Monday, October 6, 2014

Retro Review

This is the first review I posted to my blog and recently a fellow reviewer did a review as well and her thoughts are very similar to mine so I decided I would re-post my musings. Enjoy!

A desperate Wager by EM Taylor

Nathaniel Spencer, the Fourteenth Duke of Kirkbourne wakes up with an almighty hangover and a wager note in his pocket stating he has agreed to marry the Earl of Brackingham’s daughter. And he can’t even remember ever meeting the chit. Clearly his drinking has got out of hand. 

Lady Sarah Steele is horrified when her father announces that the Duke of Kirkbourne has agreed to marry her and even more horrified that her father wagered her hand in a game of cards. Not only that, but the earl has not told the duke of the riding accident that left Sarah paralysed when she was sixteen. But he’s dying and she knows he wants to see her settled before the inevitable happens. 

Despite Nate’s drinking and Sarah’s possible complicity in the earl’s plan, they agree to marry. But when accidents start to happen, the newly-weds must deal not only with the fact they are practically strangers, but they must find out who is trying to kill one or both of them. Nate’s drink problem and Sarah’s disability are only a couple of the hurdles they must face to find lasting love. 

This book contains scenes of an adult nature.

Published & Release Date: Self-published August 25, 2014

Time and setting: Regency England

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Heat Level: 3 Flames

Rating: 3 Gold Crowns

Vikki’s Musings

I really wanted to like this book, since the story line is so unique, but I just couldn't buy it, just too many plot holes. This story had so much potential, but did not deliver. Another problem for me, it has tons of missing words, and the dialogue is very stiff, no contractions AT ALL. Lots of sentences ended with "did he not", "will you not", etc. I'm sure the author did this hoping to make it sound more authentic for the Regency period, but 21st century women are reading it, not early 19th century.

I struggled with Nate's character, and he does not truly have a drinking problem. He's temporarily distraught and feels guilty because his friend has died. When he died is not discussed, but I got the impression it was recent. Many people will drink too much, get drunk and act stupid when something like that happens. However, if someone really is an alcoholic, they don't normally just stop drinking and suffer no signs of distress. Every day is a struggle, as they fight the temptation to not take a drink. All of a sudden, Nate doesn't drink anymore, no struggle, no fighting temptation, nothing. The scenes where he is in his cups are not very well-written. He comes across as a jerk to be quite honest and says some very hurtful things to Sarah, and it's not like he doesn't remember saying them when he is sober. He's aware he's hurting her as he says them.

When we first meet Sarah, we are told she is paralyzed below the waist and has very little sensation in her lower extremities. Yet she is able to use crutches and wears leg braces, then somehow manages to walk down the aisle of the church without help? No, I don't buy that. At one point, Nate takes her slippers off, and she does not feel anything, not a tingle, no toes wiggling, nothing. She tells Nate often that she feels no pain. If someone does not feel anything in their lower extremities, they cannot walk. Yet, he somehow manages to balance her on his feet so they can waltz, a sweet scene, just not very believable. 

I found the detail in the sexual scenes tedious and not very erotic at all. I understand that the author may have felt it was necessary because of her disabilities, but personally I would have rather been able to leave it to my imagination. I think she devoted way too much of the story to this. I will say that Nate definitely comes across as a caring, considerate lover, willing to go to any lengths to ensure her pleasure. 

Now, for the villain of the story, just too trite, everything wrapped up too easily, no mess, no fuss. The author did hold this card close to her chest, and didn't give anything away until the end, which kept me guessing and willing to continue reading to find out. 

I always try to find something positive to say, even when I don't care for a book, and I do not rate books below three stars, even when I probably should. I can say that the book shows the Regency period very well and the pacing is good, no sagging middle, which is great. I am glad that Nate and Sarah achieved their HEA, and the ending is very satisfying. If you enjoy a book with lots of sexual scenes, then this may be the book for you. Happy reading!

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