Ravished
by Virginia Henley, historical (2002)
Signet, $6.99, ISBN 0-451-20737-8


Ravished sees this author turning to the bawdy early 19th century England for the setting of the story, but if you expect a bawdy extravaganza like Seduced, you're out of luck. For two-thirds of the book, this story is filled with very predictable Good Twin/Bad Twin, Who Impregnated Whom (Not The Guy She's Marrying, That's For Sure), Who Is Sleeping With Whom, and other tedious bad soap operatic melodramas that I've really outgrown along with my Donna Reed hairstyle.

In fact, this book takes its time to head towards a culmination of a plot, spending chapters after chapters in repetitious description of parties and foolhardy heroine antics, that I don't blame anyone who gives up on this book by the tenth chapter. Even if one sticks with it to the bitter end, the mildly interesting resolution just isn't worth the time and effort wading through pages of pointless ramblings, methinks.

Alexandra "The Hellion Who Wears Low Cut Bodices That Emphasizes Her 'Pert Perfect Breasts' (Author's Words, Not Mine)" Sheffield is 17, and she dreams of becoming a writer and a caricaturist. She lives next door to a pair of 21-year old twins, Christopher "Kit" Hatton and his younger twin brother Nicholas "Dominant Male, Dragon - Again, Author's Words, Not Mine" Hatton. She knows that her father and Lord Hatton have an agreement that she will marry Kit one day, but her heart and loins pulse forever hot and infernal for Nick, the hotter, better, smarter, and more well-endowed of the "Double Dick Brothers". Er, yeah, author's words, the last DDB thing, not mine. I have limits too, you know, when it comes to these sort of things, and if I'm an author, I don't want my readers to believe that my romance heroes have an extra appendage where it is certainly not needed.

So this book tells the story of what seems like a year or two in the lives of this threesome. Alex dresses up as a wildcat in a fancy dress party and ends up happily riding Nick's fingers - ai-yai-yai. Nick, shocked that he has his fingers where he shouldn't stick them in, not when he considers her like a sister ("That's my plot, dang it!" VC Andrews screams in anger from wherever she is now), so he tries to stay away. Kit shoots his father, Nick takes the blame and joins the army, where he becomes the Soldier of the Millennium (apparently non-stop whoring, drinking, and gambling give one lots of strategy skills and discipline - anyone joining me tonight for an all-weeker at Madame Cho's Brothel Of Well-Endowed Studs?), Kit impregnates a woman who later marries Alex's brother... my oh my, is this a 19th century Falcon Crest or what?

The biggest problem of this story is that it just doesn't go anywhere for too long. Alex is a charming girl in one aspect, in that she isn't afraid to live the life and feel some lust (she even masturbates at one point as she spies on a bathing Nick through a peephole), but when it is convenient, the author makes her a clueless brick-brained dimwit. Alex's grandmother is a man-eater, to be blunt, and she has the best lines that punctures the ego of men everywhere and shrinks their testicles, but Dottie is a character that ultimates doesn't have anything to do or anywhere to go. Nick is even more one-dimensional as a typical blow-hard push-her-away-again-and-again dingbat, and oh yes, he and Alex are separated for chapters at a time in several instances in this story.

The most interesting character in this story is the weaker twin, Kit. He isn't exactly one-dimensionally nasty, and I can understand his resentment at his own inability to measure up to his superhero brother. He isn't exactly Sydney Carton, but given a choice, I'd rather read about him rather than our Superhellion and her Superhung Boyfriend. There's only so many times Miz Hellion can toss about exclamation marks like flying rapiers of doom and so many times our Superhung Stud can push her away (again) before I see my life flash before my eyes like reels from all the bad soap operas I have ever watched.

Ravished? Unless we're talking about being ravished by boredom, I don't think I'm in the danger of getting overexcited anytime soon.

Rating: 56


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