Elizabeth make a compelling heroine with enough spine and flaws to make her interesting. Lucien is the classic bad boy, but not of the unredeemable sort. He's never abusive to Elizabeth or too manipulative.
However the couple (at least for my taste) needs much too long to get closer together and to develop sweeter feelings beyond mere sexual attraction and an initial, reluctant infatuation. After such a long time of patient waiting for some romantic and loving interaction (It's supposed to be a romance after all!) their first actual intimate encounter was quite disappointing for me, too loveless, violent and frantic to make up for the lack of romantic interaction. Instead of armorous talk the hero even curses the heroine in between (the most unrealistic deflowering scene I ever read-even considering that it takes place in a romance which are per se unrealistic in that respect!)
And even after that unromantic coupling there's not much sweet and romantic love to be found to make up for it and the end is somewhat rushed.
Only worth your time if you love bickering couples who are at cross purpose most of the time, with a tortured hero constantly distrusting his feelings, compulsively trying to avoid emotional and physical intimacy with the heroine most of the time .
It might be a good romance for people who love angsty romances but after my high expectations at the beginning it was a letdown for me.
At that point, the whole book began to sag at the seams, and started becoming quite Politically Correct. Hero...A duke mind you...Treats servants like equals and labors in the dirt like a construction worker. The maid hired to see to the heroine's needs, lectures her, and the heroine takes it... Ummm...Right.... Hero tells servants it okay to wander around the castle in casual dress.... Mmmmm.
I found myself skimming the love scenes, to find out what happened in the main plot because I didn't feel the two main characters had any chemistry whatsoever.
Worth reading for the first half, but I grew tired of the bickering and the modern values in historic characters.
The main problem with the book is that Elizabeth is never seduced at all. A couple of moderately warm scenes and 'a first time together scene' worthy of only the worst in 'romance' are totally forgettable. Tying up virgins and abandoning them without a word of explanation is really not the way to their heart. There isn't enough heat between them to sustain these scenes. A romance is the hero and heroine falling in love, not arguing continually and talking about nothing but sex (which they never do!)
Lucien is also completely inconsistent at times and there are big gaps in the story re the pirates and the death of his brother. Our heroine is a worthy match for him, but Elizabeth is apt to be far too changeable at times.
The comedy is clever and witty one minute, downright vulgar the next. This would have been a much better book without it on the whole; after what Lucien has been through the brooding hero in the ruined castle is more consistent than the man who decides to ruin her reputation at a ball because he is bored, and ends up having to marry her to save both their reputations. Witty repartee is one thing, challenges to seduce the servants (which she does go through with) and detailed descriptions of male anatomy quite another. not to mention deliberately embarrassing each other in public all the time because they have so little respect for one another, especially at their own wedding.
The whole of the book is littered with grammar and punctuation errors, making the whole seem even more slap dash. Ms. Britton writes with verve but she loses sight of what she is writing and the style and tone swings are far too glaring to make this a smooth easy read. She has some interesting and sexy characters and does not need to try so hard to make them so with feathers and powdered sugar and bananas. It just doesn't work. And has been done far better elsewhere, lots of times before.
One final point-most of the action takes place over 2 days on their honeymoon-all of her anguish and love is just not believable given the extent to which she and he hardly know each other.
Having said that I really like Lucien despite the flaws in the writing and his character, though the whole is he a rake or not was really not handled very well or clearly at all. I would love to have seen some real intimacy between them in the epilogue. On the whole, an entertaining read, but I hope the next book will be a lot better.
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