Tuesday, September 27

A Scandalous Propostion by Wendy Soliman


Thanks to NetGalley for this review copy!

This book came scandalously close to not being finished. I had so many notes of annoyance and frustration marked that it was almost comical to look over my angry scribbled-upon page. The characters were completely inconsistent – for example our heroine’s personality: a timid spy who feels guilty for telling a little white lie of omission? To a stranger she doesn’t know? Adam was an annoying asshole hero, especially in the beginning when he determines he has been hurt by the fact that Florentina (whom he met when she was being chased by a mean, angry man) doesn’t tell him that she’s a courtesan. Well, I don’t know about you fellow readers, but if I were Florentina the first thing out of my mouth when a man I don’t know offers me a ride isn’t “hey thanks, and by the way I’m a courtesan and, if you’re who I think you might be, I’m also your mama’s companion”. Um, no. That’s really not how people work. Adam draws conclusions not based on fact but on his own piggish misconceptions and stupidity and I disliked how he was used only to move the story forward and awkwardly place the heroine in his arms. Adam is FAR from a gentleman. He's an arrogant, self-serving hedonist who is no better than those he claims to protect Florentina from.

So, without further ado lets go into the bashing section of this review (I know, you thought we were already there, didn’t you?) where I detail and rant about all the things I was immensely displeased with in this book.
For example, this actually historically accurate use of the word ‘ain’t’.
“Well, I know nothing about that, and what’s more I ain’t interested.”
Spoken by the current Duke of Southsea, Adam’s brother James. When I read that I was more than marginally appalled, having never encountered the word ‘ain’t’ spoken by a Duke in a historical before (or anyone else for that matter). Now, it turns out that this is actually a historically accurate fact according to Wikipedia (which provided me with a very comprehensive look at the history of the word) – in 19th century England peers would use the word ‘ain’t’ if they were familiar with another peer. However it was only used once throughout the book and it was, in my personal opinion, entirely inappropriate and shocking. Part of writing a good story is writing one that is believeable and likeable to the average reader. For example: people in 19th century England did not smell good and rarely took baths. However, in historical romance novels there’s usually a bath drawn a day and everyone smells like jasmine and sandalwood. While that’s not necessarily accurate, it’s what the readers want to read and in romance you can bet your bottom dollar you want to write what readers want to read. So that word, while accurate, was jarring and aggravating since I find ‘ain’t’ irritating even in ghetto romance.

The story and plot don’t make sense – they’re stupid, too-easily-solved, and unrealistic. The characters are flat, contradictory, one-dimensional… especially the Duke, the new Duchess, and our villains. Florentina was wimpy, weak, and TSTL – not the strong, passionate, courageous woman I’d hope she would be. Adam was an arrogant, self-confident bastard whom I hated with a burning passion. He believes himself the most intelligent, fiercest man alive yet has all those typical insecurities ‘she doesn’t love me, I’m not good enough’ etc. He can fix any problem and was a pathetic attempt at perfection that failed miserably. He was thoroughly unlikable and un-relatable. Their relationship was awkward, clumsy, and forced instead of a natural ebb and flow, give and take banter.

The sex scenes (which were, unfortunately, numerous) were weird, cliché and very purple – and the author uses the word ‘bayonet’ to describe Adam’s mighty wang – as in 
"Open your legs wider, Mrs. Smith. I don’t want to hurt you with my bayonet.”
Um… no. No, no, no. No thank you. Call it what it is, or at least something attractive. Otherwise I have an image of her being speared by a long sword on the end of a gun and that is NOT sexy at all. There was also, I kid you not, this fascinating quote:

“Florentina sat up, plump breasts bouncing straight into his hands."
What are they, puppies eager to be petted? I don’t know about your twins, but mine don’t bounce straight into people’s hands. Can you see it? Adam waiting with his hands at the right height, palms up, Florentina sitting up suddenly and *BOING BOING BOING* straight into his hands! WTF? The imagery was just so warped and strange and purple I had to laugh. That should not be the mood of an intensely emotional scene – but that’s what you get when breasts start bouncing themselves places like bunnies or puppies or bouncy balls… One last beautiful example of this author’s terrible ability to write a sexy sex scene that I think speaks for itself:
“Taking a leaf from his own book, she ignored the strawberries and lapped gently at his creamy testicles…”
In the end this book had nothing to recommend it. No intrigue, no plot, flat characters, confusing, contradictory personalities, an awkward romance that read more like erotica than romance, and really creepy, non-sexy words that ruined the possibility for good erotica. Seriously, ladies, don’t pick this one up – and if you do, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Creamy testicles, bayonets and bouncing puppy breasts indeed.

Favorite quotes:

“…An odious little man insisted upon carrying a cage full of pigeons inside the conveyance, regaling us at nauseating length about the amount of money he’d get for them at market. The wretched creatures didn’t stop squawking the entire time.” (Florentina)
“Cooing.” (Adam)
“I beg your pardon.”
“Pigeons coo, Mrs. Smith. They don’t squawk.”  
“I beg to differ. I was subjected to their squawking for an interminable amount of time and so know what I’m talking about.”

“Oh, you’re sometimes infuriatingly infuriating!” (Florentina)
“Only sometimes?” (Adam)
“I dare say if you work at it, you’ll be able to make your infuriatingness a permanent facet of your charcter.”

“Sexy”ness rating: Um, definitely a scorcher rating - but I found it awkward and clumsy, not hot.

Overall Rating: F

Bottom Line: This book could’ve been average - there were C- moments interspersed throughout. However the book was mostly irritating, dull, flat, and uninteresting. The characters were one-dimensional and the entire book held no appeal.

Pages: around 375 (at best guess. This book is on my kindle) 77,000 words
Published: September 12, 2011
Genre: Historical

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hiya! Leave me a message of any kind - I love to hear from followers! Write, write write!