Ugh! This book was awful. I started reading it a year ago and got so bored and annoyed that I put it back on the shelf. This week I finally bit the bullet, took it down off the shelf again and finished it, but, oh, I wish I hadn't bothered. This was not a good book. It was not even a bearable book. And most importantly of all, it was not a romance book...if you want to read a love story, don't bother with this book at all. Nor was it true erotica, since none of the love scenes were remotely pleasurable or exciting to read nor even the faintest bit realistic.
The hero was REPULSIVE. He was arrogant, nasty and psychopathic. Moreover, he was misogynistic, and I don't think he was ever truly nice to even one woman, apparently vastly preferring the company of men. He slept around, and cast women off like old shoes. Some of those he slept with were after his marriage to the heroine. He didn't seem to care for his wife at all. He gave her horrifying lectures on wifely obedience that seem shocking even for the nineteenth century, telling her that she had to obey him, and threatening her if she didn't. And although the author went to great pains to point out that he was pretty much the most skilled lover of all time...well, he didn't seem to do or know much at all in the boudoir...he seemed to me like a rank amateur. All of these negative attributes made me question the author's assertion that the hero was irresistible to all women. I doubt women would ever be so dumb as to fall for someone like that. I know I wouldn't. He was less appealing than the town oaf, the town pickpocket and the town drunk all rolled into one. Which reminds me, he was also constantly drunk, and in the manner of some problem drinkers spent his time swearing, arguing and threatening women. I hated him! The word 'no' seemed to be an aphrodisiac to him. In almost every love scene in this book, the heroine repeatedly said no to the hero and tried to fight him off or run away. But he went ahead and took her anyway, using lovemaking as a weapon. Uh, isn't that called rape? He kidnapped her, he forced her, he tied her up, and never in a playful, consenting way. That was not romantic, it was not appealing, it was awful. But no matter how repulsive he was, the heroine kept falling for him and putting up with him, which gave me no respect for her either. By the end of the book, the hero hadn't redeemed himself in my eyes; the best he could do was imply that he might be faithful and stick around with his wife from then on in. And yet, that was supposed to be the happy ending, and the epilogue pretty much said that they live happily ever after. Yes, because cheating abusive husbands are always great at suddenly mending their ways and being the best of men from then on! (NOT!)
Besides being boring and having unappealing characters, this book was also absolutely riddled with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. That was constantly annoying! One of my 'favourite' typos was this one: 'One hurtle down -- the marriage was accomplished. Two hurtles left.' Not only is the spelling shot to pieces, but that snippet also reveals the psyche of the hero -- he thinks of marriage as a hurdle to be gotten over and done with. Isn't he charming?
If I had to sum up this book in two words, it would be these: DON'T BOTHER!