Another book that I like well enough but am not able to rate it better than 3 stars (and 3.5 stars if I am allowed the half star).
I saw that this book was first published in 2008? Even back then she was great at writing the intimate scenes. She could use very crude language but manages to not cheapen the act. Her sex scenes are always done tastefully with an animalistic flair, reducing the lead characters to their basest instincts and by doing that, elevating the relationship to an emotional level which does not allow the characters to participate in the sexual act without investing emotionally. If that makes sense at all?
In short: the sex scenes are as hot as they get.
Emeline is one hell of a snob but I don't dislike her. That along is no small feat considering how I detest having a mother for my heroine. The fact I don't hate Emeline is proof that I liked the book well enough. But all the negative reviews are well-grounded. She is a hard character to like. She was kind of shallow, placing great importance on money and rank. And the reason why she felt so "alone" is because her brother, husband and father, all men who were supposed to protect her, died and left her all alone, that she could "never just be and relax". When that "never just be and relax" line popped up very late in the book, I was finally tipped off. I know it was normal for her to feel that way, but I was offended by that line. Yes it is great and all if you could be one of those "kept" women, but not all of us have the luck. And we did not all turn into such a shallow ninny.
I also read other reviewers' objection to the "forced sex". I can see where they are coming from but I could not share that sentiment. I as a woman in no way condone sexual abuse. I just do not think that what happened between Sam and Emeline was forced. It was rough, yeah. But that is as far as I would go.
I really must say though, even though this is not Elizabeth's best work, it is still MUCH better written than a lot of 5 stars romance novels out there, which I could barely turn 2 pages. Granted, I think the story itself needs work. Too loose, too easy, too convenient too cliched but I enjoyed the book still better than a lot of my 3 star books. Hoyt does write a compelling story, though slow-paced at times and not her best work, I would still place it above A LOT OF the mediocre stoeis out there.