DEARLY BELOVED by Mary Jo Putney, originally released in
2004, has been re-released after being out of print for some
time. If only the publishers had let it languish in
obscurity where it should have stayed. This old skool rapey
"romance" did not hold up to my reread of it. The "hero" is
an unmitigated asshat. Calling the heroine a whore every
other page is not the way to endear yourself to the readers.
Gervase rapes Mary in the prologue (he can't even wait until
the first chapter in the book!), the first time he meets
her, then blithely abandons her for years. There is NOTHING
that is going to salvage this man in my eyes after that. And
the "heroine"! We don't find out until 80% of the way into
the book why she has made the idiotic decisions that she
has. I already didn't like her, but once her reasoning is
revealed, I found her to be an even less sympathetic
character. The villain of the piece is a caricature. In
short, there is no reason for you to pick up this book,
unless you miss the olden days of romance where men were men
and women were raped, and they'd better like it, by god.
Mary Hamilton is a single woman living in a small rural
village in England who decides to chuck her peaceful and
apparently successful country life in order to move to
London and become a courtesan. As one does (rolls eyes).
Because of reasons. Uh huh. She brings along her son, her
companion, and a retired courtesan whom she rescued from
death in a snowstorm outside her barn, who guides Mary in
the ways of becoming a whore. The whole premise is bizarre.
As I said, the big reveal about why she chooses this happens
late in the book. It makes more sense when you learn what
her reasoning is, but by that time I've had it with her, and
I don't really care why she's made the idiotic choices that
Gervaise Brandelin works for the War Office as a spy master.
He thinks his courtesan, Mary Hamilton, may be passing
secrets to the French to aid Napoleon, but is still
contemplating a life with her?! He's alternating between
thinking he might care for her and thinking she's a spy
who's going to have to be hung. And he doesn't modify his
behavior around her to protect Britain's secrets. WTH, dude.
That's some piss poor spycraft right there. Why did Britain
even hire you?! And he's so emotionally closed off that
it\'s off-putting. I never feel like he really grows
emotionally or redeems himself in any manner.
I just want to shake the two of them and tell them to
freaking talk to each other. Big Misunderstandings that can
be cleared up with a bit of conversation are definitely a
pet peeve of mine. Adding this pet peeve to the many other
issues of this book makes this a big fat fail in my eyes.
Putney's DEARLY BELOVED is a book that should have stayed in
2004 where it belonged.
A sheltered life in the countryside has left Diana Lindsay
restless to see the wider world, for both herself and the
son she is raising alone. She cannot marry, but perhaps as a
courtesan she will find love and protection despite her
painful past. Gathering her courage, she moves to Londonâ€”and
finds herself the city's most desired woman, as admired for
her charm as for her beauty. But it is one man who
captivates herâ€”handsome, haunted, and harboring a secret as
deep as her ownâ€¦
Bound by the sins of his youth, Gervase Brandelin, the
Viscount St. Aubyn, has spent his adulthood seeking
redemption through service to England. Now a spymaster, he
can allow nothing to distract him from his duty. But when he
meets Diana, his burdens seem to lift. Though she can never
truly be his alone, their genuine love fills him with hope,
until a treacherous deceitâ€”and a deadly enemyâ€”threatens to