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Romance and adultery are not the same thing
on March 10, 2012
Updated from March 12, 2012 to fix typos in review.
Let me start this review with a brief synopsis of the plot as that is lacking in the description.
The heroine, Catherine is in a miserable marriage. She is married to a baron who, based on the storytelling appears to be somewhat mentally abusive. Her husband is an alcoholic and appears to have some emotional issues. She is considered the most beautiful woman of her time and her husband likes to dress her as a strumpet when he has the occasional gentleman over. The hero, Adam is an Earl who is "lured" to the castle for a pair of twin horses. He meets Catherine and based on her looks, falls instantly in love with her. The question to be answered is how can Catherine and Adam be together given that she is married? Is it worth scandal for their love to blossom?
As I read this book, I find several things incredulous. First, this "love" between Catherine and Adam isn't really that well developed. I can believe she loves him as she was forced into this marriage at 17 and has been secluded since that time, and Adam does not stare at her breasts that are so amply displayed by her husband. He is kind and loving to her and teaches her about passion. However, based on what was told in this story, I am at a loss regarding Adam's love. Everything that is described sounds like the lust of a tremendously beautiful woman (think, Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, etc.). I don't see how they had enough non-physical interaction for him to fall in love with more than her face and figure.
The author shows Catherine as a sweet and compassionate person despite the lack of such she has received from her husband, but never directly to Adam. Additionally, there was a scene where the men who were hoping to gain Catherine's favors (she never presented herself as a woman who would grant any) crashed another soiree when they learned that was where she was headed next. I found this to be absurd.
The villain of the story, Catherine's husband Edgar did not seem much of a villain once his story was told. I would have liked to see more of his story early rather than later in the novel and if done right, perhaps I could have excused the adultery.
Overall, I can't really recommend this novel unless someone doesn't care about infidelity. I found this novel to be weak, the adultery aside and did not care enough about the hero and heroine. Yes, I finished it because frankly, I wanted to know more about the husband and, was curious to know how the author would get us to the happy ending that is expected in these types of novels. Despite the novel progressing to the point where Catherine and Adam could be together, the ending left a lot to be desired as well. I will not be purchasing any additional novels by this author.