Winner: $10,000 Woman’s Day/Random House Romantic fiction Prize. Paris/London 1745. Antonia is pursued by the lascivious Comte de Salvan who wants her as a mistress. When the libertine Duke of Roxton snatches her from Salvan’s clutches, she believes herself rescued. Has she merely swapped one seducer for another? Will Roxton save Antonia from the Comte? Can Antonia save the Duke from himself?
Where do I start? Normally I love historical romances but this one didn’t really do it for me. A lot of it is pretty typical: girl is in love with guy (who is way too old for her) and she makes all the moves she can to be with him. The strange parts of this book for me maybe the fact that it was set in France and not England… I was unfamiliar with the typical reactions of the nobles in this instance (I read a lot of historicals so I’m rather used to the ton.)
The heroine is a young, unspeakably beautiful girl (aren’t they all?) who’s father has passed away not too long ago. Because her father was eccentric, he had the nerve to educate her and encourage her to think. She is considered pert and inappropriate because of the [intelligent and/or smart-mouthed] things she says but mostly everyone loves her because she is sickeningly, tooth-achingly sweet. Somehow she is dropped off with her grandfather’s mistress’ living space in the Palace of the Versailles (how the hell she un-chaperoned is a mystery to me). Her grandfather is ill and dying in a different country, her grandmother lives in England. She is trying to get in contact with the hero because she was told he will help her escape her current trouble.
Her trouble is that the Comte de Salvan (who is old, ugly, pockmarked and a lecher) is trying to force her to wed his son (who is a drug addict). The Comte wants the heroine to marry his son because she is young, a virgin, beautiful, and has no one to protect her from him. He plans to get her grandmother and/or grandfather to agree to the marriage and then take her virginity himself (he really likes the kiddies and not in a good way). His lecherous plans include forcing her to become his mistress. Gad, how ugly.
Of course, the heroine is in love with the hero. The hero is considered a horrible rake and the heroine is very pert, so she yells and defends him to anyone who would dare say bad things about him.
There is no fire in their romance, none…it’s a May-December romance where all the H/h want is to be left alone so they can hang out together and shag each other. All of the drama and the plot movement come from outside of their relationship. The lecherous Comte; his crazy, drug addicted son who is subject to rages; the heroine’s trifling, sex-crazed grandmother who is willing to marry her off to the crazy Comte & Co. simply because she doesn’t want to be reminded of her youth by a granddaughter who is just a beautiful as she used to be, etc.
Yeah, I was bored. I like my heroines with a little less sugar and a little more spice. I want to see heart racing exchanges between the H/h. In this book I got neither.