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Publisher's Summary

Few outsiders will ever witness the dark misdeeds of the Heavenly Host. And among this secret society, where exiled Georgian aristocrats gather to indulge their carnal desires, fewer still can match the insatiable appetite of their chief provocateur, the mysterious Viscount Rohan. Pursuit of physical pleasure is both his preferred pastime and his most pressing urge, until he encounters the fascination of a woman who won't be swayed. And while his dark seduction appalls the pure and impoverished Elinor Harriman, she finds herself intrigued...and secretly drawn to the man behind the desire.

©2010 Anne Kristine Stuart Ohlrogge (P)2011 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Witty, inventive, dark and sexy---a wild adventure for the mind...and the heart." (Susan Wiggs)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    333
  • 4 Stars
    310
  • 3 Stars
    141
  • 2 Stars
    38
  • 1 Stars
    29

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 Stars
    233
  • 3 Stars
    62
  • 2 Stars
    19
  • 1 Stars
    16

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
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  • 4 Stars
    228
  • 3 Stars
    117
  • 2 Stars
    31
  • 1 Stars
    21
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Seretha
  • Roanoke Rapids, NC, United States
  • 03-18-12

Great book, couln't wait to read the next...

Would you consider the audio edition of Ruthless to be better than the print version?

This is the first time I have read/listened to a Anne Stuart book, I found it spellbinding, I couldn't wait to see how everything played out. The only thing I would have changed about the book was to have an epilogue or give a little more detail to the ending.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • beth
  • LEAGUE CITY, TX, United States
  • 03-15-12

Ridiculously Good!

A historical romance in the finest fashion. Intriguing characters that draw you in and an unpredictable story that makes you sorry when you finish. I was instantly a fan of Anne Stuart after my first twenty minutes of listening. Makes me wish time would fly so I can get next months credits to finish the series.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • KIA
  • melbourne, Australia
  • 07-14-11

sexy and well written

I found this sexy and well written - enjoyed Stuart and would buy another book from her again

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Dark story brings 2 romances to light

Any additional comments?

Dark cynical men have let an ugly past define their future meet women with equally ugly past who continue to have hope. The characters are well written and you are not quite are who are the good ones and who the bad. The choices are never clear which keeps the story unpredictable. The narrator is excellent and the story intriguing and sensual. Very entertaining.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Yvette
  • GILBERT, AZ, United States
  • 09-17-13

A Ruthless Romance....wounded leads find love

This book caught my interest because I enjoy complicated characters who experience a lot of personal growth through love. Yes, that's probably the standard formula for a "reformed "rake" story and I must say I am a sucker for reformed rakes!

This book had a lot of good reviews so I thought I would indulge and was hoping for a triumphant read. Even though the triumph of the story did not come until the very end, I was relieved that the Hero, Viscount Rohan was able to make a complete turnaround and find love in the innocent but fierce, Elinor Harriman.

This was and edgy read for me because of the weighty and dark themes that engulf the lives of both the Hero and Heroine. Both leads have experienced extreme trauma or abuse and this is what drives their passions, actions and needs throughout the book.

THE HEROINE:
I have to say that my heart really went out to the heroine, Elinor Harriman. I don't think I have read a book about a more quietly, steadfast and resilient heroine. This woman's inner strength is made out of steel. Seriously, she is a pillar of strength.

Elinor has faced some of the most scaring psychological experiences a woman can face. She endures the personal rejection and verbal abuse of her mother, which never improved. She is constantly overlooked by suitors when in her sister's presence. She takes on this great responsibility for her household (talk about stress). She is willing to protect her sister Lydia to her own demise. AND, her knight in shining armor, Viscount Rohan is well, ruthless......

