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Ruthless (The House of Rohan) Mass Market Paperback – July 20, 2010

127 customer reviews
Book 1 of 5 in the House of Rohan Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Stuart (Fire and Ice) launches a trilogy with this dark, intense, and sometimes unsettling historical romance. In 1760s Paris, penniless British noblewoman Elinor Harriman is struggling to support her family when her ill mother runs away to an orgy held by Viscount Rohan, a mysterious libertine known as the King of Hell. This sets in motion a chain of events that draws Elinor and Rohan into a fierce contest of wills and desires. Stuart's writing is crisp and quick, and her characters are finely and memorably drawn, but Rohan's often violent and predatory treatment of Elinor goes well beyond what most readers will find acceptable in an ostensible hero, especially given Elinor's traumatic childhood. Notions of the reformatory power of love fall flat against these grim scenes, which uncomfortably detract from an otherwise enjoyable and powerful story.
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"Witty, inventive, dark and sexy---a wild adventure for the mind...and the heart." ---Susan Wiggs --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: The House of Rohan
  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Mira; First Edition edition (July 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778328481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778328483
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,029,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I've been writing since the dawn of time. A child prodigy, I made my first professional sale to Jack and Jill Magazine at the age of 7, for which I received $25 (admittedly my father worked for the publisher). Since then I've written gothics, regencies, romantic suspense, historical romance, series romance -- anything with sex and violence, love and redemption. I misbehave frequently, but somehow have managed to amass lots of glittering prizes, like NYT, PW and USA Today bestseller status, Lifetime Achievement Award from the Romance Writers of America, and a decent smattering of Romantic times and RITA awards.
I live on a lake in Northern Vermont with my incredibly fabulous husband. My two children have flown the coop, but the three cats do their best to keep us from being lonely.
In my spare time I quilt and play around with wearable art, and the rest of the time I write write write. Apparently women of a certain age get a rush of creativity, and I'm currently enjoying it. Too many stories to write, not enough hours in the day.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Bucks County Reader on August 2, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The hero of Ruthless, Francis Rohan, le Comte de Giverney, is all that a reader could want--so long as that reader wants an unrepentant, degenerate and ruthless despoiler of all that society holds dear. He is a magnificent creation. Many thanks, Anne Stuart. No, as some reviews have stated, "Anne Stuart isn't for everyone." But, then, neither is champagne. Few writers are capable of creating such a dark and disturbing hero who, nonetheless, captures and holds the reader's interest. Fewer still can then manage to write themselves out of such a corner.

Francis Rohan, known in pre-Revolutionary Paris as the "King of Hell" for his hedonistic exploits and orgiastic society, meets his match in Elinor Harriman. Neither this demon count nor Elinor, his next victim, has any illusions about what life holds for them. Each has endured excruciating loss; one has given up, one refuses to. Elinor should be afraid of Rohan, but she just doesn't have time to be since she is attempting to rescue her feckless, selfish mother from ruin once again. Elinor confronts Rohan in his lair, refusing to be intimidated by him or the debauchery that swirls about them both. At first amused by her refusal to be intimidated, Rohan becomes intrigued by her. He simply cannot let her be. The reader wonders: Who exactly is the spider and who the fly in this story?

The dialogue alone recommends Ruthless. Yet there is much more in Ruthless to please the reader: two love stories, one for each sister; two heroes who need rescuing; slightly sassy, devoted servants; degenerate villains, the sort we love to hate; a Jacobite fugitive (Who doesn't love a doomed, Romantic cause?); brimstone and fire; suspense, mystery, and the redemptive power of love. The very best thing about Ruthless? It's book one of a three book series.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Gayle R. Simmonds on August 14, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Anne Stuart was once one of my favorite authors, but her recent novels all seem to be variations on a theme. In Ruthless, we have the same bored, hedonist hero, the same not quite his type heroine, who is supposed to be very frightened and ignorant of sexual pleasure. The whole novel is about he being fascinated against his will by her intelligence and her innocence and her denying any attraction at all to him. Elinor's reactions are reasonable, until we finally get to the big sex scene and then all of a sudden the hero makes a 180 degree turn into someone who cares! and after all of the buildup, he lets Elinor go! Just like that! And she becomes the aggressor WANTING HIM and insisting that they have sex! And of course she has an orgasm with no foreplay at all! Right! HAH! This is the basic story in all of her recent novels. Anne Stuart is becoming increasingly one note and it is very disappointing. I am not a devotee of rape and i didn't want to read anything like porn, but I like a hero to go after what he wants with some finesse! As a man who really enjoys a woman's body and knows what to do with it!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Elinor Harriman was born to a titled father and money hungry mother. When her mother left England for Paris, the downward spiral of their life began. Her mother moved from man to man, gambled and lost and eventually landed them in squalor. Now her mother is dying of the French disease and it's up to Elinor to protect the only thing Elinor truly values, her little sister, Lydia.

When Elinor's mother escapes in a moment of clarity from their home with the last of their meager valuables and cash, Elinor is forced to follow her. She locates her at the Heavenly Host, a place where anything goes and not a place for an innocent young girl. The Heavenly Host is run by the infamous Viscount Rohan and when Elinor is brought to his attention; he finds himself interested for the first time in years.

I really liked the plot, I liked that Elinor and her sister were struggling in life but had that unbreakable bond and a few loyal lifelong servants. I loved the characters. Elinor isn't beautiful but she is selfless and witty. Lydia who is beautiful isn't cold or shallow; rather she's warm and endearing. Rohan is an ass, but I loved him too. He's alpha male all the way and he's a deviant and unconventional. His good friend Charles was one of my favorite characters and his was just a minor part.

So why only the 3 stars? The book was way too long to have never delved into the characters any deeper than she did. Elinor's sister finds out about Rohan's past and what makes him tick, yet it's never brought up between the two main characters. Charles sweeps Lydia off her feet yet we never find out anything of real substance about him, either.

The author dragged out the whole sexual tension thing between the two characters for far too long.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I read the back blurb on Ruthless I was prepared for a decadent, hedonistic story filled with corruption and a twisted dark plot. And in some areas this book does live up to its description.

But ultimately, I felt the book did not live up it the hype on the back. For anyone who is familiar with Anne Stuart's books she excels at dark and dangerous heroes that often the reader feels could fall to the `dark side' and even be the villain of the story. The heroine is often young, naïve and rather average looking. The heroine somehow finds something redeeming in him even if the world does not and is able to get under his skin where not other woman has before. This book follows the same pattern as a courageous if poor Elinor Harriman finds herself going to the Heavenly Host. A dark, wicked place where everything has a price. She must extract her troublesome and sick mother from further gambling. The owner is the King of Hell, Viscount Rohan. One rumored to `consort with the devil, have orgies and drink the blood of virgins.' Innocent Elinor's courage intrigues the Dark Viscount and he helps takes her in for the night feeds her and clothes her and returns her deranged mother back to her home. Although he soon returns Elinor to her home he quickly becomes obsessed with her and she with him. And as an evil creeps to kill her and her family the Viscount must re-evaluate his new feelings.

The problem for me I that I never felt the Viscount was that evil or hedonistic or even interesting. I think if there were more scenes that demonstrated his corrupting or black character rather than giving vague glimpses that didn't really pan out I would have felt he was more of the `bad boy.' Rather than just being told he was evil.
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