The Ruthless Charmer, by Julia London

>> Monday, December 23, 2002

I also started The Ruthless Charmer, by Julia London, part of "The Rogues of Regent Street" trilogy.

Plot summary:

"Julian Dane, the Earl of Kettering is being slowly tormented by guilt. Once Phillip's Rothembow's constant companion in gaming rooms and notorious boudoirs, he struggles with Phillip's death for months until he is teetering on the brink of self-destruction. Phillip's death has made Julian believe he harms those he loves. Phillip is not the first--as the guardian of four younger sisters, Julian has never been able to overcome his guilt at having lost one to fever. He believes he didn't do enough to save Valerie, and now, after months of painful reflection, he is quite certain he didn't do enough to save Phillip--because he secretly loved Phillip's intended, Claudia Whitney. It is a guilt that plagues Julian almost unto death--until he sees Claudia again. The desire for her is too strong, overpowering his guilt, and Julian fears he will stop at nothing to have her.

Unfortunately for Julian, he is the last person Claudia wants to see. Having known the most handsome Rogue for years, she sees nothing more than a charming rakehell with a horrid reputation for loving and leaving. Worse, she believes it was Julian who led Phillip down a path of debauchery and finally, death. A forward thinking daughter of an influential duke, Claudia would rather become a spinster than attach herself to the likes of Julian Dane. But as hard as she might, she cannot deny the strong physical attraction she has to him.

It is an extremely compromising situation that throws them together. But it is their growing desire for one another that pulls Julian back from the brink of despair by showing him the quality of love and infusing him with a revived will to live."

Posted later...

I haven't finished The Ruthless Charmer yet. It's been hard going, basically because most of the plot has been fueled by misunderstandings and miscommunications. This is SO frustrating!

...and posted later still:

I've finished it now. I skimmed the last 50 pages, because it seemed like a shame not to see how it ended, but what I really wanted to do was to throw this book against a wall and never touch it again. I actually did throw it against a wall, but I picked it up again and finished it, and then put it on my trade shelf. What a waste of time and of a potentially interesting storyline! A D, at most.

I've no idea why I had such a violent reaction to it. It didn't just bore me, it offended me and made my stomach ache with frustration at the stupid, stupid characters. Julian had so much potential! But London just had to pair him with that witless Claudia Whitney! Oh, she had her heart in the right place, as a real feminist, but that only prompted anti-feminism from most other characters, and that just made me angry. And what was the message of that imbecile Sophie's storyline? "Girls, the men in your family really do know best what's good for you"?

I hated Sophie's subplot. I especially detest it when characters like that evil wife-beater William Stanwood get away with it. Julian got a divorce for Sophie, but he had to give Stanwood 50.000 lbs. to get it. If that isn't getting away with murder then I don't know what it is.

And I hated the way Julian and Claudia's relationship progressed, all that back and forth because of little misunderstandings and miscommunications. Frustrating, that's the word for this whole book.

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