on May 24, 2004
Forget the extremes of characterization and give this book four stars if only for its daring premise: the hero is not an accomplished lover, and the heroine is not unknowingly sensual or alluring-- at least until she is transformed as a result of a temper tantrum. Any admirer of this genre will soon surmise that all the males in romance fiction are masterful and considerate lovers. Makes the average female wish she might have been born in another era. True, these English males are prone to make stupid mistakes because they fail to communicate at some dramatic juncture, and thereby hangs the suspense of the tale.
This is a nice read because it goes against the grain. This hero is clueless about what women want from a man. The heroine is much more in line with the stereotyped female of her era--clueless about sex and love between men and women, though she does have female friendships down pretty solid.
The funniest quirk of the book is, it begins with letters dated in March 1816 and ends, presumably a year (or 3?) later, with letters dated January 1816. Editors slipped up there. This, however, is not critical to the plot, which constitutes a mild summer suntan read. If your budget is tight, get it used and enjoy!
on May 16, 2004
I thought this book had a lot of great potiental, but in the end it just did not live up to what I have come to expect from Eloisa James. This book was so predictable that I had to really push to finish it. I found that Helene was not all that wicked after all; more like dimwitted and Rees was just a spoiled, out of control, baby that really needed a swift kick in the butt more than he needed Helene. I was very disappointed that Helene, who is supposed to be this head strong woman would move back in with Rees while his mistress still lived there! That showed a lack of good judgement that any really head strong woman would never of had. I was not impressed with how easy it was to put Rees and Helene back together as a couple with all the other things that Rees was doing in the story showing that he had not changed at all. I gave this story a 3 stars for the subplots that it had, because if Rees's brother was not part of the plot then I do not know that I could have finished this book. I hope with future books Eloisa James goes back to writing with her usual flare for romance and humor.
on May 9, 2004
I started this book not expecting much based upon other reviews. But having read Eloisa James' books before and thoroughly enjoyed them, I thought I'd take a chance.
Once of the special things about Ms. James books is that her characters and plot lines are a little off the beaten path so to speak. That is to say, she just doesn't churn out the typical Regency Romance with the dashing hero, brave to a fault, devilshly handsome, sometime cad, master of the bedroom, need I go on.....? No, her characters have some flaws - not a lot of them thank God or they might be totally irredeemable, but enough to see them through the growth process in the story line.
In this story, we have two very young people, Rees the Earl Godwin and Helene, who were initially drawn to each other for a variety of reasons, and run away to Gretna Green to get married. They both share a passion for music and believe this mutual interest plus their love will be all they need to make a good marriage. However, they soon discover that marriage takes more than a few songs and stolen kisses to make it work.
For one thing, the wedding night left a good deal to be desired. Shy and uncertain about what to expect, Helene felt inadequate. Her husband, also leery of the night before him, stayed down in the tavern a little too long and arrived at their bedroom completely foxed. [The reader will not discover what caused this disasterous first night until later in the book when Helene and Rees finally confess their fears and disappointments about that night and learn that both of them had been virgins.] The marriage starts off badly, and leaves both mentally scarred about their respective inadequacies. Finally, in a fit of temper, Helene throws the chamber pot at her husband; and Rees, who has had enough of this unsatisfactory marriage, throws Helene out of his house. She then goes home to live with her mother, and for nine long years is virtuous and miserable. Though they stay married, Rees goes on to live the life of a supposed "Rakehell" breaking every taboo mostly to irritate his demanding father and miserable becasue he misses Helene.
As the years pass Helene realizes that she would like to have a child. She asks Rees for a divorce and he refuses because of the damage that it could do to their reputations. After Helene receives a "make over" in her wardrobe to more sensually show off her lovely figure, and a completely new hairstyle that enhances her lovely face, Rees sees her in a whole new light. He decides that if she must have a child, it should be his; and after some length of discussion finally persuades her that she should move back into his home for a month until she conceives.
From there the real romance begins, but not in your typical way. For one thing, Rees insists that Lina, his opera singer and former lover remain in his house so that she can practice his songs for the opera he is writing. This brings about some amusing and awkward moments between Helene and Lina.
As Rees and Helene mature, each learn the pleasure of discovering who their lover really is. It is delightful to watch them grow together to finally understand that what brought them to each other initially could be built upon and transformed into a truly beautiful marriage of mind, body and spirit. (I don't mean to be cliche here, but that's how I saw the book. In one sense it sort of reminded me of "Enchanted April" as the characters who thought they knew all about each other found entirely new and attractive aspects to their loved ones - facets that they had never appreciated or understood fully before.)
