Sigh......I really like Amanda Quick's writing. Really. It is always as if she was telling me the story right in front of me. I would follow her to the end of the world in her story. I have read almost every one of her so called one-word books and I remember ALL of them in great details. I think that says something about a writer's storytelling ability.
But then her heroines always destroy it for me. When I read Surrender as a young woman, I thought Victoria rather smart. I liked all her spunk, her independence, her zest for life and her belief in doing the right things. Now......I find her slightly offensive.
Victoria, another Quick heroine, smart and independent, slightly on the shelf, curious about life and has a secret. Quite honestly she isn't bad. But I wanted to throttle her when she made Lucas accompany her on those stupid nightly outings, seeing a hell, visiting a brothel etc. She seemed like a bored woman who had nothing else to occupy her lonely nights. I know, she was running from her secret and the nights were challenging. But I was disappointed in her. She put herself and Lucas in danger, because she needed to distract herself. And she made it that much worse, by always putting her nose where it did not belong and pushed Lucas to "do the right things" because she "believed that was what he should do."
I think it is dumb of Victoria to come up with these "activities" to keep herself separated from her nightmares. I understand why and sympathize with her, but I think it showed a rather unattractive side of her character, that is of course, my opinion. I also think it is obnoxious for Victoria to make Lucas do things that she believed were the right things to do. For example: save a friend from losing his shirt at a gambling hell and save a girl from prostitution. I imagine Quick put those plots in to show what a compassionate woman Victoria was. But I got really annoyed with her self-righteousness. You want to save these poor souls, you do it yourself. If you can't, find a way to do it yourself. Victoria asked Lucas to step in in her stead. Poor Lucas, who was at that point ruled by his penis, always agreed to do what Victoria asked him to do. I also believe that it was supposed to build up Lucas's character as a man who would eventually do the right thing, despite his allegedly cold heart.
Victoria, is a woman that pushed all my buttons. A know-it-all willful woman who thought her ideas were better and would not back down until something terrible happened. I would call her a quiet shrew, there are shrew heroines who throw hissy fits when things don't go their ways and there are shrewish heroines, who are basically shrew heroines minus the hissy fits. I admire strength and I admire gentle strength even more. While I do respect Victoria's tenacity, I do not like her. I would prefer someone who does what she does with kindness. Not "oh but Lucas, of course you must save him/her."
Lady, there is no must, at least, not from you. People must do what they do of their own accord. You could believe in whatever you want and use whatever means you believe necessary to achieve your goal. But telling others that they must do something because it is your belief...................well lady, muzzle it already.
Victoria in the first half, was a bored heiress who was running from her secret. She risked her reputation, her aunt's reputation, her life and Lucas' life for that. A woman who seriously needed a firm hand to take her in. She was bored alright and had way too much money for her own good. She could have devoted herself to doing some good. She didn't. She took risks, enjoyed life, wanted excitement in her boring rich life. She met Lucas, and Lucas gave her exactly that, because Lucas needed an heiress. Victoria felt ill-used, while I understand the sentiment, I couldn't help but feel that she got what she deserved. She was not exactly making it difficult for Lucas. She slept with him willingly, or rather enthusiastically, and found herself in a compromised position. It was not great, but honey, what did you think was going to happen?
Victoria in the second half, was a "mature" married woman with wounded pride, who was trying to make the best out of her "misery". She was angry that Lucas picked her for her money. She was in reality, a star-eyed woman whose pride had been wounded because it turned out the man she loved married her for her money. Lucas and Victoria made their reconciliation in the second half while saving Lucas poverty-stricken tenants. Victoria then became the capable managing woman. Honestly I think she should be grateful that Lucas gave her a purpose in life. There were other heiresses who would gladly marry Lucas and Lucas would have had a ok marriage as well. But Victoria would have been a rich spinster who numbed herself with parties and were constantly on the hunt for new excitements in life because she had no real purpose in life. If there was any woman who needed to be "taken in by a firm male hand", I would nominate Victoria. She needed Lucas, not the other way around.
It should be evident that I am not a fan of Victoria. Everything about her screamed a spoiled bored willful woman who secretly just wanted to a man to love her. Any less determined man than Lucas would have been completely unmanned by her. I am glad that she was paired with Lucas who certainly did rein her in, as much as she would like to deny it. She was lucky that Lucas was willing to put up with her shxt. I would have run to the next heiress who wasn't so full of herself.