RUTHLESS by Anne Stuart

This review is for the Anne Stuart novel Ruthless, book one in the House of Rohan trilogy. Synopsis can be found here. It was published by Mira in August 2010. The story takes place in France and England in 1768. I'm not sure about the time span but guess it's around a few weeks.

The heroine is Elinor Harriman, 23, English, and has brown hair and brown eyes. The hero is 39 year old Francis Rohan, English, with brown hair and blue eyes. He's been living in France for 22 years. Elinor lives with her dying mother and younger sister, 17 year old Lydia and their two servants. They're dirt poor.

 Elinor goes to the home of Francis to find her mother, Caroline. Francis is known for having wild orgies and the like. Her mother is there gambling away the last of their money. From the get-go, Francis takes a liking to Elinor, who is supposed to be unattractive and has an ugly nose, which we hear about constantly. When Elinor's home burns down and her mother dies in it, they go to live with Rohan and then her nanny/servant dies there from the fire.

 This book really doesn't have much of a plot and isn't very good. All it's about is Francis's strange obsession with Elinor, who has no interest in him. They finally have sex once and then she overhears him telling his friend, 31 year old Charles Reading, something to the effect of him not caring about her. She flees the home with her cousin Marcus Harriman and they travel back to England and get married. They go for a walk immediately afterward.

She finds out he's really her half brother and he tries to throw her off a cliff. He's the one who tried to kill her in the house fire so that he can inherit the Harriman estate from her. Right then Francis and Charles just happen to see them struggling and he comes to her rescue and kills Marcus. Just before all this happens, Charles marries her sister Lydia. Right after the murder, Francis tells Elinor that he wants her if she'll have him. She says she does. Francis, Charles and Elinor travel back to France via yacht immediately afterward.

My thoughts: This book was so boring and that's the truth. I was so excited to read it but it didn't live up to my expectations at all. I liked the hero and heroine OK but I didn't like Elinor's sister Lydia at all. We had to hear about how beautiful and pretty she was throughout the entire novel. I didn't like that she and Charles got married when they didn't really know each other at all. I don't know where that relationship came from or why it was even in the book. I didn't like that Francis was so obsessed with Elinor. It made no sense to me. The one thing that I did like about this was the big 16 year age gap between the hero and heroine. Authors just don't do that anymore. Usually there's just a few years difference in age between them. I rate this a C or D, or 2 or 3 stars. I certainly hope the other two in the series are much better than this one.

Other books by Anne can be found here. The other two in this series are:
  • Reckless Sept 2010
  • Breathless  October 2010

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