Strip the Willow and Rip the Bodice

Because everyone needs a hobby …

I must really not have liked this book … July 3, 2010

I ended up falling asleep again yesterday … yeah. And then I went to first night here and had some free wine so … things happen, ya know?

But I was thinking – I really must not like this book. It isn’t even bad in a ‘it’s so bad it’s good’ way. It’s just … blah. I really want not that much to do with it. I still have posts to do though and damn it all – I’m going to write them.

Plus, my reward will be my week off – yay!

Wahoo!

So – rereading what I wrote the other day, I’m supposed to talk about sexuality in the novel. I will say that I remember some time ago writing that the sex usually comes in around page 200 give or take – this book proved to be an exception. Not only in that it took place later with only ‘hot and heavy’ kisses leading up, but that the first ‘encounter’ was a dud.

“But he was kissing her, deep boneless kisses, the kind that made her wind her arms around the neck, and pull his body down onto hers.

Her hands slid down his back and onto his bottom, curved over warm muscles, slipped between his legs. ‘You -‘ His voice was pained. He arched his back. ‘Oh God, Isidore, that feels so good.’

She started laughing and his mouth came down on hers with desperation. And then he pressed against her. It was extremely odd. Like a door opening, Isidore though. First there was only herself, and then somehow there was room enough for him as well.

He made a rough sound, low in his throat and pressed deeper. Isidore waited for the pain that was supposed to come, but nothing happened.

Well, that was good.

He pulled back and then thrust forward again.

It felt good. It did. Well, perhaps it didn’t feel that good. There was a little fulling feeling that she didn’t care for all that much. Isidore tried to push away that disloyal though. He was supposed to do whatever, and she could just do what she wished …

… He did that thrusting thing.

The trust was, she really didn’t care for it that much.” p.262-263

It sounds like what the dentist told me when I was getting my tooth pulled – ‘you’ll feel the pulling, but you shouldn’t feel pain.’ Yeah yuck.

Afterwards, Isidore tells him that:

“‘It’s not something I would want to do every day,’ she continued, ‘but from what I hear, people don’t do it all that often anyway.'” p.266

Yeah …

Credit where credit is due though – this is the first ‘dud’ I’ve come across in six books. Granted, of course it all gets better. But in a strange way. Cosway (Simeon) is all ‘I want to show you how my body works’ and it’s just … blah. You pretty much know sex gets better once they figure it out. The whole book would be a dud in the genre if it didn’t. So that wasn’t shocking at all.

But, as I said, credit where credit’s due – we have a dud!

Wahoo.

Sure, there’s talk of an annulment because Isidore isn’t want Cosway thinks he wants, they get one but end up getting married again because their in ‘luv’ – shock shock, awe!

Why am I so bitter?

I really think I got myself all hyped up after enjoying Duchess by Night then feeling all blah with When the Duke Returns.

But then … then there was the side characters. Jemma and Villiers – perhaps the saving grace (or would be saving grace) of the novel. They’re pretty much fantastic.

Exhibits A & B of many:

“‘So what of our match?’ she asked, surprised by her own keen disappointment in his refusal of chess.

‘One move a day … that match?’

‘Yes, that match,’ she said. ‘Do you have so many outstanding matches that you don’t remember? To bring it to your recollection, I have won one game, and you have won one game. That leaves one game to break the tie.’

‘I do remember now,’ he said, watching her under his eyelids. ‘Let me see … if our match when into a third game, the last one was to be played blindfolded in bed.’

‘Precisely.’ Jemma folded her hands. ‘I’m so happy that’s it’s come back to do you. I have been training my maid, Brigitte, so she can stand next to the bed and move our pieces appropriately.’

‘I did not picture the bedchamber occupied by others than ourselves.’

‘Life is positively full of disappointments.'” p.74

“She looked up at him for a moment, and the edge of her mouth curled up. ‘You’ll play again.’

‘I will trust you to wait for me.’

‘I was never very good at waiting for men.’ Jemma was startled to hear the words come from her mouth. In one sense, she meant her husband. She waited three years for Elijah to fetch her from Paris when they were young, after she had flung herself across the Channel in a rage. He didn’t visit until the fourth year, and by then it was too late. She had found a lover, and put her marriage behind her.

Villiers’s heavy-lidded eyes dropped. ‘I on the other hand, am very good at waiting. For you, Jemma … I would wait quite a long time.'” p.75

Now come on – look at those fantastic conversations? It’s well disappointing that the next book … well, that’s the next post, isn’t it?

I think I’m finding an issue that I’ve never addressed until now in these books. Marriage is all fine and dandy for the main protagonists – but what about these side characters? What if a marriage simply doesn’t work?

Why can’t we have Jemma and Villiers?

Don Draper is waiting for your answer.

So –

PALATE CLEANSER! CLICK ME!

Reference

James, Eloisa. When the Duke Returns. New York: Avon Books, 2008.

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