Sex Scene Length: 🍆
Audiobook Narration: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
(Possible safety issues: abuse, suicidal tendencies, death of a child, miscarriage, other woman)
This is the third book in the series and I’m really disappointed with it. I enjoyed the first one and absolutely loved the second. This one fell totally flat for me.
I’ll start with the audio narration. I usually love Derek Perkins as a narrator. He’s one of my favorites. But I didn’t enjoy his reading of this one. The women were all dreadful to listen to, a problem I haven’t had with him before. He read them nasally and whiny. There was so much crying in this book and the women were all obnoxious about it. I don’t think I would have thought that if I had read it on my own. But it made some already awful characters nearly unbearable.
The book itself was quite boring. The story is about Rabbie and Bernadette. Rabbie is betrothed for financial and alliance reasons to Avalene. An annoying, spoiled, entitled and also emotionally (and possibly physically) abused 17 year old girl. I forgave most of her annoyances during the first half of the book due to the abuse at the hands of her father. But there are a number of scenes inside her head and she turned out to be manipulative, rude, and obnoxious. Every time it switched to her perspective I was super annoyed and couldn’t wait to get through it.
Bernadette is Avalene’s maid. So she and Rabbie could not be together of course. You’d think this would set the whole book up for some high-wrought angst, and while there was lots of hand-wringing and crying, it failed to make me feel for them. I mostly wanted all the whining and complaining to stop.
Rabbie was not a compelling hero. He begins the book suicidal and miraculously stops being suicidal because he found love. I just hate when things like that are solved in books by love. It wasn’t just unhappiness. It was a genuine wish for death and a serious desire to take his own life. His previous fiance Had died and he couldn’t deal with it. Everything was about that. And there were a number of flashbacks looking in his relationship with her. Told in a strange present tense like an onlooker and not from Rabbie’s perspective. They were boring and not heartfelt. There was nothing else going on with him and honestly can’t think of anything to say.
You’d think with all the trigger warnings I put at the beginning of this there would be lots of emotional depth. But it failed there too. It just never got to a point where I cared about either of them. I didn’t believe their love. I have no idea why they wanted each other.
Additionally, there were several side plot lines included that basically served no purpose, never resolved themselves and then needed to be tied up during the epilogue. For a book that had to wrap up so much in the epilogue, I’m not sure why it felt like absolutely nothing happens before getting there.
Finally, the steam and feels were lacking. I found the last book to be butterflies galore. But this book had merely a few echoes of that. There were two sex scenes and two kisses. That’s it. For the first half of the book they hardly talked and I kept wondering when the romance was going to start. When it finally did, I didn’t feel anything.
So for me this was not Julia London’s finest hour. I would not read this book again, nor would I recommend it.