Avon, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-06-237943-6
Historical Romance, 2017
I’d like to imagine that the title, The Day of the Duchess, is inspired by one of the late George A Romero’s zombie movies. Heaven knows, the heroine Seraphina is pretty much dead to the hero Malcolm Bevingstoke, the Duke of Haven, until she shows up one day at the Parliament requesting a divorce from him. He hasn’t seen him since she left him and he’d told her never to come back – and that was after she nearly died of a miscarriage, which was some time after he had cheated on his wife with some girlfriend. And all that was after he resented her and blamed her for “trapping” him into marriage when he was more than happy to play with her feelings prior to that, without caring one whit what his attention was doing to her reputation as an unmarried debutante. And all that is before I take a deep breath and tell myself that my blood pressure is fragile, and I need to love myself by taking good care of my blood pressure and never letting a fictitious wanker get to me.
I actually like Serafina. Once she realized back then the mess Mal had made on their bed, she decided to hell with it and fled. Of course, the author also has Sera playing the martyr by going how oh, now that she is barren, she would have to leave also to give Mal a chance to torture another woman so that he can beget an heir – WHY DON’T WE JUST GELD THAT ASSHOLE AND MAKE HIM EAT HIS GONADS? – maybe because the author doesn’t want some strange romance readers to view Sera as some kind of weirdo for daring to assert herself.
Now that Sera is back, Mal decides that he will never give her a divorce. But it’d be so cool to let her think that he will, so that he can get her to stay with him and help him pick a new wife. THAT IS SO… relax, relax, think of the blood pressure… ohm. Okay, let’s get back on track. He spends the rest of the story basically playing sick mind games with Sera, constantly slapping his tool against her while mocking her about how powerless she is when it comes to trying to get him to divorce her. He’s had one billion girlfriends, ha ha ha, but she can’t divorce him on the grounds of adultery because this is England, baby, LOL KTHX NOW TOUCH HIS DONG. God.
Sera rails at him, dresses him down – basically, the author is aware of what a colossal bleeding arsehole Mal is, but it doesn’t matter. Mal has all the power. The author tries to say that Sera has the advantage over Mal when she opens her legs, but come on, if that is the case, then let Sera play the seductress, ride the man senseless, and then walk off into sunset leaving him seething in humiliation. No, in the end, Mal keeps playing all these games until the last handful pages when he goes, oops, so he’s an asshole. Instead of a grovel, he decides to wag that thing and the heroine is, like, the story needs to end already so KTHX TOUCHING HIS DONG NOW TRUE LOVE BYE EVERYONE.
At the end of the day, this painful read can be summed up as thus: the author was so concerned with showing off how well she can write an asshole, she forgot to allocate enough space for the hero to atone. Late in the story, when the hero realizes what everyone already knows – HE’S AN ASSHOLE WHO NEEDS TO HAVE HIS GONADS CRUSHED IN A WOODCHIPPER – he wonders how the heroine can ever trust or love her. By the time I close this book, I’m still wondering.
Alright, I need to go take some gliclazide now.