Trial by Desire by Courtney Milan

The book of avoidance
I very much understand how an author can be irritated by an armchair critic. You work and slave over this book that you've given birth to. You're up at nights reworking sentences, sweating tears over little things; chewing fingernails down to nubs. Then the time comes for that book to be released and someone else reads it. My heart goes out to all of you.

Trial by Desire is an interesting book to talk about, and I was very much torn over what to say about it.

First of all, I consider Courtney Milan one of the better writers around. She's a very talented writer who has a wonderful way with words, and this book was full of lyrical prose. She has also created one of the most menacing villains that I've read in a long time.

Let's talk about the villain. Harcroft is not your standard Snidely Whiplash kind of guy - playing with his mustache while he says "I've got you, my pretty." No, this guy is the neighbor down the street who beats his wife and you never know it. He also carries around a lot of baggage and at times is even sympathetic. His character is so well-written he almost steals the book. There is also an interesting chemistry (not sexual) between Harcroft and the hero, Ned. Their relationship is a very complex friendship.

S-o, I have to ask myself why is it that there is this great interaction between the hero and villain but almost nothing between the hero and heroine?

Kate and Ned: the couple that are never together. She has a "secret" he has "a dragon to slay." And they never share, they never work together. They leave each other out for w-a-y too long. I'm sure that was done to create tension, but this isolation didn't create a romantic tension. They just didn't exhibit any emotion and there wasn't any dialogue between the two characters that would have helped create that emotion. They are together but separate and they remain so even at the end of the book.

As I said at the beginning, this was a hard book to review because Courtney Milan is a fantastic writer and she has created a villain I won't be forgetting in a long time. But the romance part of the book didn't work for me.

Time/Place: Early Victorian England
Rating: Villain:Book:Romance:
Sensuality Rating: Almost Hot

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