Alert: Another controversial hero!
Be warned, my fellow Romanceland readers - some of you are going to hate Lucien! Another really nasty hero.
What an interesting book to review. I really had to think about Breathless. There were some awfully sordid things that Lucien, the hero, did that were what one expects of a villain. But then Anne Stuart writes incredibly dark men, and let me tell you this one is way up there in shades of black. I also find this interesting because once again I have an unsavory hero to talk about. It became clear to me while I was reading this book that even though this guy in a lot of ways is worse than the one in Celeste Bradley's book, because of the talented writing of Anne Stuart it didn't effect me as much.
I did wonder about Lucien's revenge. He wanted to get even with the family he held responsible for his sister's death. The problem I had with that is he barely knew his mad sister. He knew his step-mother was abusive, she even beat the crap out of him. Even though both his step-mother and sister were mad - mad - mad - bwah ha ha, he still wanted his moment of revenge on the family he felt wronged him, the Rohan's. So, I didn't understand the avenge part of this book, and I felt it was pretty weak. I would have been happier with the character of Lucien if we were allowed to see more of his unhappy family background... and if we would have seen more of Lucien falling in love. I did think the oar to the side of the head was rather amusing.
Now, from the unsavory hero to the most delightful heroine, Miranda. I loved Miranda! I thought her reaction to everything that happened to her was a delight. When she's ruined (by Lucien's machination) in the beginning, she adjusts and builds a life for herself that she's pretty happy with. When Lucien sees that she's happy with that life he sets out to destroy it... however, he never gets it right, because she just won't let him. He says no, she says no with a smile... he says I won't marry you, she says ok I'll be your mistress... and love it! He moves her to a dilapidated house, she paints his room pink. So, I loved Miranda. I just wish that Lucien had been one of those gruff kinda guys, instead of so cold... brrr. I did wonder why Miranda loved him. But in the end, they seemed to be suited for each other.
There is also a very strong secondary romance that in this case doesn't distract from the main story. In fact, it's almost needed to counterbalance what Lucien is doing.
I would imagine that there are going to be a lot of people that hate Breathless, but overall, I liked it. And I love Anne Stuart's writing, although I do need a cleansing book to read next. Maybe, something funny. Of the three in the Rohan series, I'd say this one comes in second. Ruthless (first one) was my favorite and if you want to see how a really good author writes dark heroes, read all three in this series.
Time/Place: Regency England, I think
Sensuality Rating: Hot