Michael Bourne is a Lord who lost everything on a single wager at the age of twenty-one except for his title. For ten years he has schemed and dreamed of regaining his childhood lands and getting revenge on the man who pushed him to bet it all and took it all away. When he learns that the piece of land he wants the most has changed hands and is now attached as a dowry to a woman he knew as a young girl, he is determined to marry her and have the land regardless of how she may feel about it.
Penelope remembers Michael as a dear, childhood friend, but soon finds that he’s a total asshat when he forces her to marry him. But as we all know, that isn’t how the story goes, right? Because they both still have those fond memories of each other, and they are both attracted to each other and want the other to be happy.
I thought the book was pretty good. I enjoyed the story, and the sex was nice and steamy. I liked the characters, although I obviously felt like punching the main characters, especially when they so obviously liked/loved each other but of course felt like they couldn’t let the other know. It’s a pet peeve of mine in romance books. The book was easy and the problems never felt insurmountable to me, although it always seems that way to the characters.
But there’s something else I wanted to briefly vent about. And I’m sure it has been discussed in this group before, but I haven’t been a part of this talk yet. I’m having a major issue reconciling how I feel about romance novels and how men treat the women–especially forced marriage, sexual coercion and rape. And even worse–what is wrong with me that I can possibly enjoy these books (not rape because although there are some romance novels that go there, I draw the line at that–seduction, fine. Rape? Nope.)? Because I do, dammit! It makes me angry and frustrated and I’m screaming in my head the whole time, but there’s also a part of me enjoying the damn thing and waiting for what I know is the inevitable falling in love part and sexy, fun time. Is it because I know this is a “safe” and “sure thing”? I know that although this isn’t something I’d want to happen to me in real life (the abduction and forced marriage part), because I know this is just part of a romance novel formula–I guess their version of a fucking meet cute–that I can allow myself to be okay with this? Because I’m totally not okay with this.
But you know what I did immediately after finishing this book? I bought the second fucking book. Because although it pissed me off, it also got my lions going, and I also enjoyed most of the storytelling when the leads weren’t being total idiot dill-holes and the man wasn’t being a fucking prick. I enjoyed the book and I hate myself a little for it. So…. a solid 3.5, but because of the self-hatred, I’m going with a 3. But don’t let that deter you if you enjoy romance. It was enjoyable. I’m just obviously in a mood now.
(By the way, my husband’s nickname for romance novels is “Catch-me, fuck-me books”)