Bodice Ripper, Fiction, gothic romance, Historical Romance

Number 11: A Book With Less Than 2022 Goodreads Ratings

The Demon Lover

Victoria Holt

I have a confession to make…

I could not finish this one.

I tried! After all, I take this challenge very seriously. I made a commitment. I will read two books a week until the end of 2022 if it turns my eye sockets to mush. If my apartment is on fire and my car rolls off a cliff, I will still read two books a week and report it here.

I mean, it was touch-and-go when I discovered the long-running Bravo classic Shahs of Sunset, which had nine glorious seasons to catch up on. But I am nothing if not ruthless in my binge-watching, and I am now caught up. So, I am back to the 52 Book Challenge like the book-challenge-blogger I aspire to be!

But I only read about halfway through this one because the content was… not great.

There was a lot to love about it. The setting was idyllic, the characters were sociopathic, the romantic lead was also named Kate. So far so good. After all, historical fiction is my genre, and while this was set in the regency era, it felt exactly like a time machine to the 1980s.

Tragically, the ’80s are a dated decade and nothing about them feels more dated than the way they talked about date rape.

So it was not a shock that the rape scene happened. In the context of its era, it was even rather demure. We don’t read the act itself as it was happening (thank you baby Jesus). Instead, the author mercifully treated the reader to a fade-to-black scene with all the scary bits cut out.

For that I thank her.

However, I am a finicky reader, and I have no tolerance for sexual violence. Even when it is absolutely necessary to the plot (and it’s rarely as necessary as writers seem to think), I spend the entirety of those scenes annoyed and wondering why. Why it is always so necessary to so many plots? Do we live in a world where with so many stories about people being violated?

Surely there are other forms of character development out there.

So I did not finish. Moving on!

To anyone who did manage to finish this book, send me an email. How did the whole romance turn out? Is there any way those crazy kids got a happy ending?

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