There is a secondary plot concerning Rees' brother Tom, the Vicar, who oddly enough falls deeply in love with Rees' former lover, Lina. It seems Lina has outgrown her relationship with Rees and hasn't been intimate with him for over a year. She and Tom, however, set the sparks flying whenever they're in the same room.
I found this book to be delightful and a real change of pace from the usual Regency Romance. Although none of the characters has the sort of perfection that I also love in Regency heros - you know tall, dark, handsome men, too charming for their own good to hide their tortured souls because of some life altering event in their past..... Rees is nothing like this. Oh, he's a rebel alright, kind of a Regency "Bad Boy." But it's fun to watch him grow in character, and of course, Helene is right there with him learning about herself and gaining self-confidence along the way.
A great book with a lovely ending, and one I recommend to all.
on May 4, 2004
The last of the DUCHESS IN LOVE sequels is the story of Helene and her estranged husband Rees, Earl of Godwin. Helene desperately wants a child but given the fact that she and her husband have lived apart for years, she has no hope of conceiving one. She decides to brave scandal and ask Rees for a divorce - which he flatly refuses to give her. She then decides that she'll just take a lover and get her child that way - serve Rees right! She basically gets a makeover, cutting her hair and dressing more fashionably and daringly the better to lure a potential lover. And attract men she does - most particularly the Earl of Mayne who becomes infatuated with the new Helene. But Rees discovers what she's up to and thwarts her plans by stating that if she wants a child, she'll have to have it with him. They agree to a secret one-month reunion in order to make a baby. What an eventful month it is!
We also meet Rees' estranged brother Tom (notice how Rees is estranged from everyone in his life?) who happens to be a vicar, and Rees' mistress Lina, an opera singer whose only real remaining appeal for opera composer Rees is her voice (they stopped being lovers months ago). Lina is not a "fallen woman" per se. She truly fell in love with Rees (he fell in love with her voice) but has become disenchanted with him and now has nowhere else to go. Besides, Rees has promised her the lead in his new opera so she continues to live in his house. But we can see the budding attraction between Tom and Lina. While Tom and Lina are sweet and likable characters, I have to say that Rees just may be the most selfish leading man I have ever read! What's weird is that I found myself liking him a bit anyway - just as everyone in his life does! He occasionally displayed that "little boy lost" quality, though I think the author could have made him a bit more likeable. He's a lousy lover who has never learned how to give a woman pleasure in bed (the reason that his marriage to Helene fell apart). But when he and Helene reunite for baby-making purposes he does try to make it good for her to avoid the mistakes of their first times together - and he does improve as the story progresses! But I can imagine that many readers will find no redeeming qualities in Rees and that's a shame and a big fault with this story. He never really acknowledges the changes in Helene, though I suppose you are supposed to get that he has loved her for herself all along? Anyway, I think you get the gist of how this ends but not until the epilogue do we finally see the kinder, gentler, less self-involved Rees. Though not a great book, I enjoyed it despite the failings of Rees' character. One question, though: What happened to Carola? I thought all four of the friends would make an appearance in this last DIL sequel and was a bit surprised that she was not even mentioned.
I have a feeling that we will be seeing the Earl of Mayne (one of Helene's suitors) in a story of his own someday. His character received quite a bit of development for a secondary player. If so, I look forward to it because he was really sexy!
on May 4, 2004
Now, this was not fun! The charm found in Ms. James' "Wild Pursuit" was missing from this sequel. Although the book was a pleasant read, the enchanting jealousy and the incredible lust found in the parent book wasn't found in these pages.
This is a story about beginnings, a second chance at love for two pathetic people. Helene Holland wants to get on with her life, she wants a divorce from Rees Holland, the miserable man she married many years ago. But more important, Helene wants a life filled a child. Helene wants a baby. However, she must conceive a child before the divorce, to avoid a beastly scandal.
Over afternoon tea, Helene and her lady friends draw up the plans for the fertilization. Helene needs a donor, someone she can entice to her bed. Dumbfounded by his wife's plans, Rees decides to provide his services -- but at a cost. Rees Holland will supply the much needed assistance, if Helene will assist him with his project - a mediocre opera. Yet incredibly, this deplorable man is not finished with his demands. If Helene truly wants a baby, she must live in his home and coexist with his mistress. What an idea!
With such a farcical storyline, why did I rate the book 3 Stars and not something lower? Because the author pens a good subplot working with Rees' mistress and his brother, Tom. Their scenes together are the highlight of the book. I enjoyed seeing Lina, the story's soiled dove, achieve a happy ending. A shame Eloisa James did not devote "Your Wicked Ways" thoroughly to this couple.
