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Her Ladyship's Companion (Berkley Sensation) Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 2011
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About the Author
Evangeline Collins is the award-winning author of Her Ladyship’s Companion and Seven Nights to Forever, which won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Best Book Award for Most Innovative Historical Romance.
Top customer reviews
I love a story that can make me feel something. This story of both H/h is a journey of love. I cried, I swooned, I fanned my self many-many times.
There are a lot of loving, coupling, passion but it fits the storyline. You fall in love with both of them. You hope for an HEA but at many times you are not sure this couple will ever get it.
I can't say enough about this book. I just loved it!! I most definitely will read another book from Evangeline Collins.
Now the search continues...
I felt this book was well written and the plot was engaging. I will say that it was more sensual than most romances I read, but that's just personal preference. I found that even so, it did not stop me from enjoying the story in the least. I hope that the author will consider continuing to write about Bella's siblings as I was left wanting to know more about them and their stories. And, I suppose, that right there is a sign of a good story.
The book is set in Scotland/England in 1811 and centers around Isabella, a woman in a loveless marriage. Her husband is abusive and hateful, and consequently Bella has grown quite depressed. Her cousin, who doesn't really know the cause of Bella's melancholy, thinks to cheer her up by hiring a male prostitute for her (as one does). Gideon comes to spend two weeks with Bella, and the two discover both mutual attraction and begin to show signs of affection.
Now, the reason that Bella is in this terrible marriage is that she was caught in an indiscretion with a stable boy, and her brother decided that the best possible solution was to marry her off quickly. In this, and other details, the book attempts to address female sexuality and how it was viewed at that time. Almost every time Bella attempts to take any agency in her own sex life, disaster ensues. This novel did a good job at addressing this idea and it comes to a fairly satisfactory resolution.
Aside from this quality, while I did not dislike Bella, she is not a character I would want to be. I pitied her. She's a helpless character, at the mercy of whatever happens to her. I wanted to see her develop more strength, or self sufficiency, than she did. Perhaps I'm being too hard on her, because given the time period her helplessness is not entirely her fault. But some backbone would not have gone amiss.
Gideon is also characterized as a victim of unfortunate circumstances. He's just trying to make the best of his low birth and status. He's pretty passive as far as heroes go--not an alpha male at all. I noted that the author took great pains to mention that, despite his long career as a prostitute, Gideon never agreed to sleep with men no matter what they offered to pay. It was as though the author was worried that readers would suspect him of being gay or bisexual. In addition to this, the author tries very hard to present Gideon as the much desired opposite of Lord Stirling (the abusive husband). All in all, I felt like his character was forced and unimaginative.
With two slightly weak, pitiable characters, it's hard to get really invested in a romantic relationship. But, to be absolutely fair, it was surprisingly not terrible. The sex was hot and plentiful. There are lots of sweet, tender moments. While I didn't find the happily-ever-after completely satisfying, I did believe that Bella and Gideon cared about one another.
There was one detail about the relationship that just...irked me. MINOR SPOILER: After Gideon leaves Bella and tries to go back to his life as a prostitute, he finds himself impotent. Yeah, he can't get it up for any other woman now (because that's what true love does?) I've seen this done a lot in paranormal romance--usually in the "fated mate" trope. This bothered me on a couple of levels: First, because I felt like his biggest motivation in returning to her was to get his equipment operating again and secondly, because I feel like it cheapens the monogamy. He's with her and only her, not because he made an emotional commitment to loyalty, but because he physically can't be otherwise.
What kind of recommendation can I make with this one? I don't want to suggest it to anyone, because it's such an odd book and it isn't very well written. But then again, there isn't anything glaringly wrong with it. So, I won't warn you off of it, if the premise sounds good to you. 2.5 stars
Originally Reviewed for Reading to Penguins.
No, she wallows in pain and guilt over her "sins". Much of the book was spent with her wringing her hands and weeping over her general unworthiness to LIVE in the world with decent people. Boo-hoo! She has no hope! No life! Nothing will ever change! It never occurs to her to do anything but sit around and weep and sigh. No, her cousin Esme is the one to tell her, "You need something more. *I* will take care of it."
Whine, whine, whine. "I am so sinful! I am so unworthy! Somebody remove my terrible self from the planet!" she weeps and cries and snivels. Please. I wanted to shoot her myself just to stop the pain.
So, inevitably, she falls for the man who her cousin bought for her so she could finally lose her virginity. (Yes, she's a virgin - you think we can have a heroine who is an actual sinner?) And her husband finds out.
At the climax of this masterpiece, her EVVVIIILLL (you know he had to be evil, right?) husband attacks the hero and begins to BEAT HIM TO DEATH in front of our Heroine. Her reaction to watching the Love of Her Life being murdered in front of her?
She weeps! She cries! She shrieks! She wrings her delicate pale fingers as tears fall from cornflower blue eyes down porcelain cheeks. Oh, whatever can she do?
Get this - she has a gun available - and DECIDES not to use it! Because it's sinful to kill someone! Never fear, she will be rescued by someone who takes on the "sin" for her - although WHY any sane person would WANT to be with someone who watched them being BEATEN TO DEATH is beyond me!