There have been other books with gang rapes and less-than-stellar heroes that had me riveted to the plot and characters. I only kept reading to see if Coulter would pull out a cheap trick at the end to make the horror that had come before all puppies and kittens. The cousin taught Cassie Italian and "groomed" her to be suitable for him when the time was right. Cassie was five when his cousin arrived to start this little covert operation. His plan was to court Cassie during her Season in London and win her that way, but when her childhood friend Edward returned from serving overseas in India, she called off her Season and was going to marry him right then and there. Since Cassie has forced his hand, he has to kidnap her and show her how much he loves her! But Cassie feels her body respond because Anthony is such a peerless lover and she thinks she's an immoral whore and, as far as I can tell, sort of resigns herself to him. From that seed a love grows that only comes out into the open when she gets gang-raped by hired thugs and Anthony seems peachy-keen in comparison. In the beginning in England, Cassie and her fiancé Edward paw each other, then she gets abducted by Anthony and the action is confined to his yacht where they fight, shag, and fight in a mobius strip, and then they go to Italy where we remain enclosed in a villa for pages upon pages with the same fight/fuck/fight cycle replayed over and over. And then Cassie runs off to New York to find Edward. Dear Cassie, So Edward doesn't remember that you don't like tea! You know, Anthony? No love, Me Yes, it was the peevish harping of "But I've never liked tea, Edward!" that broke me. What "plot" there was had Anthony's half-brother and his mistress Giovanna conniving to dispose of Cassie for inheritance purposes (this is where the gang-rape/"Anthony is awesome!" epiphany came in). Therefore, at least about 95% of the book was Cassie and Anthony fighting and screwing, Cassie running away to Edward and Anthony coming after her. Coulter did pull out some "it's not as bad as you think!" asides to explain away Anthony's seemingly stalker habits ("I stopped loving your mother. I love you as a person!" and "I installed my cousin as your governess to make sure you were raised right because your dad was neglectful.") I'm not buying either BS excuse. Both sound like lame little ploys to downplay the omgjesuschristareyoukidding me behavior of Anthony.
Generally in most bodice-ripper pieces, we're accustomed to the hero's unruly antics--torture tactics and control management, but I've found it's mostly a product of revenge. It really adds insult to injury, because the hero started off in this mindset, and never really purged himself of its vulgar ideology..or perhaps the author assumes the reader isn't capable of discerning the revenge-driven plot actions to that of actions manifested on the hero's own accord for the heroine's own good and well-being.....
**comes out from under the bed** Yes I liked this book. In true bodice-ripper fashion there is love, kid-napping, adventure, villians, exotic locations and in the end a happy ending (if you like the kidnap, rape, seduce, beat, rape, seduce, escape, chase after you, but I love you anyway sort of thing) It was an entertaining read and that's all I can ask for in a book.
There wasn't even any wild fun shipwrecks or the heroine picking up a sword, although she does shoot hero at one point; it was lacking the wild kookiness dramatic flare that brings me back to these old bodice rippers.
And to all you readers who are ashamed to like this story, because you should never be ashamed about what you enjoy to read. I in no way agree with the way our main male protagonist, the earl, went about in seducing Cassandra. The only reason I was able to even like the earl's character was that he in no way wanted to "hurt" Cassie. She does actually get raped (in this instance not by the earl), which I believe is one of the negative things other readers are talking about in the book. Anyway, I really did enjoy this story, just be aware of the contents in this book. Those other readers negative opinions/reviews on the book are there for a reason, one I don't quite agree with, but take in mind that not everyone hated it and not everyone loved it.
I don't give a fuck, this was bad and made me angry and reading other reviews makes me pretty sure that not all bodice rippers are this fucking toxic.
I unapologetically loved this book. I found Anthony to be a kind of fun-loving stalker as opposed to Sean Culhane in Stormfire who was just a serious pyscho. I mean, after he initially beds the heroine against her will, he turns into a charmer of sorts.
I'm not sure who could possibly think that this hero had redemptive qualities, and the heroine's ex-fiance was not any better himself.
This was Coulters first long historical romance, published in 1985, and it is a superbly written, heart stopping, action-filled story that I could not put down. Forget the low reviews, and set aside your 21st century sensibilities and go with what may be one of the most enthralling romances Ive read in a long time. Set in the late 18th century (I estimate 1775-76), it tells the story of highborn 18-year-old Cassie Brougham, who on the day before her marriage to a Viscount she has loved for years, is abducted by 34-year-old Anthony Wells, the Earl of Clare, who has been watching her since she was a child all the while believing she is his perfect mate.