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A romance with little actual romance
on 29 August 2009
I got this from the library and this is the first, and last book by this author that I will be reading.
I think the author wanted the book to more than a frothy regency romance, so decided to include sexual abuse in the main female character's past. I don't have a problem with romances that have dark subject matter, but none of the male characters have any redeeming qualities. Firstly, Griffin Wright-Jones, started running a 'hell', a disreputible gambing establishment to restore his family fortunes and provide his sisters with a dowry. But when young Alistair Cole is unable to pay his gambling debt, it would have been more honest to administer a sound beating or break a few of his bones, than to send men to collect his sister as a 'marker' to hold until her brother can repay the debt. The brother, obviously a weak individual who offers his sister to pay his debt in a letter which is written in terms that suggest that he's offering her up to be used however the Earl(Wright-Jones)wishes; and as her brother is aware that she'd already been the victim of paedaphiles, his actions are reprehensible.
Their father, Alistair's and Olivia's is a distant, neglectful, spiteful, typically Victorian father. Olivia's attitude to her abuse is very matter of fact, and she takes the same vein when it's clear that the Earl wants to sleep with her too. I found I couldn't deal with Olivia's character as anything other than a victim, and I was angry with her abusers and Wright-Jones who selfishly uses her too, without taking on board that her views about sex are skewered.
This overshadowed the whole so called romance and I felt that a supposed man of the world should have kept his hands off someone who was so obviously vulnerable; and not continued to keep her imprisoned in his home because of her brother's actions. I couldn't enjoy the book and didn't bother to finish it.