Dear Mrs. Macnish,
Reviewers who have said your book “Veiled Promises” is a step back to the sweeping sagas of yesteryear with lovers who endure much to be together yet are separated for a lot of the book, but without the asshat hero, are correct. I can’t recall reading anything like this, at least that was written within the past 15 years, in a long time. But I do have to ask, did you hate your heroine? Were the trials and tribulations you put her through a cathartic exercise or therapeutic revenge on someone? Because I closed this book thinking to myself, “Sheesh, I’d hate to be one of her heroines.”
Camille Bradburn is a woman most people would think has it all. She’s young, beautiful, cultured, educated and the daughter of a Duke when that really meant something. But in reality, her life is hell on earth. Her father couldn’t care less about her and her mother is one bitch-ass, whack job. The FBI profilers would have a field day with this woman. Camille has been controlled, through beatings and deprivation, all her life. She yearns for freedom but knows she’ll never get it. Her life is preordained and her only hope of escape is through marriage which her mother will probably arrange.
Patrick Mullen is immediately captivated by this young woman. It’s her beauty which draws him first but he quickly realizes here is the woman he’s only dreamt of. As their love blossoms, he begins to think of forever. That is, until her sadistic mother learns of their plans to escape and intervenes. Now the two lovers must surmount untold obstacles and horrors in their quest for a HEA.
As I read this book, I couldn’t help comparing it to a soap opera. Like an 18th century “As the World Turns” it’s got just about everything except a character who returns from the dead and an evil twin. This is dark romance at its darkest and you single out Camille for the brunt of the abuse. Yes, the hero has some bad things happen to him but nothing like the whippings, lashings, rape, mental abuse and descent into a brandy bottle that awaits Camille. Halfway through the book, I felt like I needed to start Prozac.
I do give you credit for creating a consistent villain. Amelia is evil from beginning to end. Yet, I felt her reasons seemed to change as the book progressed. First she comes off as a religious fanatic, then her actions are because her mother beat her even worse and finally she hates Camille for being young and beautiful. And as for Bret, mother’s hand picked husband for Camille, I don’t care that in the end he was crippled with guilt. He did what he did and as Amelia said, no one could make him do that if he didn’t want to. He’s a loser bastard.
And I also had to think of the hero as a loser during his attempt to rescue Camille. After all the time he takes setting up their first attempt to leave, the second time he just appears, with no plan, no backup, no escape route or ship or horses or anything. He knows what her mother is capable of, sees Camille is as drunk as a skunk and still tries to get her out of the house. Then, when he’s caught, he acts surprised that Amelia’s going to have his ass thrown in jail. What the hell? Why does he completely lose all common sense?
And how does Patrick manage to wander all over a Ducal estate night after night? Where’s the nightwatchman? Where are the mastiff guard dogs? Why doesn’t anyone question why he’s still in town for a month and going out every night til all hours? And when in London, how can Camille wander through the stables so much and there be almost no servants there? How can her mother not see what’s going on or be told what’s going on for so long?
And as for Camille’s HEA. I just don’t see how this woman has much chance of happiness after all she goes through. I’m sure Patrick will try and make her happy but in the back of my mind, I keep thinking of Sybil and her 16 personalities.
From the reviews I’ve read of “Veiled Promises,” I know it’s working for a lot of people. I did enjoy your writing style and appreciate that you made your characters act like 18th century people. I just wish more of the book had worked for me than it did. C-