by Elizabeth Moss
Series: Lust in the Tudor Court, #1
Pub Date: May 6, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
England, 1536. Lord Wolf, hardened soldier and expert lover, has come to King Henry VIII's court to claim his new bride: a girl who has intrigued him since he first saw her riding across the Yorkshire moors. Eloise Tyrell, now lady-in-waiting to Queen Anne Boleyn, has other ideas. She has no desire to submit to a man she barely knows and who - though she is loath to admit it - frightens her not a little. Then comes that first kiss. It awakens in both a fierce desire that bares them to the soul. But as the court erupts into scandal around the ill-fated Queen, Eloise sees first-hand what happens when powerful men tire of their wives. Dare she surrender her body and her heart?
This book is being marketed (right on the front cover) as 50 Shades of Tudor Sex. So I had high hopes for crazy court intrigue mixed with crazy hot BDSMish sex and a brooding alpha male that is so damaged that we love him and want to fix him. The meet-cute between our lead couple even starts off promising with Wolf trailing a riding crop over Eloise's lips and decolletage. Unfortunately that's about as 50 Shades as we got. Everything else was pretty vanilla. So I felt like that bit on the cover was a whole lotta false advertising that gave me unrealistic expectations for this book.
The story takes place during the Tudor reign of King Henry VIII, arguably one of the most scandalous rulers in history. Specifically, we find ourselves in the time when Henry was wed to the illustrious Anne Boleyn, and during the ensuing scandal when she was beheaded for high treason after Henry and Cromwell fabricated charges of witchcraft, incest and all around slutty behavior. This time period offers a setting fraught with drama, intrigue and captivating events. However I felt the author did not use it to her advantage. The only scandal and intrigue we get bookends the story seemingly to provide a time frame and a bit of drama. The majority of the story takes place in the boring country, away from all the activities at Court. This was a disappointment to me as I am a fan of the epic dramas and intrigue in stories like the Skye O'Malley series by Bertrice Small.
As for the characters, Eloise was a dishwater miss wholly lacking in self-respect. And because she couldn't respect herself, I certainly wasn't going to respect her either. I know she was supposed to be an innocent maiden, but she was also a walking contradiction. She hates Wolf. She wants him. She hates that he may have other women. She is willing to take whatever cast off crumbs of attention he gives her. Grow a spine girl! I know you are chattel but you don't have to be a milksop. Says me, who probably would've been beheaded for telling ol' King Henry exactly where he could stick his philandering phallus.
As for Wolf, I didnt like him either. He was an uncaring ass who felt the natural state of things was his virginal wife gagging for his codpiece and him filling her full of seed. Literally. He said words to that effect. Men. Sheesh. And this was after telling his virginal wife that she must beg him to deflower her. WTF was that about? His reasoning for his often cruel behavior was not explained, nor did I think most of it was necessary for the story.
So, unfortunately, this story was a downer for me. If I didn't know better, I would think this was a romance written by a man... from the ones I have read in the past, they have a similar lack of detail in the writing style, and the character traits are similar. I was provided an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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