So I hate this book I’m reading.
And yet I’m also really enjoying reading it, and not in a “lol hateread” way. I find the characters interesting... or the ideas of the characters, rather. And the plot too -- I really like the idea of it. I do not like the rape of an unnamed totally helpless woman whose life is going to be hell forever (she’s in Bedlam in the 18th century) purely as a device to expand a male character’s story, thanks very much, and the fact that it’s followed directly by a “sexy” scene in which the hero drools over the heroine: wow, no.
I’m very grossed out by the book because of that... and I don’t like the hero, and I have no idea why the heroine decided to suddenly jump him -- he’s hot, so what, did I mention 18th century? "He's hot" would have worked for a lot of women back then, but not this one. The hero's a duke, and the heroine's social class is beneath his, and her livelihood depends on remaining respectable, and she's not thinking, "not only can I screw a hot guy, doing so will also get me a lot of money and a major boost to my social status since I'll be his mistress." No, it's purely that she wants to screw him and is risking her entire present and future on her loins. And I could take THAT if she felt anything but not-very-believable lust for him. I've read books in which I swallowed "overwhelming lust" as a fine character motivation, but I simply cannot see it here.
The last two books in the series were good! Argh! I dunno, maybe I can't buy her overwhelming lust because I certainly would not feel that way toward this jackass. He's not the worst romance hero I've seen, and there are some points to him that could be attractive if the rest of his character were handled differently, but he's an Alpha Asshole. I think I'm supposed to excuse it and feel for his poor tortured soul because his parents were murdered (he is Georgian Batman), but Batman was never this much of a jerk.
Actually I think I was buying into the heroine and hero's mutual uncontrollable lust until the rape. That killed that. I just don't give a damn about anyone but that nameless woman any longer, and I seriously doubt she'll show up again at all. I was feeling bad for the heroine, stuck as a "companion" to a silly young woman with too much money, but after that? She's got clothes and food and shelter and (relative) safety, I don't care that she isn't as rich as all the people around her or that they treat her as invisible. You can't put "rape of a woman confined to Bedlam in the incurables wing" in a book and expect me to immediately go back to feeling sad for someone in Fanny Price's position. And so I get the impression that, to the author, that woman in Bedlam is not a real person who could have a book of her own and deserves to be a duchess every bit as much as the heroine does. Though not by marrying this duke, he's an ass.
Further, the Batman references. Just. Ugh. I can almost feel the author patting herself on the back for creating an 18th-century English Batman. But he's way more obnoxious than Bruce Wayne, and I don't even like Bruce Wayne. Plus if he's Batman, the heroine should be like Catwoman, and she's not at all. Blah.
None of this book truly makes any damn sense, it offends and even sickens me on multiple levels, and yet I CANNOT STOP READING nor do I wish to. Authors with compelling writing styles and page-turning plots should not be allowed to write gross things.