Invitation to Ruin by Bronwen Evans
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
This book starts out with a mistaken-identity rape of sleeping respectable girl (instead of her slutty cousin). Well, it seems mistaken but it soon becomes quite clear that the hero has been set up by his TOTALLY INSANE family members to do this because they think this girl is right for him (WTF? moment #1).
At any rate, this little horrorshow inevitably, as this is a Regency romance, leads to an engagement as opposed to prosecution. But the hero is adverse to having children--he doesn't want to pass on his father's legacy of abuse--so he won't repeat his "mistake" with his fiancee/wife although he's been a total manslut to date (WTF? moment #2).
While the hero and heroine are trying to establish their relationship, a pair of perverted (in graphic detail!) villains/slavers try to keep this pair apart by kidnapping the heroine in order to sell her as a sex slave. The villains in this book are over the top in their awfulness, and I was really put off by the detail about their sadistic sexual practices and also the horrible assault on the heroine--which itself was sort of waved away by the characters at the end as a total nonissue, in the final WTF? moment of the book--near the end of the book, the villain perpetuates an sexual assault on the heroine. Which is totally NOT DEALT WITH at all in the book--the characters are all like "Oh, she wasn't raped, thank God" and the heroine is told and decides not even to tell her husband about it--like being forced to give oral sex is really not "rape rape" (to quote Whoopi Goldberg). The emotional fallout from this sort of thing in the real world--especially the Regency milieu when oral sex was probably considered sodomy or an act against nature--would have been intense, and IMO it should have been dealt with in some way during the denouement. I'm still getting hot face thinking about it.
I really can't in good conscience recommend this book. Major chunks of plot made no sense at all and too much of it was repulsive but written in a way that made you wonder if it wasn't meant to be titillating too. Just...ugh.
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