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REVIEW: His Lordship’s Desire by Joan Wolf

Dear Ms. Wolf:

His Lordship's DesireYou hate writing these romance books, don’t you? I can see your boredom throughout your entire book as you cobbled together a story stealing scenes and characters from previous books. The whole story is uninspired.

Diana Sherwood is an impoverished young woman who lives with her mother, Louisa, in a cottage on the estate of the Louisa’s cousin. Diana lost her father in the Pennisula wars. While she and Alex, the heir of the Earl of Standish, grow up together, they fall in love. This love is tested when Alex chooses to go to war instead of marrying Diana. When he comes back three years later, Diana is about to embark on a season to find a stable husband and completely rebuffs Alex. Ultimately, Diana gets herself engaged to a nice man while Alex is left grappling with Diana’s abandonment. But the love story is between Alex and Diana. Do you see the problem here? Yes, one person is going to get the shaft. Even beyond the cavalier treatment of characters, the worst sin you commit is your blatant lifting from your previous books.

  • The mother who gains her own love interest but that doesn’t make the heroine happy? The Pretenders
  • The hero who chooses to the army instead of marrying the heroine? The Guardian and The Scottish Lord.
  • The unassuming friend who marries the duke? Can’t remember but I know there is one.

This is from the Pretenders:

I didn’t want to think of Lord Bradford in such a way– Âparticularly with my mother. It was disgusting.

I said quickly, "You won’t mind if Mama lives with us at Ambersley, will you Reeve?"

"Of course I won’t mind," he replied in surprise. "I have always assumed that she would do so."

This is from His Lordship’s Desire:

“Do you think there might be something going on between your mother and Sir Gilbert?”
. . .
Diana frown, not at all sure she liked the idea Sally was proposing.
. . .
“But she would live at Aston Castle with me!” Diana cried. “Rumford has said she would be very welcome.”

I keep coming back to the love triangle and your resolution. The heroine remains engaged to the “other man” until the very end of the book when a brush with near death brings her hidden feelings to the forefront. The “other” man is simply brushed aside with an apology and the denouement including the requisite sex scene brings the story to a close.

I have only myself to blame for buying this book when I KNEW it was going to suck because the last 5 or 6 have sucked. I understand what is happening here. You wanted to write something different but no one bought it (I am referring to your Dark Ages series). I did buy it and was sorry you couldn’t continue the series. Your contract required you to write other books and instead of pulling a Dara Joy, and not writing, you decided to steal from your own books, plots, characters, villians. Of course, what happens is that instead of punishing your publisher, you punish your loyal readers.

Please, don’t write anymore if you can’t write books you really believe in. Don’t foist recycled passionless stories onto your loyal readers. It doesn’t do anyone any good. D.

Best regards


Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Tara Marie
    Jul 26, 2006 @ 09:50:09

    I loved Joan Wolf’s Dark Ages series.

    Passionless is a good description of what she’s putting out now. Her writing style has gone from lush to simplistic, overly simplistic. And it’s so sad. I have this book on order. I keep hoping that her next book will live up to her older books. Obviously this one doesn’t either, nuts, I’ll read it anyway and be disappointed too.

  2. Jane
    Jul 26, 2006 @ 09:56:39

    TM – I thought you may know which Joan Wolf featured the secondary character marrying the duke. I think it was one of her older Regencies but I just can’t recall. The plot lines, the characters, even some of the phrasing seemed to be a revision of older books (not plagairism but much too similar for my tastes).

  3. Tara Marie
    Jul 26, 2006 @ 12:33:19

    (not plagairism but much too similar for my tastes).

    Hmmm, can you plagiarize your own work?

    I’ve not read many of her “Traditional” Regencies, but have a bunch of her older single title ones, I’ll see if I can find the Duke scenario in one of them.

    My favorite of her books was the one about Alfred the Great. I’m not sure if these books should even be considered romance, perhaps they’re more Historical fiction than romance.

  4. Jane
    Jul 26, 2006 @ 12:37:00

    Edge of Light, right? Loved that one. I guess I keep buying Joan Wolf because her past successes. She is one of my favorite authors, only her recent works fall well below her ability. You should hunt down some of her regencies. They were just wonderful. His Lordship’s Mistress (geez, she even borrowed a title. lol), the Scottish Lord, The American Duchess, A London Season, Fool’s Masquerade.

  5. Karen Scott
    Jul 26, 2006 @ 13:34:12

    Jane, what 100 bloggers blogging thing? I’ve just gone through your archives, and I can’t find the original post?

  6. Jane
    Jul 26, 2006 @ 13:40:35

    [quote comment="2593"]Jane, what 100 bloggers blogging thing? I’ve just gone through your archives, and I can’t find the original post?[/quote]

    That would be because I so cleverly hid it from you. Just kidding It was this post

    I haven’t actually put up the “real” post yet. I am still working out the deets with the author that I picked for the experiment and how much of an amazon gift certificate we are giving away. It’ll go up toward the end of August since the book is a September release. I’ll post the name of the book in the comments section for that blog post right now.

  7. AAR Rachel
    Jul 26, 2006 @ 21:20:08

    Ack –

    Another horror. Well, I can’t say I didn’t expect it, what with the ways things have been going with her. Joan, Joan, Joan…bring the magic back.

    I’m going to Amazon now to delete from Wish List. Will re-read American Duchess again instead.

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