Eloisa James can entertain her reader. Her writing style is smooth and humorous, and her characters have unique interests, but the trick to a good page turner is delivering a satisfying story. The Rees and Helene story is too empty.
Grace Atkinson, Ontario - Canada.
on April 25, 2004
Eloisa James has a witty style, but I find myself disappointed in this book. The fourth of a quartet, I was hoping for more zing in Rees and Helene. Ok, so I know from past books that Rees is an ass and Helene can be a touch judgemental, but here was a chance for them to shine.
I agree with other reviews that the secondary romance of Rees' brother was much more interesting. I found that for all the build up, there was definitely something lacking in the final tale.
Helene finally breaks loose from her shell, determined to have a child no matter what her ass of a husband thinks. He's had a bevy of women in his bed. Not to mention that he's installed his latest mistress in what are supposed to be HER chambers in the house they shared before their youthful marrige fell apart.
What we have learned from encounters and hints in the past books is that Helene loved her husband and they ran off together, creating a scandal in their youth. But neither of them were happy about it afterwards. Apparently young Rees was quite bad in bed. Quite. (No wonder Helene was never tempted to stray.... She thought it was no good anyway.)
After all her friends find love and start families, Helene decides to fight for her dream of having a child. She wants a divorce. Too bad Rees won't allow it. Too costly and scandalous. (Of course, this from a man with a mistress in his wife's chambers.)
After Rees finds out she is determined to have a child no matter what, he decides he better take some action.
What follows is not quite what I hoped. Instead of making him beg or work for her love again, Helene follows his dictates. Instead of experimenting with the power she has discovered she has over other men, she gives into his demands.
Rees is not really a likeable man. I was hoping that with Helene coming out of her shell, she would be given a chance to test her wings. Maybe I was looking for redemption in Rees case.
I give her a 3 only because I know she is capible of a better story. Eloisa James is clever, creative and witty. I look forward to more books from her. I'd say that this one is not the best one she's written, but I'm definitely waiting to read more from her.
on April 13, 2004
Well, after reading so many reviews for the book and finding most of the reviewers not exactly liking it, I can truly understand. Still, I'd like to point the good stuffs of the book.
I have to admit that Rees did not exactly beg for Helene's forgiveness in the way I'd like him to.. ( Like groveling..), he made it up by in my opinion the best he could give. He's a musician, and people of arts don't really care of other people's feelings. Still, he made an effort to give her words that on other people, may find as nothing but Helene understood what he was trying to tell her and listened to her heart.
The lacking bit is where there seems to be too much of romance between Rees's brother and his mistress. I skipped most of that part, choosing to read parts of Helene and Rees because despite what other people say, I think they truly are well-suited, the chemistry was indeed there and they understood each other more than they understood others.
Okay, I didn't liked the part of them living estranged for TEN years, but recall that both of them weren't very happy living apart and Rees spent the the first month after Helene was gone, drowning in alcohol, and he DID told her in the end that 'he was in love with her' and 'that he never did enjoy all those rakehell days particularly the dancers on his dining table'.
Recall also, that he was madly jealous to catch Helene with The Earl of Mayne ( was that his name? I'm not sure..), murderous enough and the fact that he refused to divorce her may held a deeper meaning than reputation. Like, love??
Helene was desperate to have a child, and that was the reason she agreed to his proposal. She did add conditions though, that bedding his mistress is strictly prohibited during her stay there and that it would only be for a month.
The epilogue was also one of the best ending I've ever read. They were comfortable with each other, still shared their passion for music together by continuing to write songs on the piano and finding intimacy every oportunity even while sitting by a piano! So, overall I think this book was worth it and that readers should read and find deeper meaning in it.
Buy it, cuz I think it's a keeper and a book that'll make you belief that God works in many ways and that it was a second chance in life.
on April 11, 2004
This novel goes beyond many other books set in this period of this style. Rather than exploring the first bloom of love, it opens the door to a love that has been tried and failed in its first attempt.
Helene is uptight and puritanical in her beliefs. Her husband is a rakehell. They haven't lived together in ten years. Helene desperately wants a child, but Rees will have nothing to do with her in marriage or in bed. She requests a divorce repeatedly and even attempts to have an affair. Rather than granting her the divorce, Rees comes up with a scheme to give her a child and get help with his musical that he has been struggling with.
