Only Thing Gorgeous About This is the Cover

Thursday, May 28

Gorgeous as Sin by Susan Johnson

Historical Romance
March 3, 2009
ISBN: 9780425226810

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From the Publisher:

Fitz Monckton, Duke of Groveland, has never encountered a woman he can't seduce -- until he clashes with the beautiful Rosalind St. Vincent, whose bookshop sits in the way of Fitz's lucrative development deal. If money won't entice Rosalind to sell her shop, Fitz must tempt her in other ways -- hopefully mutually pleasurable, and profitable to them both.

Could not find an excerpt to post (should have tipped me off)

I have been reading Susan Johnson novels for years. When I discovered her, I read all of her backlist of historicals as quickly as I could find them and still have a few of them on my keeper shelf. However, something about her writing changed for me with several of her newest releases that kind of put me off reading her for while. When I first learned about Gorgeous as Sin I was on the fence whether or not I would read it, but then I heard that this newest historical was similar to her older novels and would appeal to her disillusioned fans (apparently I was not the only one with these sentiments). So I thought, why not give it another chance before removing her from my reading list. I almost never do this, as everyone always deserves another chance…right?

Well, in this case, wrong. I didn’t like it….at all. I thought the plot was predictable, which is not a “sin” as long as the journey with the characters is enjoyable, but I didn’t like the characters either. Fitz, The Duke of Groveland, is an enterprising, scheming, selfish, entitled aristocrat who is used to getting his way, no matter what, or how much it costs him. Money is no object for him, and morals do not exist. He uses coercion, deception, manipulation….anything, even his own body, to win.

Rosalind is a widow who is on the forefront of the suffragette movement. She is progressive, independent to a fault, stubborn and self righteous. When Fitz and Rosalind first meet sparks fly (but not in a good way), as in:

“I hate you, bitch! You’re costing me time and money all because of your stupid and insignificant little book store”,

“Not as much as I hate you, you philandering rake, no amount of money can buy what I offer the community with my shop”.

Of course, this is not exact quote from the book, but I feel that it is a great summarization of the beginning of the book. Love and Hate are definitely two sides of the same coin for Fitz and Rosalind. I was a little put off at the beginning because of this, but thought that maybe their dialogue and actions towards each other would change as they fell in love, but they didn’t. Fitz calls Rosalind a “bitch” throughout the book, and not in a playful way, but in a derogatory way. Other than their attractiveness to each other I failed to understand what compelled their almost obsessive behavior to have an affair that eventually led to their “falling in love”, and I use that term loosely.

Some reviews I read did not like Fitz because they felt that he “cheated” on Rosalind when he slept with several other women during their brief affair. This did not really bother me because I felt that it accurately portrayed who he was and the type of life he was leading prior to meeting Rosalind, in addition, he and Rosalind were not in a committed relationship (neither wanted anything from the other except sex). It also had the added benefit of leaving A LOT of room for him to grow and mature as a character.

Their entire relationship is based on sex. I failed to comprehend how two people who acted the way they did, used, and treated the other person the way they did, fell in love. Fitz has investigators break into her home to find evidence of her illegal writing, uses estranged family members to try and convince her to “do the right thing”, inadvertently has her arrested and put in jail for writing erotica, and is willing to use any means necessary, including sex with him, to convince her to sell her property to him. Rosalind uses Fitz for the sex, after all she is a widow, and uses their affair as inspiration for writing her popular erotica serial. Both characters were flawed, and their story lacked any kind of intimate passion. I felt they each had a lot of room to grow, and was willing to accept them as they were written at the beginning, hoping that they would redeem themselves by the end, but it just didn’t happen.

Does this sound like a love story to you? It wasn’t for me. After reading this book the only thing I came away liking was the cover. I am hoping that my next historical read, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley, will renew my love of historicals (I’ve heard a lot of good things about it, so keep your fingers crossed).

Romance: 1.5
Passion: 2.0
Kleenex: 1.0
Overall: 1.5

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Lea May 28, 2009 at 8:10 AM  


Great review, I haven't read this author in, gosh a LONG time. Highly unlikely (as in will never) that I will be incline to pick up this one. lol

Thanks for sharing.

Best Regards

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