For the next bonus book, I read Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean. I gave this a solid two stars out of five. It was a pretty standard “historical” romance, with a lot of the standard cliches. Spinster woman of over twenty desperately seeking meaning/marriage finds it in the arms of desperately handsome and dangerous rich guy with issues. Wheee.
I mean, it could have been worse. The writing style itself wasn’t annoying, which helped a lot. If the author chose to write a different genre, I would probably pony up some cash for that. What sells in the romance (and historical romance) department is frequently the sort of thing that makes me roll my eyes, and the only reason I picked it up is because it was a past pick for the Vaginal Fantasy book group. Perhaps ten years ago I might have eagerly devoured the wallflower/rake setup, and enjoyed more the proper-young-lady-with-a-bucket-list aspect.
I suppose the takeaway is intended to be that when Calpurnia stopped being who society wanted her to be and started being who she wanted to be, she found love and acceptance with a man who wanted the same thing she did, which is to simply be herself and be happy. Instead, I was just annoyed by the idea that she didn’t really seem to make much internal progress, going from her familial house to a man’s house with some hanky-panky in between. I realize it takes quite a bit more for a woman to have her own house in those times, and instead of being pleased that she found a man who likes her unladylike behavior, I honestly expected the next book to be about how it was a phase and now she’s the perfect Edwardian wife and he is bored to fucking tears like the jaded hedonist he is.
Possibly Grumpycat is my spirit animal.