The reason I enjoyed this book so much is that the relationship between the two leads seemed real. Both had grown in their own ways (neither extremely positive) while they were apart, but neither had reached their full potential. Together, they can make positive changes and be happy, unlike when they were apart. I read the reviews complaining that Rees was abusive and Helene was a poor character for taking him back. I think they were both wounded by love (as we all are) and afraid to take chances. Rather than placing blame, enjoy the novel for the growing up the leads do and the love they find in each other. It is a novel of depth, rather than an easy read like many other books in this genre.
on April 10, 2004
In a rather strange way, "Your Wicked Ways" made for some rather compelling reading because of the enormous sympathy I had for the heroine, Helene, and because of the minor romance subplot involving the 'hero's' brother and his sometime mistress. However, a small word of warning: if you think that this is going to be the kind of romance novel where the heroine teaches her errant husband a much deserved lesson -- think again. Much as I found myself unable to put this novel down, I was really chagrined that far from making Rees pay for his past callousness, Helene actually apologizes quite a few times for being a quick tempered wife!
Helene was barely seventeen when she met and fell in love with Rees, the Earl of Godwin. They eloped. But their marriage turned out to be a disaster mainly because Rees turned out to be an insensitive brute both in and out of the bedroom. Unable to cope with Helene's anger and disappointment, Rees threw her out; and husband and wife have been living apart for the past ten years -- him a life of dissolute debauchery, and she a life of chaste good behaviour. Now, however, things have become desperate for Helene. She wants to have a child, but Rees won't give he a divorce. And so with her friend's, Esme, encouragement and support, Helene decides to shed her nun-like ways in order to snare herself a lover. But when Rees learns of what she's up to, he makes (or threatens rather) an unexpected offer: he will father the child she so desperately wants if she will come back home. After a decade to bitter humiliation at her husband's hands, can Helene trust the man to keep his word?
While many readers may find "His Wicked Ways" disappointing, I did think that Eloisa James was successful in accomplishing what she set out to do (I think). I believe that the authour wanted to show how a heroine could still be attracted to and care for the hero, even if he is an insensitive boor. It was apparent that Helene still had feelings for Rees, feelings that readily came to the fore once they were living together again and working on his opera. And I think that the authour also wanted to do something slightly different be showing us that not all romance heroes are masters of lovemaking, and I did think that it was nice to see that this second time around, Rees was much more sensitive to giving Helene pleasure. Unfortunately, these two factors were not enough to counter the things that made me cringe. Like the fact that Rees was an insensitive clod for much of the book -- and not only towards Helene, but also his 'mistress' and his brother. (By the way I rather liked the romance that developed between the mistress and the brother -- it was romantic and actually quite thrilling). His refusal to give Helene a divorce, his shameful proposal that Helene live with him and his mistress in the same house while Helene was trying to conceive, and his absolute refusal to see his faults, were a real put-off. Ms James does try to soften Rees by implying that his bad childhood was at the root of much of his insensitive behaviour; but since she didn't really go into this very much, it was hard to forgive Rees his insensitivity and root for Helene and him to have their happily ever-after ending. Also, Rees didn't really grovel enough for my liking. In fact Helene did far too much apologizing for her part in why things went wrong between them in my book. So is "His Wicked Ways" a worthwhile read? I found it difficult to put the book down -- full of sympathy for Helene, I had to keep on reading to see what else Rees would do/demand of her, and how it would all end. So that in that sense, the book was a compelling and well written read. But I was truly put off by the 'hero's' behaviour and by Helene's meek acquiescence to the demands he places on her. So that on the whole I'd vote it a 3 star read.
on April 9, 2004
i have just read Your wicked ways by Eloisa James. I have to say i am very disappointed in this book. Actually it is one of the worst books i have read.
The main character in the book has been estranged from her husband of 10 years. During that time she has been celibate while he has had an mistress and let the mistress sleep in their house in the heroine's chamber. (That alone is awful but it gets worse.)
The heroine decides she wants a child, so she tries and find a stud. I have to say that she did find one, (one i actually liked). It seemed that he really cared for her maybe even loved her. But she decided to go and live with her husband again. The kicker is that she would live in the same house with him and the mistress and sleep in the nursery. WTH!!!!!!! The heroine actually went for that.
I was like this woman has no self respect. Every character in this book thought she was crazy. And the husband had the gall to think this was all okay.
Well the stud really liked her and was going to call her husband out for this. He said that no man should treat his wife like that. Do you know that the heroine at this point started to not like the stud because of this.!!!!!!! This book was pointless
Now for one of the worst turns in the book. The author tried to make the stud into a bad guy. He had done something to disaparge the heroine's reputation. He was supposed to be a cad for this. Who cares if the husband had the mistress in the house and the wife in the nursery. WTH
This was awful. The heroine was disgrace. The hero was a piece of trash. Are we suppose to like him? And he still did not atone for having the mistress in the house in their bed. If anyone else has read this book let me know. This has to be the worst of the year