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A Foolish Wager*

Not a Good Hero

I found myself frustrated with the hero in this book. The heroine is one who has suffered much in her life mostly because of one childhood mistake. She loved climbing trees as a child, but as we see and the prologue, one day she takes a misstep that ruins one of her legs forever. She had already had a strained relationship with her father, and this made it worse. After her father’s death, her uncle very much wants to marry her off, but her first season was fraught with heartache and disappointment because not only could the ton not see beyond her disability, but she was openly ridiculed for it. What chance would she have to secure a gentleman?

For such a beleaguered heroine, I would love to have seen a completely swoon-worthy hero. But that is not what we got in this story. Instead, the hero is quite the rake, in previous Seasons only interested in women for what he could get from them—and this was wagered on in his gentlemen’s club. From maidens, he likes to steal a kiss, and from widows and unhappily married women, he likes much more. He and the heroine literally run into each other. They both find each other intriguing–though she isn’t beautiful or perfect enough for him—but he only pursues her when blackmailed by a man (with knowledge of one of his affairs with a married woman) who wishes to capitalize on a bet at White’s so he can replenish his coffers. The wager he lays down is that the hero will not only kiss the heroine but will make her fall in love with him. The hero is not as introspective about this as one would hope, and I was actually disgusted when, after thinking about it for a bit, he decided that he had no choice but to go forth in the matter, even knowing it would break her heart–thinking something along the lines of, “Oh, well, it can’t be helped.” Ick. He goes into it knowing how bad it will be for her but still goes ahead. That is not hero material in my book.

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