The Devil Takes a Bride by Julia London

June 1, 2015
 "I like to feel
The warm spot on your chair
Sometimes I drool
And usually I stare
My precious one
I saved that gum
That you threw in the garbage "
Weird Al Yankovic
Maybe the Cabot sisters are not my cup of tea. First of all the original title of the second book in the series was called The Fall of Grace and then for some reason changed to The
Devil Takes a Bride. I don't know who made that decision, but the title would have fit the plotline better if it  had been left alone. But, they didn't and we are here to look at The Devil Takes a Bride featuring the second sister, Grace. And, once again we have a rather selfish heroine, although Grace didn't bother me as much as Honor did. Even though Grace has a rather ridiculous plan, she's doesn't come across as being quite as mean as Honor. What's Grace's plan to save the family?

Well, she's going to trap some unsuspecting man into marriage. She's has it all planned, she even has the man picked out. The problem with her plan is the man isn't all that unsuspecting and he doesn't show up at her trap but his older brother does. The trap part of Grace's plan works. It works beyond her wildest imagination, in fact, she is physically attacked by our hero, Jeffrey - clothes ripped - lips bruised - fingers wander, all before the local gossip and a reverend show up to catch them. Imagine Grace's surprise when she realizes that instead of the charming, witty brother she is going to be stuck with the staid, cold, humorless brother Jeffrey, the Earl of Merryton. 

This book comes with a warning: there is enough dark angst in here to last a long time. And, when I finished this book I was left with a slightly unsettled feeling. I actually would have given this story a bit of a higher rating if I hadn't been so disturbed with Jeffrey's problem. There are all kinds of mental issues that are tackled in this tale, and maybe there was one too many for the author to make sure that everything is tied up in a neat little ribbon at the end of the story. First of all, we have the mother losing her sense of reality. Having gone through a parent's struggle with Dementia/Alzheimer I had no problem with how it was handled in this book. In fact I thought Ms. London's showing a family joining forces to support each other and the mother a nice gentle piece of writing. Let's look at Jeffrey, someone who almost set off my creep-o-meter.

Jeffrey is suffering from a severe case of what we today would call OCD, which I don't have a problem with. But in Jeffrey's case one of his symptoms is that he has vivid sexual fantasies, which he seems to act upon. Here's the problem with this. First of all I had to run to Mayo Clinic's website and yes, this kind of fantasy or unwanted thoughts intruding into one’s mind can be part of OCD. Most people have these kinds of thoughts, but usually are able to dismiss these thoughts. Where the problem comes with OCD is that people suffering from it are not able to dismiss them. It is like a person with OCD who has a thing about washing their hands - they wash their hands soooo much that they can injure those hands. Someone with severe OCD is so obsessed that their lives are completely miserable and a lot of times cannot function. And, here it comes. This is what Mayo Clinic said about the unwanted fantasies of a person with OCD: they do not enjoy sex. The sexual obsessions in OCD are not daydreams or fantasies. They are unpleasant and stressful; in fact, in a lot of cases the actual physical realty is so repugnant to them that they stop all together. OCD can decrease sex drive.  Whereas, in this book, Jeffrey received gratification from paid women, wicked widows, and in the end highly enjoyed his relationship with Grace. So, my problem is, either Jeffrey is just a kinky guy with OCD and Ms. London is trying to cash in on 50 Shades or he is someone who is very disturbed and his problem should have been handled differently. 

While I liked that Grace became a better person because she loved/liked the person who Jeffrey was, I was disturbed with OCD being used as it was, for titillation. If one of Jeffrey's OCD symptoms was his unwanted head popping fantasies, his reaction to them would not have been gratification. And, that was what made me uncomfortable with this story.

By the way - a no is a no is a no. It doesn't matter why someone says no - if they say no it is not a tease. I thought by now we were enlightened enough to know that when a woman says no she means no. If the man cannot understand that then there is a problem with the man and I am uncomfortable with that man being a "hero".

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Creepy

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