Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Seduction of an English Scoundrel by Jillian Hunter

Honestly, sometimes I wonder why I even bother. I don't really like romances very much. And yet, every once in a while, when one crops up on a list by an author who hasn't utterly disgusted me yet, I pick it up. I think I'm trying to prove I'm not a book snob. See, I'll read anything! Even romance!

As much as I do like to try to read a few popular books at any given time, though, my rate of return on romances has been lamentably low. There are very few I've enjoyed, and none that I can even remember what they were named. It might be time, finally, to admit that romances, they just aren't for me.

Or at least, not when they're done like this one. This has formula written all over it. Not in the specifics, but the part where smart, spunky young woman (in some era of British history, but history isn't this book's strong point) meets alarmingly masculine rake who discovers to his alarm that this particular spunky smart young woman might just have him thinking of marriage....

Haven't I read this book before? Oh yes, I did. It was set in a school. And was more entertaining and had an actual subplot. Still wasn't great, but maybe it's not just the genre. Maybe it's just that the characters in Seduction of an English Scoundrel are paper thin. (And I keep spelling that as seducation, for some reason.) And the story started off diverting, but then became just the same "former rogue can't believe he's falling in love" that I've read before, even with my remarkably limited background in romance.

Oh, and, Jillian Hunter? When your main character is musing about what the opposite of a sensible woman is, the antonym he's looking for is foolish. Not insensible. Unless she just fainted.

But here's the part that sticks in my feminist historian craw (and I swear, I try not to evaluate this type of book by that alone.) This book tries to hide power imbalances by making it a one-upmanship game between two equals. Except that the woman is exercising the one power she does have, of not saying anything, to gain a small advantage for herself. In return, when he discovers this, the man uses his substantial power to kidnap her, take utter control of her life and promises to do so forever. Doesn't matter that it's a trick. There's a serious control issue here you're trying to pass off as sexy lovin' times.

And as soon as my brain gets involved, you know I'm going to have trouble with a book like this. Romances, I think I might stay away in the future. I'm sorry. It's not you, it's me.

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