Elinor's actual beauty and allure is a subject that intrigued me. And, I have to say, I'm not sure about how her looks actually measured out. There is a lot of talk about her nose, and how it would look simply amazing when she is 40 years old---whatever that meant????---But, I got the feeling that she is a pretty woman, but simply overshadowed when next to her sister Lydia because of her sister's extraordinary beauty. Her looks or person is referred to as, "delicious;" "face of character;" "plain;" "rarity;" and her sister Lydia calls her "beautiful & "striking" (but that's her sister of course)." We know she is special since the Hero is magnetically drawn and attracted to her... [more on that later]

THE HERO:
Viscount Francis Rohan is a very wounded character. He is emotionally stunted...seriously. Francis is cynical, sarcastic, dangerously flawed, and I suppose these are all prerequisites that allow him to be the ruthless leader of the underground group of depraved aristocrats who describe themselves as the "Heavenly Host." His devilish ways meet their match when he is mesmerized by the feisty, strong-willed heroine Elinor. As a suitor to Elinor, the stirrings of his heart are kept just like his club or house of revels----underground. Since the moment he meets Elinor his association is forever fused to her. He becomes her provider even though he's emotionally distant. He supplies for the needs of her home (provides food, fire wood, clothes, furniture etc.). Because he is emotionally messed up due to a serious trauma he experienced as a young man, he can't seem to process his feelings for her. So, like the emotional retard that he is, Francis continues to channel his sexual appetite through the debauched activities of his secret society (while pining for Elinor). Yup, very flawed indeed. I kind of laughed or felt some satisfaction when he had a nuclear meltdown after having sex with the heroine. It was like vanilla sex was so crazy amazing for him because he had never experienced sex with emotion. And, he did find that fulfillment in his heroine...that emotional connection he so desperately needed to be whole again.

THE LOVE:
The love between Elinor & Francis Rohan is not a nurturing love...at least not in the form of sweet, comforting words. In fact, throughout their relationship his treatment of her is marked with antagonism, manipulation and mental cat & mouse games. I felt exhausted for Elinor because it was like she never got a break. I suppose she got the message that he wanted her because of his constant interest and seduction games aimed at her person.

Francis's love toward Elinor was masked for most of the book and he really pissed me off when he would never tell her what he was really thinking. This is why I'm not sure if Elinor is pretty, or not. The reason being that Francis Rohan is so sensitive to the "buttons" that set others off, that it really seemed as though he played on her assumptions of herself and used them against her....to try and pull and stretch out her desires for him. He was constantly messing with her head and I suppose the purpose was to break down her strong defenses...I suppose that was necessary since Elinor was so guarded.

Even though there were many times I wanted to slap Francis, there were other times that I though his tough treatment was almost necessary for Elinor. For example, when he separated her from her sister, I kind of thought that was a good thing since she had this whole "martyr complex" going on. I just wish he was more sweet with her and not as harsh. But, the moments he was sweet was during their one love making scene. This is why many reviewers say that the story felt rushed at the end because even up until the last minutes of the book....he barely admits he wants, needs and loves her. It's almost as though Elinor bullied the words out of him. For this reason, the epilogue was great and quite welcome, if not this book would have been a big let down. The epilogue was great because it showed that their love was passionate & that they worked everything out....they found the real thing in terms of love.



WHAT I FOUND DISTURBING:
I had a really hard time with the "Heavenly Host" group because at the heart of it, it was a group of sexually depraved predators & even child molesters, by description. That really made my stomach churn.

BUT, I LOVED how Francis threw them out when he had his nuclear meltdown. I was so glad he was able to walk away from the crazy, depraved lifestyle.

WISH LIST:
I wish Francis was more tender with Elinor, but he's just not the mushy type. I suppose he at least told her about how alluring she was to him when he was constantly trying to seduce her....I guess that's something???

The tender moments came from the love development between Redding and Lydia.

NARRATOR:
Great narrator...Susan Eriksen made the listening experience a real treat!

Not sure I will continue with the series just yet...I kind of need a break from the angst.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • a
  • las vegas, NV, United States
  • 07-31-12

so so story

Is there anything you would change about this book?

It dragged at parts.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Make the characters more interesting.

What three words best describe Susan Ericksen’s performance?

Boring slow and unchanging

Was Ruthless worth the listening time?

The story was just ok.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Avis
  • Kernersville, NC, United States
  • 02-10-12

GOOD!

The House of Rohan is an adult book. Very graphic. The story is very crude and filled with detailed descriptions of depravity. The narratives are too long. The author could have presented the exact story in a less time consuming manner. These long periods of BLAH BLAH BLAH are somewhat boring. It makes it difficult to finish the book. Maybe the unabridge version would have been a better buy.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Krista
  • Milwaukee, WI, United States
  • 07-24-11

D

Based on reviews I was hoping for something much better - but the story was predictable -- the writing was trite - and the reader was too strident. Definitely a D.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful