Lady Windermere's Lover by Miranda Neville

July 14, 2014

Say, kiddoes, what time is it?

It's Bone Head Hero Time.
It's Bone Head Hero Time.
Let's give a rousing cheer,
'Cause Bone Head Hero is here...
(sung to the tune of Howdy Doody)

In case you might not have guessed, Lady Windermere's Lover has one of the biggest Bone Head Heroes I've come across in a long time, and on top of that he's supposedly in
Intelligence or something. Not only is he a Bone Head Hero, he is also a Bone Head Friend.

Let's start with Damien, our bone head. On his 21st birthday, he and his friends, Julian, Marcus, and Robert, get drunk... very very drunk. They enter into a card game at which time Damien loses his mother's ancestral home. Damien passes out and his drunken friend Julian packs Damien's incoherent behind into a carriage and makes sure he gets home safety. In the meantime, the remaining drunk friends proceed to lose ye' ole family estate to someone else. And, what does Damien do? Well, of course he blames his friends, especially Julian. For years and years he holds a grudge against Julian because he's a spoiled rotten idiot who blames everyone else for his problems. Years pass and this whiny guy is forced to marry Cynthia, a mill owner's niece.

Of course, she's not good enough for him; she's frumpy, she's dumpy, and OMG, she doesn't know French... Oh no, not that!!! You see, the perfect woman must know French, especially if her husband is in the diplomatic service. (What this diplomatic service entails is never really made clear to me. I do know he brings dirty pictures back from Persia when he returns.) Anyway, Damien resents that he is forced to marry Cynthia and treats her abominably in the two weeks they are together before he high-tails it to a foreign country. He shows no kindness to her, he talks over her, he treats her as if she's an idiot, he beds her without any finesse and then he's off. Unbeknownst to him, Cynthia becomes pregnant from their brief horrible encounter and then she loses the child. She writes him, but the letter never gets to him. So, he never knows she was carrying his child or that she lost it.

Now, for some reason Cynthia accepted all the crap Damien did to her for those two weeks. The reason we are given is that she fell head over heels for the buffoon... he's soooooo handsome, like a Greek God. Argh!!! However, his callus reaction to the loss of the baby wakes her up. Of course, she doesn't know he didn't get the letter and the letter he did get was about her having a cold and he did send her a letter in response to the "indisposition" he thought she had. So, we have a really big misunderstanding on Cynthia's part to get over because she thinks he knows and he doesn't. Surprisingly, this was one time I understood them not talking to each other about this particular misunderstanding. I was actually interested in how the author would resolve that problem. I just wish it had been sooner in the book. 

Mostly I liked Cynthia. I thought she was too good for Damien. She is a kind person, always taking in needful downtrodden women, orphans, and kittens. In her husband’s absence, she has shed her dumpy appearance and now is a beauty, which kind of bothered me because that would mean she was a beauty all along. She has also taken to padding the redecorating bills so she can support the poor downtrodden women and children. See, she is kind. She also has taken to hanging with Damien's once upon a time friends, especially Julian. She has a plan to use Julian to irritate Damien and Julian has a plan to irritate Damien by using Cynthia. There's a lot going on in this book.

Anyway, after a year in foreign parts being a diplomat Damien is back and immediately jumps to the conclusion that Cynthia is having an affair with Julian. You see, Damien sees them kiss, so all the rumors must be true. And even after Cynthia tells him the truth he doesn't believe her. That doesn't stop him from trying to seduce her, though. You see, she is no longer frumpy but has turned into a "pocket Venus," so his manly urges are out of control. They are so out of control he puts hashish in an incense burner to lower her resistance to him. What a nice guy! Nothing like drugging a woman to get her to respond to him. So, while his wife is becoming mellow from hash, he's talking dirty French to her... nothing turns him on faster than spouting smutty French. Arrgh. I. Did. Not. Like. Damien.

Damien wasn't the only thing in the book that I stumbled over. Normally, I like flashbacks but the ones in this story jolted me out of the narrative flow. There was also some kind of intrigue going on with works of art that I lost track of and I wasn't quite sure in the end if the loose ends of that particular thread had been tied. But, the main problem I had with this book was Damien. He was an infantile, obnoxious, insufferable, condescending clod who didn't deserve any of his true friends and definitely not Cynthia. It took him forever to believe Cynthia and that was only because Julian told him they'd never had an affair. And, then she's kidnapped.

I had issues with this book! The hero was horrible and there wasn't enough grovel time for him to redeem himself. And, what happened to the downtrodden women, kids, and kitten? Don't know. What about the villain? Don't know. Those loose ends need to be tied or there should be a hint that they are going to be tied in a future book. The fourth book in the series concerns Julian. I haven't decided whether I will read that one or not.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Hot

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