Entreat Me by Grace Draven
Published by Grace Draven on December 18, 2013
Genres: Fantasy Romance, Romance
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Afflicted by a centuries-old curse, a warlord slowly surrenders his humanity and descends toward madness. Ballard of Ketach Tor holds no hope of escaping his fate until his son returns home one day, accompanied by a woman of incomparable beauty. His family believes her arrival may herald Ballard's salvation.
...until they confront her elder sister.
Determined to rescue her sibling from ruin, Louvaen Duenda pursues her to a decrepit castle and discovers a household imprisoned in time. Dark magic, threatening sorcerers, and a malevolent climbing rose with a thirst for blood won't deter her, but a proud man disfigured by an undying hatred might. Louvaen must decide if loving him will ultimately save him or destroy him.
A tale of vengeance and devotion.
I first met Grace Draven via an anthology, Darkly Dreaming, that began with Ms Draven’s Master of Crows (which I adored). I then went on to purchase every.single.book by Grace Draven that I could get my grubby little paws on…even though I didn’t get around to reading them. I currently own about eight Draven books…maybe nine or ten? IDK. But anyway…
I was reading a thread on Goodreads recently and someone mentioned Ms Draven. The thread reminded me that I have quite a good deal of work by Ms Draven so I looked through my library catalog…and I decided it might just be a good idea to start knocking out some of these Draven books. I’d only read one full length and one short story (bad reader, lol). So, I decided to read the book that had been on Mt. TBR the longest. Entreat Me was purchased in December 2014, making it eligible for my 2016 The Mt. TBR Struggle is Real Challenge, hanging around the mountain for about one year, six months.
Entreat Me is a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast and I rather like a lot of the changes that Ms Draven made. Entreat Me stars Louvaen, the widowed, elder sister of the exquisite beauty Cinnia. Lou has raised Cinnia since Cinnia was five years old and she is extremely protective of her. Cinnia – because of her great beauty – is desperately wanted by a pervy asshole, Don Gabrilla Jimenin. Lou delicately maneuvers around Jimenin because her father is a bad investor who has indebted himself to Jimenin. Jimenin, of course, uses this to try to force the family’s hand: give him Cinnia or he’ll have her father imprisoned.
While this is happening, Cinnia is being courted by the rich and handsome Gavin de Lovet. Gavin learns of the family’s plight and – in order to buy time – he and Cinnia run off in the middle of the night together. This is after both Cinnia and her father get angry with Lou because Lou is…sharp tongued (read: unflinchingly honest). Lou called her father out over the debt which had beggared the family to the point of homelessness. Of course, instead of the father just accepting he was responsible for this, he gets angry and hurt that Lou was mean. Cinnia is also upset because Lou had the nerve to tell her that dreaming of marrying Gavin and paying off the debt was only a pipe dream until 1) Gavin actually proposed to her and 2) Gavin [and his family] agreed to pay the massive debt.
This little beginning section would set the tone for Entreat Me. Lou’s characterized as a strong, kind, loving bitch. This characterization really blew me as I felt that most of the time Lou’s bitchy comments were born of the frustration of dealing with dumbasses all day long.
I did enjoy the fact that Cinnia and Gavin’s relationship was not the focus of the story because I would have choked on my own vomit and died. The two together were cloyingly sweet. The type of sweet that makes you gag.
Of course, my favorite character was Lou. She truly dominates and steals the show, thank goodness. I liked Ballard but he was a dim candle compared to the fire that is Louvaen.
One of the things I think I liked best but didn’t really notice towards the end was the way and reason behind the curse. Ms Draven completely avoids the tired trope of a purely “evil person” and instead created a very grey character with complicated motivation. Isabeau, Gavin’s mother and creator of the curse, was not truly vilified and is made to be somewhat sympathetic. Ballard realizes that some of his own actions are the cause of his (and his son’s) plight – admitting that he would do things differently if he could. I really appreciate this because it would have been all too easy to completely pin all of the evil on Isabeau while not showing Ballard’s own misdeeds. View Spoiler » Isabeau, who’s dower was a very valuable piece of land, was engaged to Ballard but she had no interest in him. Isabeau was in love with and wanted to marry a different man, Cederic. Cederic – who only wanted Isabeau’s dower – courted and had sex with Isabeau because he thought he could get her to break the engagement. Ballard stopped the two from eloping and told Isabeau that she could leave him for Cederic but only after marrying [Ballard] and giving [Ballard] an heir. Later, Cederic forced a fight with Ballard, thinking he would kill him and claim Isabeau’s land. Ballard tried to talk him out of it but Cederic only wanted the land, not Isabeau. Isabeau’s curse was due to her being forced into an unwanted marriage and the death of Cederic. « Hide Spoiler I also thought the way the mirror section of the tale was handled pretty well.
All in all, a good tale and an enjoyable read.