To Tempt An Angel
by Patricia Grasso, historical (2002)
Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-6872-7


It takes only 40 pages before Patricia Grasso inflicts a mortal insult.

He could hardly wait to initiate her into the ways of carnal love and mold her into whatever pleased him.

Robert smiled with anticipated satisfaction. How many men of his acquaintances were fortunate enough to deflower their mistresses?

No, Robert Campbell is not the skanky villain out of molest our heroine. He's the hero. He meets 18-year old Angelica Douglas, who is now gambling to support her drunkard father whom she loves the most (because she knows that he can't help but to drink, you see) and a passel of useless family members who seem to see nothing wrong in making an 18-year old girl frequent gambling dens to make money.

I wonder how Angelica can have a Countess title and yet can enter gambling dens freely and mingle with debauched souls and still remain innocent and all other rot, but that's the least of my problems with this story. My problem is that here is a 30-year old man who sees no problem in forcing an 18-year old victim to be his mistress. Their first love scene has victimization all over it.

I want to vomit blood when Robert tells me that he wants to marry Angelica if Angelica isn't his father's enemy. To make up for his father's sin on hers, he will make her his mistress and buy her pretty, pretty dresses.

Adding to my nausea is Angel's psychic aunt who urges Angel to victimize and sell herself to Robert because, I quote, Auntie knows that "he has the hots for you", and let's overlook that irritatingly modern jargon. Here is an aunt who all but urges Angel to prostitute herself to a wealthy man because she claims to see visions of Angel's happily ever after. When Angel protests, Auntie tells her to shut up and take it, because one must "watch what a man does, not what he says", and apparently what Robert is doing is good. Auntie forbids Angelica to sell corpses to medical doctors for money, but instead urges her to trap Robert into marriage by selling herself to him first.

Everything about To Tempt An Angel - from the hero's disgusting lecherous thoughts and actions, the romanticization of the victimization of a dim-witted young woman by everyone around her (her family as well as the hero), and nanny-his-daughter/I-hate-my-dead-wife nonsense - sickens me to the core. The only explanation I can think of for this freakingly awful barely-legal victimization crap is that the target readers must be from the select market of people of which Woody Allen and R Kelly are card carrying members.

Rating: 01


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