Set in 1960s Tanzania, Architect Darling is a romance novel featuring a forbidden love affair between an American architect and a beautiful young Indian woman.
Stephen Townshend travels to Dar-es-Salam to work as an architect at the University College. Handsome and single, he catches the eye of lovely Angela Rodriguez. The couple’s love-at-first-sight relationship is threatened by her father’s rigid social beliefs that she marry within her race. Still, their love grows as they meet clandestinely, travel secretly, survive the rise of East African terrorism, and dodge the father’s forceful interference.
This is a traditional romance novel with engaging main characters who overcome obstacles to their relationship. East Africa provides an interesting setting, as does the region’s decade’s of political unrest. The dialogue is believable and the plot unfolds naturally. Readers will root for the couple to be happy.
The book disappoints, however, in its pace and description. In between dramatic scenes, the story is pushed along by pages of flat, dry narrative that hold little description and no dialogue. (For example: “The two women engaged in the kind of female verbal exchange that was hard for a man to follow.”) Simply recounting events to advance the story deadens the pace and quells reader interest. The author also uses too many exclamation points (there are 33 between pages 104 and 107 alone). Instead of an exclamation point, a well-crafted description of the emotion or action would keep readers more engaged and less distracted.
While the plot and setting of Architect Darling is interesting and the characters sympathetic, readers have to wade through too much dry narrative to make the story enjoyable. Unfortunately, discerning romance readers will soon set the book aside.
Also available as an ebook.