The Heart Denied Kindle Edition
|Length: 282 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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And the biggest problem is: the reader doesn't know which woman is *really* the heroine until the end of the book, when the other three women have left the picture for good. (Although I have to say, there are plenty of times when the author seems to indicate that a particular woman is eliminated, and then, voilà, she's back again.)
The women are: Katy, the whore who has fallen in love with him; Gwynneth, his betrothed wife, who really wants to be a nun and believes that sexual pleasure is sinful; Caroline, first a married woman and then a widow, who senses Thorne's attraction to her, and Elaine, a pregnant maid who was seduced by the stable boy. Frankly, not a single one of these women seems to be heroine material. . . and yet, I've been known to favor books that are not the usual fare.
Thorne is not really a rake at all. He was a virgin when he first came to the whorehouse, and he clung faithfully to Katy for four years. He knows she feels more for him than he does, and yet, he comes back to her repeatedly when things aren't going well with the other women in his life. But Thorne is all about duty, and he is willing to take on the responsibility of marrying his fiancée and starting a family, even though he is still very young.
Gwynneth is young and attractive, and if she seems a bit too religious, Thorne is very attracted to her, and, sensing her latent passion, believes that they will deal well with each other. Not being Catholic or even all that religious himself--and being very young and naive--he doesn't understand that she believes strongly that giving in to sexual passion will mean eternity in hell being assaulted by the devil. Well, not until after the wedding night, that is.
Caroline and Thorne are constantly aware of each other, long before her husband dies, and long before they finally consummate their passions. You can feel that there is more to their liaison than sex. And yet that seems to be the case with the other women as well. Frankly, sometimes I felt a roll of the dice could determine which of the women would end up being the heroine. . . and more than once I suspected that he would end up with none of them.
Elaine is a mystery woman. Actually, it wasn't hard at all to figure out her true identity, but the mystery was how and why she was there. I often suspected that she would end up being the heroine, but it seemed unlikely, since we don't really know much about her except that she's pregnant by the stable boy and Thorne feels the need to protect her. He never seemed to show any sexual interest in her, and since we had no access to her thinking or really, anything about her, it was hard to accept that she could be the heroine. At least, I don't recall ever reading a story where the heroine was a minor character.
In spite of all this, there is a satisfactory HEA. Not a GREAT one, though. Because one feels as though Thorne was equally attracted to all of the women at one point or another, and that it is the circumstances--the elimination of three of them by one means or another--that left him with the woman with whom he formed a family unit.
This ambivalence makes the story too long and unfocused, and as determined as I was to find out the resolution, I found myself skimming a lot of pages. Thorne, fresh out of university, couldn't have been more than 21 or 22--an age when most young men would be sowing their wild oats and not ready to settle down--but I felt that his actions often resembled those of man a decade or so older. The naïveté demonstrated by his automatic faith in people did seem age-appropriate, especially as he was stubbornly determined to follow this path in spite of the warnings of his elders.
In the end, I had to remove the two stars because it felt like the author was playing games with me, getting me to start thinking of one woman as the heroine, and then showing me how that couldn't possibly be, and then doing the same thing with the others. Repeatedly. Until I started to think maybe it didn't even matter which one came out the winner. I did like it, BUT. . . I'm left with a feeling of ambivalence too.
Sometimes things felt like they were just thrown in, such as the supernatural twist she gave it that didn't seem to have a beginning or end. It didn't even seem right in the story to me. It was nothing but a cool breeze in the scheme of the book.
There were parts in the book that had NO part in the plot and no reason to be in except for filler. And there were things that WERE part of the plot and could have been explained in detail, but got lost amidst all of those words.
The characters did their part, they seemed to have a bit of life. But, boy did they have some rotten luck.
I didn't read the other reviews but there is a rape scene, no matter how you put it. That was the only "intimate" scene in the book that went into details and in my opinion I could have gone without the details.
The whole weird connection with all of the characters were interesting and the plot was somewhat like-able, that's why I gave it three stars. Although for length alone, I want to drop it down to two.