Wednesday, February 17, 2010

TBR Challenge Review: Lord Ruin

Lord Ruin
Historical Romance/London/1818
Leisure Books/December 2002
*Very Mild Spoiler*

From the back cover ~

The Duke of Sin

The Duke of Cynssyr didn't believe in love. He planned to marry for beauty. But a night of unforgettable passion left him a changed man -- a man tied to a bespectacled spinster. Anne Sinclair's long legs drove him wild with desire, and her quick wit challenged his mind. Ruined for any other, the notorious rake had only one choice; to court his wife. To win her condfidence, however, nothing less than his love would do.

The Divine Sinclair

Anne Sinclair had sworn to protect her sister from the infamous Lord Ruin. Yet she never expected to sacrifice her own virtue. Forced to give the rogue her hand in marriage, she vowed never to relinquish her heart. But Ruan worshopped her body and valued her intelligence, making Anne long to succumb to the ultimate temptation: falling for her husband.

This months theme called for hero in pursuit or virginal hero. I started reading Jodi Thomas' The Texan's Wager because the hero is a virgin and I like Thomas' writing. It turns out I've read that one before. LOL The memory is the first thing to go. It will be my re-read for the month. Then I decided to go with the hero in pursuit theme and chose Carolyn Jewel's Lord Ruin. I've heard much about Carolyn Jewel with regards to her recent historical novels. All good. So when I came across a few of her older novels, Lord Ruin and The Spare, I added them to the ever growing tbr pile. I also like the look of the cover of Lord Ruin. For some reason the hero reminds me a bit of Jackson Montgomery from All My Children. I always liked Jack, except when he was married to Erica.

Carolyn Jewel has written an entertaining regency novel with a murder mystery subplot thrown in. I could have done with less of the murder plot and more of Anne and Ruan together. I liked when they simply talked to each other. That's when they began to realize that first impressions and clich├ęs can be very wrong.

In the beginning they each had very specific ideas of what they thought the other was like. Anne believed Ruan was a rake who cared only for finding pleasure. Ruan thought of Anne as a spinster and couldn't see past her spectacles. Once Ruan gets Anne between the sheets he finds out there's much more to her than he thought. They marry but Anne is determined there will be no emotional attachments and in fact suggests a divorce. Ruan explains that they can not divorce since it would destroy him and he would no longer be part of Parliament or the Privy Council. So it looks like they are stuck.

Anne is the eldest daughter of the four Sinclair sisters. She is also thought to be the least attractive, in fact, her sisters are considered very beautiful, with many admirers, while Anne is considered rather plain. Anne is resigned to her fate of caretaker for her widower father and looking out for her two unwed sisters. While I liked her most of the time there were times when she truly got on my nerves. In part, she was too damn polite. There was a scene that really got me pissed off at her. Ruan's mistress shows up at the ball being held to introduce Anne to society as the new Duchess of Cynssyr. Anne catches them in a compromising situation and she just takes it, like that's how it's suppose to be. She's upset and hurt but she keeps her cool and apologizes for interrupting. ~

Anne backed away from the sofa. "Forgive me, Cynssyr. I did not know you had company." She had every reason to expect this of Cynssyr, so she didn't understand why the sight of them together felt like a dagger to the heart.

"Perhaps in future you will wait for an invitation to enter," he said irritably. Nothing in his expression betrayed the slightest guilt for being closeted with another woman. This woman. One of the most beautiful women she'd ever seen in her life. page 127

I know it was considered the norm for aristocrats to have mistresses even after they married but to have her at his home, during a ball for his wife?! I'm not sure who I was more angry with - Ruan for what he did or Ann because she just took it in stride. Do you think that's how women really dealt with infidelity during that time period? Sadly, they probably did since they were dependent on the husbands and society condoned it. I expect for many it was the rule rather than the exception so I have to give Jewel credit for including it even though it pissed me off. And I figure being pissed off at the characters is better than indifference.

Ruan is a hero that I didn't like, then I liked him a little, then he got on my bad side (see above paragraph) then I found myself slowly starting to like him more and more. He is a product of his upbringing and society but his experiences in war have left a profound mark on him. He does have this attitude of snobbish aristo but that I think was more because that's what the ton expected of him. So that's what he gives them. He is a very powerful man and uses that power to make life better for the less fortunate and help all of his country men, not just the wealthy. He's also very sexy and can't seem to keep his hands off of Anne. That might have helped win me over just a little. : )

The scenes I liked the best were with just Anne and Ruan. When they would talk about everyday things, about Ruan's work in Parliament, about Anne's interests. When they talked you could see how well they fit together, how much they enjoyed each others' company. The physical side of their relationship was important as well. Sure, they got to know what gave their partner pleasure but they also showed that vulnerability that no one else saw. They were both amazed at how great the physical attraction was and how neither of them could keep their hands off the other. The cover may be tame but Jewel can definitely write scorching hot sex scenes.

That brings us to what I liked the least - the mystery subplot. I just felt that it intruded on the developing romance of Anne and Ruan. There were quite a few secondary characters to keep track of that were involved in the kidnappings/murders. There were the victims, the suspects, the investigators, Ruan and Anne's friends and various family members. At times they overshadowed Anne and Ruan and I sometimes just wanted to skip over those parts.

So overall a decent read that left me curious to read more from Ms. Jewel. Which is good since I have a few more of her novels on the tbr pile.

Rating: B

Read Chapter 1


  1. Leslie -- So glad I'm not the only one who forgets she already read a book. ;P

    I've been looking at Carolyn Jewel's books but haven't read any yet. I definitely want to read this one.

    I'm not sure about the hero bringing his mistress to his home,Leslie. I just don't see how that would be acceptable under any circumstances. Bad form!

  2. Back when this one was first published, it made the rounds on one of the e-mail loops I was on. Lots of discussion on how horny Ruan was - LOL.

    I didn't get a copy at the time because I was neck-deep in my Regency Historical Burn Out Phase. Which has since lifted - thank goodness. Recently Sybil came across a duplicate of this one and sent it to me. And now it sits in my TBR...mocking me - LOL

  3. Ooooh, Jack Montgomery. Loved him! Is he still on the show? Wow.

    I always forget if I've read a book. Then open it and wonder how I know what's about to happen. Maybe I have ESP? No, I just already read it.

    I liked Scandal, but didn't want to marry it the way so many others did. I hear Lord Ruin is hard to come by. I'll keep an eye out...

  4. Hils ~ I should have explained better, Ruan didn't bring her, she just showed up. He should have shown her the door. :)

    Wendy ~ Ruan was a real horn dog!

    Lori ~ Jack's probably still on there, probably married to Erica, again! LOL

  5. I've tried this one a couple of time and just can't get into it :( I guess I should give it another try... sigh.

  6. nath ~ If you do try you should probably wait until you have a bit more enthusiasm. :)