Wednesday, March 17, 2010

TBR Day. The Counterfeit Marriage / Joan Wolf. 1980.

A few years back I spent a grand total of $6.00 and bought a small stack of old traditional Regencies by Joan Wolf, all published in the '80s. Joan Wolf (link provided, but her site is currently offline) wrote a couple of my favorite trads, including The American Duchess and His Lordship's Mistress. The ones I bought were her earliest books. This particular book, The Counterfeit Marriage, was her very first.

I'm sorry to say that I could not bring myself to finish it.

TCM was published February 1980. Perhaps the date explains why the book begins with a rape of the heroine by the hero. When Catherine seems to get over her anger with James by p. 26, I knew I wouldn't go much further.

I did skim through the rest of the book. There's some interesting period stuff there. The book takes place after Waterloo. James had been instrumental in some of the diplomatic stuff after the war, but he leaves Vienna dissatisfied with the political situation and what he sees as a betrayal of the people of Spain. The Spaniards fought valiantly to repel Napoleon, only to see the European powers put a despotic king back on the throne of Spain. Anyhow, Catherine helps James see that hiding in the country pouting isn't going to improve the political situation.

So this whole book could have been made not only palatable, but flat out interesting if there had been some other reason to force a marriage of convenience between James and Catherine. But a drunken, brutal rape? James apologizes and all is good?

Uh, no.

While I was debating whether to finish it or not, I did a little googling to see if any other bloggers had anything to say about TCM. Joan Wolf herself mentions the book in an interview she did on Word Wenches back in 2007. She was not complimentary about her own book. Or you can see the comment by Janine here when Keishon reviewed An American Duchess. That pretty much convinced me to forget about finishing it.

So, what should I do with the book? I don't particularly want to keep it. If someone wants it, leave a comment saying so. I don't want to throw it away, either. That just seems wrong, lol!

2 comments:

  1. Janet W here ... I don't remember the rape leaping out at me but I do know that this is NOT on my keeper Wolf shelf and I adore her. There's a Lange with a rape that I can't re-read either. I am trying to finish my book so I can review it but I am a horrible procrastinator! :(

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  2. Despite an inauspicious beginning, I'm glad Wolf kept writing. She really was one of the better authors in the trad line.

    Oh, and I am totally with you on the procrastinating. Never do today what you can put off til tomorrow, lol!

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