Apr. 2nd, 2013

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The Devil's Delilah (Regency Noblemen, #2)The Devil's Delilah by Loretta Chase

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I was going to write a really scathing review of this, but, frankly, I've complained about this one to a group of my friends, and I am purely exhausted.

So. First. The good points. Loretta Chase writes clear prose, snappy dialogue, and well-fleshed out characters. The pacing of the book is good, and the caper plot is handled tolerably well.

The bad points?

I was drawn into reading this by a glowing review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. In which the reviewer praised the hero to the skies for his nobility and compassion and his way of going above and beyond for the heroine despite the cost to himself. Given the prevalence of alphaholes out there... this sounded like a sure thing. Here's an excerpt:

Jack is often shy and unsure of himself, but not when he kisses Delilah. He is overwhelmed by his feelings for her - both physical and emotional - and he does not like the tumult she inspires in him. When he realizes he's kissed her in a way that would be considered poor manners on the part of a gentleman, he doesn't blame her for being a temptation, and lay the responsibility on her. He is mortified at his lack of control, and apologizes very humbly. Jack has a tremendous moral compass.

What this passage does not tell you is that, right before the kiss they're describing, Jack THROTTLES Delilah out of anger, and the kiss is an extension of that, done forcefully and coercively and in a manner he admits was meant to make her feel like a whore. "Poor manners on the part of a gentleman" is one hell of a way to describe ASSAULT.

And then Delilah spends a lot of time blaming herself for provoking him, and having a great deal of difficulty distinguishing between arousal and love. As she's physically inexperienced, this is plausible, but it's painful to see such a strong-willed heroine follow those lines of thought.

That's not the only time he lays violent hands on her, either. There's another scene where he yanks her head back by the hair, shortly followed by another aggressive kiss -- and later, when they discuss it, he says that kisses like that are the only thing he's ever found that will subdue her. (view spoiler)[She was attacking him at the time, in the very understandable belief that this disguised highwayman carrying her off in a curricle needed to be disarmed of his pistol. (hide spoiler)] EW.

There were a number of historical infelicities, which I won't go into great detail about. I know I'm very demanding on that level, and most people wouldn't read about a "small pistol in her reticule" and go "wait, this predates the derringer by a couple of decades, I'm not buying that she could have fit one in there." Some of her historical details are pretty good, after all.

So. If you like your heroes with a streak of violence, and don't mind ones who abuse the concept of consent and disrespect the heroine's autonomy, you might enjoy this book.

But I didn't.

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August 2013

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