This isn’t your average sweet historical, where the heroine falls for the hero at first sight across a crowded ballroom. No, Elisabeth meets Bryson in the brothel where she was sold after a kidnapping at just 15 years old. He was to be her first customer, but he didn’t want to be there any more than she did and they escaped together. She never forgot the young man who saved her life, but she never saw him again… until now.
Bryson grew up under the shadow cast by his dissolute parents. Neither bothered to hide their debauchery and Bryse has made it his life’s mission to restore the dignity of the viscounty and his family name. Now that his father is dead, his next task is to find the perfect wife and get started on his heirs. He’s definitely not looking for passion. He just wants a woman of good morals and reputation. Someone chaste and pure. You can see where falling for Elisabeth is going to be a problem. Especially since he doesn’t remember meeting her before.
My issue with this book is that it plays out exactly as you would expect. I’m not a fan of the Big Secret trope, since you generally spend the whole time waiting for the reveal and the subsequent fallout. Every bit you see Elisabeth inch closer to falling in love, you know it’s going to be that much worse when Bryson finds out the truth. And with a history like hers, frankly, it damages his character to fault her over it. And that’s a shame because he was good hero material. He wants to be a good man. He saved her life, for goodness sake. But the man really does not do well with surprises — or disappointment.
Elisabeth is a fairly good heroine. She is strong. She champions those in need. But she also sets herself up for heartbreak. As a reader, this was frustrating. The whole premise was frustrating because these two had some really good moments together. I would have much preferred to see them struggle and build from this experience early on. But it was not be.
I was also annoyed by how fine a point was put on Elisabeth’s virginity or lack thereof, only for it to be resolved as sort of an afterthought. I understand why it was done this way. It just didn’t work for me.
The book is well written and the characters well drawn. It might be a bigger hit for other readers who don’t share my issues.
*ARC provided by Avon
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Virgin and the Viscount
by Charis Michaels
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Publisher: Avon Impulse