Behind Closed Doors, by Betina Krahn

>> Monday, November 07, 2005

November Author of the Month in my Historical Romance Chat group is Betina Krahn, and, since I had one of hers I wanted to read already in my pile, I thought I'd get it in early. The book was Behind Closed Doors and it was one I'd read over 10 years ago, when it first came out. I wanted to reread it because it was one I remembered liking (but not much else) when I did my last purge of my bookshelves.


Beautiful, eager and innocent Corinna Huntington is swept up in the intrigues of the Tudor court - plunged into a world of ambition and treachery. Rampant with nefarious plots and bawdy pleasures.


Manly and magnificent Count Rugar Kalisson swears vengeance on the insulting, overbearing English who hate and scorn him for his Swedish heritage - vowing to best Elizabeth's knights in contest...and her ladies in love.


A sheltered English rose and a virile "Viking" nobleman are drawn together by rapturous and reckless passion - surrendering to the forbidden ecstasy of a bold, soul-bearing love that would inflame the wrath of a jealous Queen...and provoke a diplomatic scandal!
Well, it did NOT start well! English women are all whores, with no moral or loyalty, Rugar Kalisson says, and he means to have them all, one by one. *Groan* And just what does that make you, Rugar? I just HATE that kind of hypocritical hero. But did Rugar live up to that early (lack of) promise, or was his character something different?

He wasn't quite that bad, in the end, but he (and several other characters and plot points) were bad enough that I didn't finish this book. I got up to page 200 or so, well past the half-way point, so I can safely say I gave it a fair shake, but it got to a point where reading each extra page became a real chore, so I just gave it up.

Problems? The main thing was how "old-style" this book felt, even though it was written in 1991. It wasn't a bodice-ripper, but it was written in that style, full of larger-than-life characters I couldn't relate to and bursting with purple prose. I know there are plenty of people who miss this type of book, but I'm not one of them.

The hero was dumb as a rock (his revenge plot against Elizabeth I has to be read to be believed, it was so silly) and the heroine was the type so common 20 years ago... Corinna is spectacularly beautiful, very virginal and innocent, a talented scholar and musician and extremely boring in her feisty perfection.

I was especially looking forward to the secondary romance, because someone told me it featured one of the ladies at court who was bawdy and very sexually experienced and that she'd liked seeing a woman like that given a love story, for once, instead of being punished. But even that didn't work out very well. At the point I stopped reading, we already knew that this supposedly very sexual woman was all talk, and had slept with exactly one man after her husband died (and that was a hurried, fumbling encounter). Can you say "faux whore"? And the guy I'm pretty sure she ends up with was a judgemental dry stick. Bah!

Definitely not the book for me. And if I'd read breasts refered to as "bubbies" one more time, I'd have thrown the book so hard against the wall that I'd have left a dent!


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