Desire and Duty by E.C. Jarvis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Desire and Duty has everything what it needs to be a book I would totally gush about: a female lead that isn't ashamed of her sexual needs or to give herself a helping hand, a suspenseful and well-paced plot, character development, hot sex, a hideous villain, a secret hero, and a husband who is just another tortured soul, unable to express himself or show feelings. That one character you hate first but pity afterwards. But even more important: an easy to read writing style despite words that have grown too rare in our modern times.
So - you might ask - why didn't you give five stars. Lilith? Why doesn't Tom say "epic" at the end of your review.
The answer is simple, because it is - disappointingly - just not epic. This book has everything and still doesn't deliver. It's like a sprinter who leaves everyone behind just to lose breath right in front the finish line.
There are some fact about the story line that just don't work for me, as they didn't make sense - which probably could have been avoided had there been more background info about specific characters, such as the villain - or were simply too easy to foresee, or were plain TSTL situations. None of them can I point out without spoiling you.
(view spoiler)[I am being brutally honest here, about my own, personal opinion:
The first thing that is screaming at me, is that Leonora never ever thought of the possibility that Nathaniel's child could inherit his hair, which was always pointed out to be bright red. That's plain stupid. And I don't say the author is stupid but the character, which makes her unlikable.
Then Lusk's behavior, really? From being slightly creepy to a full on molester, without any explanation? Okay, I'm willing to take the leap, but believe me when I say that a person disgusts you, you don't get off on anything he does to your body.
Last but not least an assassin knowing that the consort fears for her life, lurks in shadows so that she definitely will scream when she sees you.... really? (hide spoiler)]
It's never possible to write something that no one can anticipate. Real skill is to distract the reader from expecting what's going to happen next. I don't mind obvious plots - and I must admit I'm a sucker for foreseeing stuff - unless they ruin the experience and the final chapters did that to me.
And reading the end I have mixed feeling regarding whether I want to read the sequel or not.
Additionally to that some erotic scenes especially the non-con one were not really a pleasing read. Especially when specific word choices were used.
(view spoiler)["She felt a bubble of wetness pop free", "Another blob of wetness soaked into her undergarments." and so on just made me thing of:
Nonetheless, I want to end this review on a high note, because there are many things about the story I did enjoy. Especially Leonora - despite the one yet important lapse of intelligence - and her awareness of her own sexuality and needs. Desire and Duty definitely combines many aspects that usually have their own sub-genre books and I really enjoyed the diversity even though some readers might be repelled by it.
I'm rounding up the stars because my personal preferences definitely had some impact on my rating.
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