I was really into this for the first half and was hoping I'd finally found a piece of erotica that I co..Show More »uld rate 5-stars. Normally I find them far too short on plot and character building to do so in good conscience.
This one had a plot and there was genuine emotions. I teared up a few times. The sex was also hot. What dampened my enthusiasm was the last 1/4 of the book, partially because I was so stoked about the earlier chapters. I Here's my whine. As always, YMMV.
1) I didn't think the hero's big 'secret' was enough to justify his brooding, pity-party behavior. Here's his "big secret"....
****SPOILER**** his wife died in childbirth and he blamed himself because he felt he had treated her badly. The 'badly' is the part I was disapointed in. I assumed he cheated, etc. etc. but all he did was go out on the night she went into labor. He did go out with his old crowd, but he wasn't doing anything he shouldn't be doing. I get that you'd feel guilty about not being there, but how that translated into his treatment of the h is what I wasn't sold on. Seriously, WHY couldn't he have kept her as his mistress? She wouldn't have expected more and would have been THRILLED with that arrangement. The reasons were too flimsy for me.
2) The fact that he gave her away to another protector really irked me. Of course, she never slept with the other guy, but it would have served him right if she had. I think it would have been great if he'd given her to the other man, then immediately thought WTF!! and chased her to London in full John Wayne 'True Grit' run the horse to death fashion to stop the "consummation". (just kidding about the horse, I hated that scene in BOTH versions of the movie). But, I was highly disappointed that he moped and emo'd around for weeks fully believing she was getting it on with his friend doing all the kinky things he'd trained her to do.
3) The magic wand at the end. EVERYONE was all 'go love, f the Ton, even his father the fricking EARL. Okay, I'd have bought it if one character (his brother) would have supported him marrying Lysandra, but when everyone including her enemy's wife jumped on the 'go love' bandwagon, I was calling bull. Her supposed new protector was just too good to be true as well. Not only did he not sleep with her, he still paid all her bills and kept her in a house because he couldn't betray a friend (not the H but the h - whom he'd just met). I know it's fantasy, but this was ridiculous. People are far crappier than that.
I wouldn't have been surprised if the Earl hadn't been all for his son keeping her as a mistress, but his easy acceptance of a marriage was just an anachronism to me. Suddenly everyone had modern, very non-classist views and that's just not remotely realistic. I'm not an expert on Regency England, so I'm not trying to be a historical accuracy snob. I don't care if the furniture is wrong for the period, I just want to be able to remain in the fantasy.
4) There should have been a grovel at the end, but she just fell back into his arms and it was a very abrupt ending too.