Signet Eclipse, $7.99, ISBN 978-0451-47368-0
Historical Romance, 2016
I suspect that if I were a very new romance reader, or I was thirteen and more naïve about things like love, I would have enjoyed The Viscount Risks It All more. But because I’m a jaded crank, this one just tests my patience. The only reason I finally finished the whole thing was because I told myself that, surely, things would get better. They never did. In fact, I give this one an extra oogie in the end only because it is a well-written story. It’s just that the plot, the fundamental conflict that drives the entire story, makes me want to pull every strand of hair on my head in frustration.
Here is the plot. Once upon a time, Gavin Stark, our Viscount Derington hero, fell in love with Felicity Danby. But because he didn’t dare to express his feelings for her, she went to fall in love with and married another bloke. Oh my god, Gavin was – still is – heartbroken! Lesson learned, people – he will never take things for granted and will always speak up. And he will never love again, because once upon a time, Felicity broke his heart (really, that’s what he says here – because he’s entitled to be loved by any woman he wants to wag it to, I suppose), and so, he’d sleep and flirt and dance with other women but love will never touch his randy parts ever again.
So, today. Felicity is a recently widowed lady, and to avoid pitying stares from other people, she goes back to her childhood summertime home, where Gavin is there. Okay, you may be thinking, “Great! She’s available, and he’s all about speaking up his feelings now, right? So it is his time to GO GET THAT LADY! Woo-hoo, let’s hear it from Derry!”
No. You see, Felicity has broken his heart before, so Gavin will now never want to see or talk to her ever again. You see, his heart is broken. Has he mentioned yet to you that he had a broken heart, thanks to Felicity? At any rate, he will stay away from Felicity. Okay, that doesn’t work. He will never let her know how he feels then, because, you know, she broke his heart and he is still all torn up and anguished from the whole traumatic experience. A broken heart is a terrible thing, you know. It drives a man into sleeping with many women – if you don’t feel sorry for that poor man, you are clearly heartless. Felicity has broken his heart – broken his heart. It is the worst thing that can ever happen to a man!
Even when he decides that he’d like them to be together, does he open up? Of course not. Thus, Felicity likes Gavin and, oops, here’s the carried-away moment of passion, but because she’s convinced that he doesn’t feel much for her, she lets it known that he’s still a friend to her. Thus, he decides that, oh no, it’s true, his heart is once again on the verge of being broken – again – so he must never tell or let it on that he feels anything for her.
And so they go, on and on, while I start gnawing on my nails and feeling an urge to break things with extreme violence. How old are these two idiots, and more importantly, how can I make them hurt so badly that they will rue the day they plague me with their trivial, childish issues prolonged to a full-length story? If the author can’t come up with anything more interesting to keep her story going, why isn’t this one a novella or something shorter?
I’m too old for such nonsense. I’m out.