REVIEW: To Distraction by Stephanie Laurens
Dear Ms. Laurens:
It’s been a while since I’ve read you. I think the Twins book was the last one. No, I am sorry. I stopped reading the Cynster books with the Twins but I read the first in the Bastion Club series as I was hopeful that it was the neverending Cynster series that soured me on your writing, not your writing itself. While The Lady Chosen wasn’t all bad, it wasn’t enough to keep me reading the series. I thought perhaps we had grown apart as author and reader. A couple of weeks ago, To Distraction was part of the 100% Micropay Rebate offering at Fictionwise. I had to buy it. It was free, almost. I’ll try harder to resist next time.
Deverell, Viscount Paignton, recognizes it is time to marry and set up his household. His aunt, Audrey, tells him that she has the perfect woman for Deverell. Skeptical, Deverell agrees to meet Phoebe Malleson, a twenty-five year old spinster. Upon meeting Phoebe, Deverell immediately agrees with his aunt’s assessment and sets out to win Phoebe. Phoebe does not desire to wed, having her own plans and goals and believing a husband would interfere with said plans and goals.
Throw in a villian who threatens Phoebe’s life and you have your standard Laurens story. I will say that the villians in the book were more interesting and multi dimensional than the ones in previous books but the ending was not convincing as it related to one of the villains. The secondary romance involving Audrey was haphazardly written. Mostly it was forgotten although you penned a few lines to let us know that there was interest. As secondary romances go, it was a pretty poor effort.
The major problem I had with the story involved the hero and heroine. The hero’s name is Deverell, but after the first sex scene, I began to call him Simon. You see, Simon, err, Deverell, controlled virtually every movement of the heroine. He told her what to do and she did it. “Put your right foot in, pull your right foot out . . .” Light the candles. Unbutton your dress. Put your hands on me. Do this. Do that. Every sex scene involved Simon directing the show. Not once did Phoebe take the lead. Simon allowed her to go so far, both outside the bedroom and inside, and do certain things but always behind the curtain was the idea that he would be the one to curtail any activity he deemed unacceptable. She never stepped over that boundary. Most disturbing was that the allegedly independent heroine did not balk at the covert and overt control Simon exerted over her life. I was oppressed just reading the book.
I guess Phoebe was the perfect woman. She was smart, a wildcat in bed, and still would do everything you told her to do. Look good and give good head. Only this isn’t a fantasy book for men, is it? It’s a fantasy book for women. We want the guy to look good and give good head.
You write smoothly but ponderously, still employing the one phrase per sentence paragraph. Every thought and emotion is detailed. Nothing is left to the imagination. I could accept that on a not so regular basis, but all the good writing in the world can’t make me like characters like these. C-.