Godtopus bless the Romance novel.
Because after all that depressing, deep reading, sometimes you just need something mindless and fluffy to cleanse your pallet, you know? And when that mindless fluff just happens to be 99 cents as an e-book and a mere 200 pages, how can you resist?
This one kinda worked. It had your usual Bodice Ripper players: The poor damsel in distress, the rakish rich man with the dark past, a disapproving society and lots of longing glances and heaving bossoms. Not a lot of sexy stuff, though, for which this book loses about 50 points with me.
The damsel in distress is Alexandra Edgemont (Brenda Joyce loooves her some clunky names), an older (read: 25) spinster who has given up having a life in favor of taking care of her drunken father and two younger sisters. She's The Beautiful One Who Sacrifices All and Is Woeful and Always Crying Because of Sad Things. The stunningly handsome rake is Stephen...Covington? De Winterbottom? Doesn't matter. Clarewood, that's it. He's a fancy, rich duke who has a secret heart of gold and a way with the ladies. He sees poor, helpless, beautiful Alexandra at some ball and decides to make her his mistress, as he does. She immediately swoons into his arms (literally and hilariously) and falls in love with him on sight, even though he's heartless and unfeeling and doesn't have that much to fall in love with, honestly. So she decides to become his mistress, they have one night of mindless sex, then he gets angry because she lied about being a virgin (wait...what? so what?!) and kicks her out. This happens at least three times. I lost count.
It's all very ridiculous and overwrought, of course. Also flat-out hilarious in parts. Brenda Joyce just isn't a very good writer, and tends to fill her pages with ridiculous dialogue that sounds vaguely Olde Timey and is all just very silly.
My favorite part, though? I kept noticing how she kept repeating certain words, and much like Inigo Montoya I had the urge to shake her and yell "YOU KEEP USING THAT WORD. I DO NOT THINK IT MEANS WHAT YOU THINK IT MEANS" in her face. Like..."slammed". As in "Her heart slammed". Thanks to my handy and awesome little Nook, I did a search and found that, in a meager 200 pages, this lady uses the phrase "her [or his] heart slammed" a whopping 26 times (and only twice does she use the verb correctly). She sometimes does it twice in the same page! Another one? "Her heart lurched". LURCHED, y'all. I kept wondering if poor Alexandra just had a really bad heart condition, because that's just not supposed to happen to your heart, honey. I think you might be having a heart attack! The lurching thing? Used 20 times! I LOVED IT. There was also "Thundering", and "sinking". Lots of hearts doing things hearts just shouldn't do. I think Miss Joyce needs to learn some new adjectives.
So, you know. This book's just there. It's apparently part of a very long series, and definitely not one I want to read more of. I want my Romance Novels to have a little bit more Romance and a lot less disturbing things in it--like, say, less selling yourself to a man and then falling in love with him, or less loving him in spite of the fact that he's a total dickhead. That's just not right, people. Also: More sexy stuff. I don't care how hokey your dialogue is if you can at least have some fun sexy stuff.
That's way more words than this book deserves, but I had fun writing this. I'm still wondering why there's a British character named "Alexi", or what the main guy even looked like, or why Alexandra was so dumb. But it was mindless, silly fluff, which is just what I was looking for. And, seriously, I cracked the hell up every time someone's heart kept "slamming". Ten points for that!