DNF Review: Constantine by Heather Grothaus

Reviewed by Ronelle

General Constantine Gerard has more proof than most men that evil is everywhere. After years in the Holy Land, he returns to find that the rumors of the destruction at Chastellet were true. Blaming himself for the loss of his wife and child, he has nothing left to lose—and nothing to live for save the vengeance he vows to unleash on Glayer Felsteppe, the man who destroyed his family.

Theodora Rosemont, too, has suffered at Glayer’s hands. Poisoned, forced into delivering her child in a bloody labor that nearly cost her life, and forcibly separated from her child, she is believed by all to be dead when Constantine finds her hiding in the ruins of his once-home. Bonded by their common enemy and a mutual desire for revenge, Constantine and Dori embark on a treacherous journey, determined to rescue her child and destroyer the man who took everything from them.
Revenge may not be the only desire they come to share, however.

***

I’ll start off by saying I have not read any of the previous books in this series and I honestly wasn’t aware that it was the fourth of four until, well, I started writing this review. They seem to be stand-alones, but I can’t swear to that soooo… you’ve been warned. Anyway, considering how much I adore romances taking place in the medieval period (next to fantasy, they’re my favorites!), I jumped on this book when we got the review request. The blurb promised me everything; treachery, secrets, passion, castles, the Crusades and though it took me awhile to get around to it, when I finally did, I was so excited to get started…

…that excitement soon died a slow, agonizing, depressing death because This. Story. Didn’t. Move. I gave it up at about the 40% point because 1) the plot wasn’t progressing 2) it was depressing and gloomy as hell and 3) the characters had about as much depth as a puddle in the middle of an Arizona summer. Out of curiosity, I skipped ahead a few chapters to see if maybe things had picked up and discovered the main characters were still in the exact same place they’d been since the beginning. For all their talk of vengeance on a potential deadline, they certainly took their time seeking it out. The villain (who is inexcusably one-dimensional) had accomplished a lot more than they’d even thought about. So, since I had zero investment in any of them, I didn’t feel any real desire to see their story through to its conclusion.

In addition to underdeveloped characters, pervasive doom-and-gloom, no movement in the revenge-upon-thy-enemy front, and a ton of telling instead of showing (I usually hate that term, but it applies here: we are constantly told that Dori is rude, spoiled, etc. but her behavior doesn’t ever display those qualities) the formatting and editing were awful. Chapters started mid-page and with a single letter on a line of its own, there were extra empty lines in the middle of paragraphs, and words were run together. Ms. Grothaus also couldn’t seem to keep her characters straight; Constantine was shortened to Stan in places with no rhyme, reason, or context and was used instead of his son’s in at least one scene.

Bottom line: I’m adult enough to admit that maybe all the character development happened in one of the previous books and I just missed it. (Since each book appears to focus on one man, I’m doubting that’s the case) I have no idea what kind of passion (if any) develops between Constantine and Dori and I honestly don’t care. I can’t in good conscience recommend this one.

Click to purchase: Amazon

Constantine
by Heather Grothaus
Release Date: December 6, 2017
Publisher: Lyrical Press

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