Forever a Lady, by Delilah Marvelle

>> Saturday, May 25, 2013

TITLE: Forever a Lady
AUTHOR: Delilah Marvelle

COPYRIGHT: 2012
PAGES: 384
PUBLISHER: HQN

SETTING: 19th century England and US
TYPE: Romance
SERIES: None

TWO DIFFERENT CLASSES, ONE COMMON DESIRE...

Lady Bernadette Marie Burton may be the richest widow in England, but like her dreams of finding true passion, her reputation is deteriorating. Cruel gossip, loneliness and hoards of opportunistic suitors have her believing Society couldn't be more vile...or dangerous. So when an attacker threatens her life, she finds safety in the most unseemly of places: the arms of a mysterious, Irish-American gang leader. His fortune stolen, young Matthew Milton is done playing the respectable gentleman. In the slums of New York, only ruffians thrive. But from the moment he arrives in London and encounters the voluptuous Lady Bernadette, he can't help but wonder about the finer pleasures he's missing. Or just how much he's willing to risk-not only to bed her, but to prove his worth...
Another disappointment. I was intrigued at the idea of the plot: a heroine who's a rich widow with a deteriorating reputation, a hero who's a "mysterious, Irish-American gang leader", according to the summary.

20% in, though, I can't stand it and will not read more. The characters' behaviour has much too many WTF moments, and I really, really, really don't like the writing. The word-choice is too often inappropriate to what's clearly the intended meaning, and the writing is horrendously purple and melodramatic, and from the Thesaurus School of Prose. Here's Bernadette, explaining why she doesn't want to go back to London:
"The last time I was in London [...] I had a man break into my home, intent on proving to me that he could beget me with his child in the hopes of beguiling me into matrimony. And he was the friendliest of my money-salivating suitors."
First, even I, for whom English is a 2nd language, know that you don't use 'beget' that way. I don't know the grammatical terms and rules, but you beget a child (e.g. "Abraham begot Isaac"), and get someone with child. You do NOT 'beget someone with child'. Second, 'beguile' her into matrimony? We're talking about someone breaking into her house here, so this seems to be someone trying to rape her. If it was a lover trying to make her pregnant so she would have to marry him, 'beguile', with its connotations of trickery and deception, might possibly work, but with rape, sorry, no. 'Persuade' would have been a much better choice here, in the euphemistic sort of way the author seems to be trying for. And then we get that nonsensical phrase, those 'money-salivating' suitors, which provides entirely the wrong image. They're salivating for her money, or at the thought of her money, not salivating money.

And another one: here's one of those "money-salivating suitors", angry that Bernadette dared have him investigated and found out he was, indeed, a money-salivating suitor:
"Because your one true wish in this, Bernadette, was never to love me. [...] Even though you licked and swallowed my seed in unending pleasure."
Honestly, that one just made me laugh. The whole book is written like that, and even with the occasional laugh at the ridiculousness of the writing, I couldn't stand to keep reading.

And then I went to goodreads to have a look at reviews, to see if there was any reason for me to continue (I don't know what I was hoping for, maybe someone saying that the writing calms down a bit after the start and the story's amazing). There I found a review by E_booklover, from the Bookpushers blog, which made me very glad I didn't continue. It's the penultimate paragraph in the review, mainly. That would have pissed me off no end, and my kindle would have been in danger.

MY GRADE: A DNF.

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