I have been on a re-read kick and this is another re-read of Catherine Coulter for me. She has a distinct style: very crude sex scenes, big men who could compete in the world's biggest asshole contest, small women who fight like wild cats if their husbands are threatened, male villains with outrageous hints at their "overly feminine" qualities, rape or at least forced intercourse or rough sex as punishment for females. I have read many of her books in my youth and did not grow up to think it's ok to force sex on anyone so I really think the argunent: "we should not glorify rape in romances" can give it a rest already. It's a novel and should be read knowing that such wild fantasies serve an entertaining purpose, not educational. It is like blaming video games for violence. The real problem is people's inablility to separate fantasy from reality. Not the medium itself. I read novels from Catherine Coulter and it does not mean I think it is ok for any man to "behave thusly".
I am getting carried away, I realize that. It is just novels from Coulter usually offend our 21st century sensibilities. I understand some people find such plots hard to digest. But I still think the real culprit is not books, but what we do with the ideas the books present us. If the books are to blame why don't we all get rid of snow white too? We should not encourage our little girls to just sit around and wait for her Prince on the white horse to rescue her. How offensive an idea for modern females!
OK enough of that.
The Heiress Bride is probably the most coherent story in the original Sherbrooke trilogy. Joan (I also do not like her nickname and I refuse to use it lol) really is a nut job and I just don't like her very much. Things she does and says make my skin crawl. I pity Colin to have married such a woman.
I find that writers often write such a female character: a high-born lady who is spoiled by her protective brothers, learned to do all the manly stuff and bested her brothers occasionally. She takes great pride in it and does not care much for her femininity. If we readers are lucky she at least wears dresses, not breeches. She is an "almost spinster" because her lovingly protective brothers, who are assholes to every other woman, allow her to act like an idiotic heiress that she is. But when she sees the man she wants, she goes all out, jumps him, dares him, throws herself at him, does all kinds of outrageous things to "win his heart".
That, is Joan Elaine Winthrope Sherbrooke, aka Sinjun, a ridiculous nickname for a ridiculous woman.
She met the hero Colin at a party and immediately decided this is the man she was going to marry (what??). Then she went around suggesting to Colin that she had money that he needed so he would do well to marry her as soon as possible (what??). Colin, being appalled at such outrageous behaviors from Joan but desparately for funds, went along. Joan had a horrible "wedding night" because all Coulter heroines have to suffer somd kind of sexual mistreatment to make the heros feel very guilty. Then he left her alone in his castle with his 2 children from the first marriage, who he neglected to tell Joan, an evil aunt and a sister-in-law who obviously has a thing for Colin. Someone wanted to kill Colin and therefore Joan was in danger too. Then Joan was left to her own devices to battle with the children, the aunt and the sister-in-law and Colin's assumed mortal enemy, who incidentally, is not the real villain.
The story continues so on and so forth. I feel that the plots are rather irrelevant in this book. It is how the characters interact with each other that is on center stage. Joan's brothers and sisters-in-law play an important role. I have to say for a Coulter book, the sex part is extremely down-played in The Heiress Bride.
I am always amazed by how I get through a Coulter book. Her stories and characters are very often bitter pills to swallow. Let's just say it is not for the faint-hearted. I wince and grimace and close my eyes in disblief, but I read on. Her stories are often ridiculous, her characters outrageous. But I just HAVE TO go on to find out just what happened. It is usually difficult for me to read a book if I dislike a character intensely. But never in a Coulter book. It is like watching a horror film. You know it will scare the hell out of you, but your eyes are glued to the screen. Or you steal a few looks through the spaces between your fingers (I do that), as if minimized exposure would lessen the horror.
I think I have blabbered enough about this book. I cannot recommend the book but I know I have read the Sherbrooke trilogy multiple times and will probably return to them at a later time. I have them in paperback and now in kindle version. For a 3 star rating, I am surprised at the hold Coulter's books have on me.