Avon Impulse, $3.99, ISBN 978-0-06-245829-2
Historical Romance, 2015
Lord Dashwood Missed Out was released around Christmas, but no amount of alcohol-drenched Christmas sentimentality can get me to overlook the length of this “novella” and its price. At a time when people can buy boxed sets of twenty books for $0.99 on Amazon’s Kindle store, this one is… well, let’s just say that calling it a “novella” is like Donald Trump bragging that his penis is ten inches long. The reality is far more disappointing than the claim. It is made worse here by the fact that the already short story is further sectioned up to allow secondary characters to clutter the scene.
Anyway, the story. Our heroine Elinora Browning believed that she was humiliated publicly by George Travers, the Lord Dashwood in the title, when he dumped her to sail the seas instead of marrying her and impregnating her every year like she had planned in her mind. One day, fuelled by too much sherry, she pulled a Taylor Swift and wrote a pamphlet called Lord Ashwood Missed Out. Apparently it is some kind of revenge fiction thing that caught the imagination of all the women in Society who have ever been denied the love and affection of the hot guy that they believe that they are entitled to. The pamphlet is a bestseller, and Elinora uses this success as a platform to tell ladies everywhere that they must never be shackled by unrequited affections for a man ever again.
Naturally, when she finds herself sharing the same carriage with George, she is still shackled by those affections so yes, this is yet another proof that all those motivational speakers can’t be trusted much. He taunts her and insults her, claiming that if he’d married her like she wanted, he wouldn’t have expanded his mind and sights, doing all those fabulous things. The heroine is like, how dare he, she would have given him the best sex of his life if he had stayed with her. He’d then go, oh please, how can a virgin satisfy his broadened and enlightened lusts? But that’s okay, their carriage has an accident and he helps her walk straight, so he’s a good guy, you know, and she rewards him with hot sex anyway, the end. Oh, and it’s love, although I see no evidence that he’s fond of her enough to want to stay with her once the whole adrenaline rush is over and they have to go back to their normal routine. Oh well, she could always write a sequel to her pamphlet if he dumps her later.
If this isn’t riveting enough, pages are wasted on the people on Spindle Cove – yes, we are back at that place, because the author is going to start another series there – trying to get things ready to welcome Elinora while wondering whether the snow storm would prevent her from showing up on time. Oh, and the author would also want everyone to know that those characters from previous books are still humping and propagating like rabbits. How big is Spindle Cove anyway? Do they have enough real estate to fit all these people?
Lord Dashwood Missed Out is a tragically short and underdeveloped tale of a man who treats a woman like dirt, a woman who invites some of the things he did to her by being a foolish and obsessive weirdo who creeps out for years over a man that doesn’t even seem to like her, and how their dysfunctional interactions lead to wonderful sex that, apparently, makes everything alright for the two of them. It is also a love that demonstrates what a hypocrite the heroine is: she talks about being a strong woman who can live without a man’s presence in her life, but she’s actually an obsessive creep who can’t stop lusting after a man who treats her like dirt.
If you’re able to buy stuff from the Kindle store, seriously, take your money and go buy those huge boxed sets going for $0.99 instead. This one is a pointless waste of time and money.