by Nicole Jordan, historical (2009)
Ballantine, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-345-51010-5
To Romance A Charming Rogue is a book that is just sort of being there, if you know what I mean. It doesn't elicit any strong emotion from me. I'm not feeling too enthusiastic about this baby, but I don't feel any strong dislike either. This book is just there.
Two years ago, Eleanor Pierce was 19 and convinced that she would marry Damon Stafford, whom she loved with all her heart. She knew back then he was a womanizer, so I don't know why she was so shocked when she eventually saw him being friendly with his mistress one morning. The engagement was subsequently called off, needless to say. When the story opens, Eleanor is older but she is now even more determined to marry for love. I'm also told that she still loves Damon so, so much so... I don't know, is Ms Jordan saying that Eleanor wants to marry Damon? Eleanor insists that no, of course not, she wants to marry for love. In other words, this silly fool is still holding out for Damon.
Damon shows up when the story opens because he learns that an Italian prince, Prince Lazzara, is wooing Eleanor. He can't have that: Eleanor is going to get herself married to a man with a bad reputation, and that cannot be! I suppose it takes a dog to know another dog, eh? You can guess what happens next, I'm sure. The heroine is conveniently not in love with Prince Lazzara, although in this story, "in love" seems to be a nice way of saying that he makes her pant like a dog in heat. The only deviation from the script here is that Prince Lazzara doesn't turn out to be raving mad villain.
The main problem with this story is that the main characters remind me so much of kids in school playing at falling in love. Damon deliberately let Eleanor see him with that floozy two years ago because he couldn't bear falling in love since, you know, his twin brother and his parents died and now the weenie king is going to cry like the biggest baby in the world if he falls in love with Eleanor. Even when he finally admits that he's in love with Eleanor, Damon will find all kinds of silly excuses to play the clichéd emo weenie hero.
As for Eleanor, she's this weak-willed creature who blames Damon for using her body's arousal against her. You see, she can't control herself - when the body is willing, she has to put out, so it's all the guy's fault. Does this excuse work after 10th grade? When she finally admits that she's in love with Damon - which is to say, she's been completely shagged in every way possible - she then turns into this unnaturally creepy heroine who is so understanding of every one of the hero's nonsense because she knows that he had a truly terrible time dealing with his past. I suppose she has no choice but to be understanding, since she's married to a weenie king.
On the bright side, the heroine actually works to find out the truth late in the story about Damon's cry baby antics. However, this happens only after these two have dragged out their tedious little tableau of wrong assumptions and reluctance to communicate for so long, and as a result, all that drama between those two still feel contrived and tedious. Then there is an equally tedious and contrived suspense subplot that tries but fails miserably in injecting life into this story.
To Romance A Charming Rogue is just plain inept as entertainment. The plot is tedious, the main characters are children with one-note contrived angst, and the drama consists of artificial little episodes of silly communication boo-boos and wrong assumptions. A tedious, dry, and utterly boring story from start to finish, this book is a total pill.
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