“I need a wife for my cousin Lucien. A wife who will bear a child, an heir to the Edgecombe estate and title….Lucien is dismembering Edgecombe. I intend to put a stop to that. And I intend to ensure that his heir is my ward…my cousin doesn’t have long to live, hence the urgency in the matter…”
“I must simply bear the child of an undesirable invalid with one foot in the – “
“Ah, no, not precisely…You will not bear Lucien’s child, my dear Juliana. You will bear mine.”
And so, on Sunday, I reluctantly began reading Jane Feather’s VICE (the irony of the fact that I was reading a book entitled such on the Lord’s Day did not escape me). Reluctantly because, after ALMOST A BRIDE, Jane Feather was not exactly on my AUTHORS TO BUY list. I was so traumatized by the experience, I held on to VICE forever, after purchasing it at a garage sale for 50 cents.
My bias was eating me up…I wanted to hate this book; I wanted to believe that Jane Feather was one of those no talent individuals that had managed to make it in life, perhaps through connections and the help of a few dimwitted women who loved her moronic take on romance. It was easier for me to believe she never had any talent. Yes, I admit it. I wanted to chuck the book out the window after 3 chapters, blame Feather for sucking ass as a writer and move on with my life, hating her books and bashing them each time a new one was released.
Yes, I wanted to do that, but we don’t always get what we want. I soon found myself powerless to fight off the intensity of the story penned by Feather. Powerless and so utterly delighted. Jane Feather reeled me in, body and soul, with her story of a marriage of convenience arranged by the hero for his cousin, a pox-ridden sociopath, and the heroine, a woman in need of protection.
Tarquin, Duke of Redmayne, is a cold, calculating, manipulative and highly sexed figure. Faced with a cousin whose behavior (he’s homosexual, something punishable by law at the time; he's also not much of a nice guy) threatens to destroy the family name and fortune, he sees no choice but to find his cousin a wife, make her his mistress and impregnate her so the scandal mongers are silenced and his cousin’s title and fortune remain within the family.
Juliana Ridge is a woman on the run from the law, after accidentally killing her husband with a bed warmer (she knocks it over his head). She is beautiful, intelligent and one of the clumsiest characters ever to grace the pages of a romance novel (I have to be honest…this really got on my nerves after a while).
Juliana flees to a high class brothel. Tarquin buys her for 3,000 guineas. The rest is a story that kept me enthralled for hours. What happens when you put together two strong, stubborn, volatile characters in romance novel? Sex! Hot sex…and I loved every minute of it.
I loved the hero – arrogant, cold and sensual…my favorite kind, a romance lover’s dream come true. He was the kind of man you knew was up to the task of protecting his heroine. I enjoyed seeing him fall in love. What I didn’t like…ok, I hope I don’t get any VICE fans upset here…I didn’t like the heroine’s continuous attempts to fight the hero. I don’t want to give too much away but…let’s just say she put herself in harm’s way too often and unnecessarily, too, I might add. It got old quickly.
Nevertheless, my enjoyment of the book was not marred by these brief moments. Juliana fit Tarquin somehow…they were perfect together. Normally, I would tell the hero to find some other woman, but in this case I simply could not. They managed to work together.
There is a lot of symbolism in the novel. I’ll let you go to AAR for more on that. From a purely romantic point of view, the love story was hot. The chemistry was intense.
However, I was left with a sour taste in my mouth once I finished the book. I now had concrete proof that Jane Feather could write. All I could do was ask myself, again and again…WHAT HAPPENED?
I highly recommend VICE.
Hero – A+
Heroine – B
Hot Story – A+
Sex – A+
Overall Score – A-