Have you ever put down a book, unfinished, but still recommended it to a friend? Or read a new-to-you author, didn’t finish the book, and picked up another by that author? I have done neither of these things but with Bound by Temptation, I probably would.
Clara, the Countess of Westington is trying to change her life. She married for love, she married higher up than her stations, and when her husband died, Clara went a little wild. She’s become famous for her daring ways and her generous charms but Clara has decided that enough is enough. She’s tired of being the “bad girl” and just wants to settle down and live a quiet life. Helping out her motivation is her stepson’s, the Earl of Westington, desire to marry a respectable girl. He’s in love with a local woman who’s father doesn’t really approve of Clara. So Clara has promised to behave herself and save her stepson a lot of heartache.
I’m not usually one for the strong, independent, I-am-a-sexual-goddess heroine but Clara got to me anyway. She was vulnerable when she needed to be, strong when the situation called for it, and smart. A lot of those type of heroines fall into the too stupid to live category but Clara (as far as I read) never did.
Kent’s writing style is sharp. The prose and pacing is very tight and I was never jerked out of the story by an odd turn of phrase or amateurish writing. The plot was interesting and kept me guessing as to what would happen next. So on paper, it sounds like I should love this book, right? Um, wrong.
My problem lies entirely with the hero, one Jonathan Masters. Look, I know we all love a hero who starts out like a jerk but can be reformed by the love of one lovely lady. And I know that sometimes those heroes act like asses right up until the very last minute. I get it. I sometimes like it. But this time? Not so much.
Jonathan Masters is everything that is respectable. He worked hard to pull his family from the depths of scandal and poverty, but along the way he sacrificed one sister to a loveless marriage (to a much older man) and another sister has gone missing because of his demanding, hard ways. When Masters meets Clara (um, he kidnapped her because he thought she stole a watch from him and he wanted to teach her a lesson …that should have been my first clue) I thought things would begin to turn around with him. Especially after he and Clara had a delightful interlude in a secluded part of the country house. But, no, it didn’t. And good gracious is the man a prig! He preaches. He snorts in disgust. He professes to disapprove of Clara yet can’t keep his hands off her. I stopped reading at this point. Page 207. Check it out.
“Any why should his interests be the same as hers?” Clara felt fire rising in her belly.
“Because he is her husband. Man and wife are one person and that person is the husband.” He spoke with all seriousness.
Ok, Birdie is done reading this book. I love historicals just as much as the next reader. And I know that, historically speaking, men did think this way. But it was the middle of the book and he hadn’t softened one bit. I couldn’t read another page of this man’s boring, arrogant drivel.
The thing is, a lot of readers would love this book. A lot of readers soak up the hero who will be changed. This time, I didn’t. I couldn’t stick around to read that moment because I knew it wouldn’t make up for Masters’ insufferableness.
I might read Kent again, and I would recommend this book with a few cautions, but for me this book was a DNF at page 207.
Clara, the Countess of Westington, is one of the ton’s most scandalous women.
Jonathan Masters has spent his life striving to be one of its most respected members.
Of all the beds in London, she had to wind up tied to his.