1. Yeah, not long after our chat, I read about fifty pages more and still wasn’t into it and didn’t like the heroine the way she was manipulating things with the family so I called it a day. It’s weird b/c I’ve read books about lady thieves and tricksters so it took me a bit to realize that I can tolerate it when this type of heroine turns it on other characters or at first with the hero, but I don’t like it that far into the story that she’s still working his emotions and attraction against him.

      1. I know what you mean. There’s a line that pushes it too far in some of them and it just goes on for too long. I read a historical last year along those lines where the hero had a bet going over the heroine. I’ve read some and been fine but usually the hero has a change of heart (even if he doesn’t fess up about the bet) fairly early on. This one it just kept going and he didn’t leave the slimy jerk phase until it was too late to be redeemed.

        1. Yes, that line. I probably couldn’t tell you exactly where the line is, but I think it’s when I realize that the romance partner is really into the trickster one and vulnerable. That bet scenario sounds very similar to this one.