I love Eloisa James. "How Beauty Tamed the Beast" was the first romance I read and adored, and I love her. Right now I'm in shock.
I was just really upset when I closed this book. I had been expecting to be wallowing in happy tears, or openly smiling.
I'm going to go through the things that were just NOT OKAY HERE.
1. James is unfaithful, and I never heard him apologize for it. No matter how you write it, HE WAS UNFAITHFUL. (And he says later, "It was just 3 women." JUST. THREE. WOMEN? Is that supposed to be comforting?)
2. I don't think he ever truly apologized for ANY of his actions. Theo had to live with the fact that all of society thought her husband left her because he thought she was ugly. She had to deal with her father-in-law and mother's deaths ALONE, while James dealt with everything with his buddy and his mistresses by his side.
3. Then he invades her HOME, grabs her and carries her around AFTER SHE TELLS HIM TO STOP, takes over her staff and tells her servants TO IGNORE HER WISHES, physically ACCOSTS her in front of the press, AND BETS HIS FRIEND HE'LL SEDUCE HER BEFORE HIM BECAUSE OF COURSE THAT'S WHAT YOU DO AFTER YOU'RE UNFAITHFUL AND YOU COME HOME. And then he makes up for everything by:
4. Having a boner for a few hours. BECAUSE, YES, THIS MAKES UP FOR EVERYTHING. Show her you really care by not attacking her while she's trying to take a bath. That's sweet.
And after all this:
5. She takes him back.
For a while I was proud of Theo. She was letting him know that she didn't WANT him back, that she was fully capable of taking care of herself, that he had treated her really awfully and that she wanted nothing more to do with him. HE was the one who thoroughly messed up in the first place. SHE owed him absolutely nothing. She stood her ground, acted like a lady, and brushed off his creepy advances. (Which were also incredibly obnoxious. So obnoxious that I was really hoping she would just eventually hit his balls with a fire iron while yelling "WHO'S SORRY NOW?!")
But then for some reason this strong-willed, incredibly independent women just lets this excuse for a man take over her life because she can't ignore the power of his awesome body.
I joke about romance heroines throwing heroes out. All the time. Because they can, temporarily, be complete boneheads. But I don't mean it. Eventually these guys realize they've been horrible, genuinely apologize, and actually make up for it.
I'm not kidding this time. I really wish this woman had left this man without a second glance and wiped her hands of him.
And yet-I will still read anything Eloisa James writes. Anything.