Most helpful positive review
66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
Think of it as an Adult Fairy Tale
on August 4, 2010
In The Wicked House of Rohan, the prequel to Anne Stuart's House of Rohan series, the author continues to push the boundary of "appropriate behavior" in terms of her heroes, whom I've for years argued define Heroes on the Edge. I read the e-book as a free download, which it continues to be as of this writing at Amazon for Kindle, and it served its purpose well as an appetizer by whetting my appetite for the series, which begins with Ruthless, on sale just a few days ago. I've already read it and you can look for my review shortly.
It's Venice in 1740 and Kathleen Strong is about to pass out from hunger after being dismissed as governess for immoral behavior even though she's innocent of the charges. She applies for a possible position, only to discover when she arrives at the home of Alistair Rohan that she's been duped by members of the Heavenly Host, a group of thoroughly debauched noblemen, who, for kicks, want one of their own to deflower a virgin while the others look on to check technique and cheer for the woman to come to climax. Of course they will pay for the pleasure.
Kathleen's brother was Rohan's best friend a lifetime ago, and while she recognizes him - she's had a crush on him for years - he remains clueless as to her identity. Though he is host to the affair, his ennui is such that he's not all that interested even in this level of debauchery, so when Kathleen acquiesces to the plan only if he is not the one to deflower her, he readily agrees. But he cannot let things alone, and assures that Kathleen is fed and made as comfortable as possible for the big night even as she's locked into a room to prevent escape.
This being an Anne Stuart story, there's a marked "fly in a spiderweb" feel to the attraction between Kathleen and the wicked, wicked Rohan. While I found myself wishing for more story, it was complete unto itself. Yes, it was condensed in terms of time, but the premise lent itself to the abbreviated word count. Don't read it looking for reality, historical or otherwise; this is purely an adult fairy tale, and when thought of like that, it succeeds wonderfully.
Other members of the Heavenly Host star in the trilogy following this novella. Alistair is tame compared to the hero-on-the-edge of Ruthless, who actually crosses well over the line, but more on that when I post my review.