Its road trip time! Yes, If the Viscount Falls has a road trip, and not just any road trip. It’s a crowded road trip. This story is the fourth in The Duke’s Men series by Sabrina Jeffries, and I have to say, I haven’t been all that impressed with any in that series. And this one is no exception.
We have as our hero, Dom, the disinherited son of a viscount (which, by the way, I’m not sure could have been legal) and our heroine, Jane. Twelve years before this story begins Jane and Dom were engaged; however, because Dom luvvvved Jane so much he decided that since he’d been disinherited he wasn’t good enough for Jane, so instead of telling her what was going on, he stages a fake seduction of her cousin Nancy. His thinking is if Jane sees him in the act of forcing himself on Nancy, she will break off the engagement and that will somehow make everything OK. I cringed at this silly convoluted thinking. How this plan could possibly work was beyond me, but it did and Jane broke the engagement. However, later in the book it is revealed that she was probably on to him from almost the beginning. What made her mad was he made the decision for her. She was peeved. How dare he be so controlling. Let me tell you, her “how dare he be so controlling” attitude became pretty irritating after it was mentioned for the zillionth time in this book. In fact, Jane was quite an annoying character throughout the entire story. If she wasn’t whining, she was haranguing Dom about his leaving her for twelve l-o-n-g years, over and over and over and over.
Of course Dom wasn’t any less irritating; he was a controlling bonehead for most of the narration. How he and Jane would ever have a happy ending was beyond me. These were two of the most unlikeable characters I’ve encountered in a lonnnnng time. On top of that they were pretty immoral. She is engaged to a reasonably nice guy by the name of Edwin and Dom is trying to resist Jane’s “oxytocin putter-outer.” But they fail miserably and embark on an over the top “purple” bump and grind scene – moisture, grunts, groans, spit, slick stuff, hard things all over the place. It was truly ick-worthy, and while I’m on the subject of ick let’s talk about siblings. I love my brother; we have what I can only assume is a pretty typical sibling relationship – we bicker, we tease, we talk. But I would be really uncomfortable if he started to talk about his “whoopity-doo” life to me, which is what happens in this book. Dom’s sister Lisette doesn’t seem to have any problem revealing to her brothers what she and her husband do in the bedroom. In graphic detail! And this is in the Regency times! I know this scene was supposed to be funny and was supposed to show that these particular siblings could banter, but it was icky.
There were also numerous anachronisms that jumped out and threw me from the book. I’ve noticed in a lot of the historicals I’ve read lately that there seems to be an increase in modern language in these books, and as I’ve said before, if I like the book I can usually overlook them. However, it is starting to bother me more. It seems to me that the use of anachronisms is on the increase with authors who have been around the block awhile and should know better.
Let’s talk about crowding. This book has an overabundance of characters, and I got lost among the horde. I couldn’t keep track of who they were or what book they were from. There’s Lisette, Zoe, Edwin, George, Shaw, Tristan, Nancy, Max, Dr. Worth, Lord and Lady Ravenswood, Yvette, Ambrose, Claudine, Victor, Eugenie … a never-ending supply. While not all of these people show up for the road trip, most of them are there for the epilogue. By the way, the road trip is also crowded. After a few chapters of being alone together on the road, Jane and Dom are joined by Lisette and Max in one carriage and servants in another. It was a silly, over-the-top road trip.
I had a hard time finishing this book. There were numerous times I just wanted to close it and move on. As much as I am a supporter of romance novels and a great admirer of them, this one was tough to read. In the end I cannot recommend this book.