Ask for It
No matter how deliciously erotic the love scenes might be, the simple truth is that they’re not-so-erotic when the characters who feature in them are brats. Make that spoiled, immature brats.
The author’s style is so appealing, quite frankly, that writing this review isn’t a pleasure. But, regretfully, hero, Marcus, Lord Eldridge, and Elizabeth, Lady Hawthorne, spend all of Ask for It finding reasons – some of them more than a bit of a stretch – to come to the wrong conclusions about each other, making this book a relentless stream of both Big and Little Misunderstandings. They’re so good at thinking the worst of each other, in fact, that their HEA rings just about as hollow as any I can think of in recent memory. This couple is so volatile and so ready to jump to the wrong conclusions that it seems likely to me that the harmony they achieve by the end of the book is destined to be pretty short-lived.
The plot is one of those espionage things, with Marcus another one of those aristocratic crack spies. Despite the wishes of his superior, he insists on being the man to protect Elizabeth, who’s in possession of some kind of spy journal that her now-dead spy husband (yes, yet another aristocratic spy) left behind. Marcus and his superior believe that Elizabeth is in danger and must be protected (a very logical conclusion, by the way) while they try to catch the bad guy they believe is after the book.
Of course, Marcus and Elizabeth have a history. They were once engaged, but Elizabeth cried off after discovering Nicholas and a woman wearing nothing but bathrobes late one evening in his London home. Marcus (for reasons that remained mysterious to me) remains obsessed with Elizabeth, while Elizabeth hates Marcus in true romance heroine style.
Within the basic confines of that plot, the author inserts a whole lot of tempestuous arguments, many misunderstandings, and some nicely done love scenes. Unfortunately, if you can’t stand the featured players, those love scenes offer little relief.
The plot is full of so many holes that Elizabeth comes off as a brat who strays into TSTL-land more than once in this book – among other things, for example, she refuses to believe she’s in danger despite boat loads of evidence to the contrary. So what does our heroine do except hare off in the middle of the night taking a real chance on putting herself in…well, danger? Add in the fact that Elizabeth comes to understand fairly early in the book that she was wrong in concluding that Marcus was unfaithful to her all those years ago, yet that doesn’t stop her from hating him in true romance heroine style with what can only be described as the fiery passion of a thousand suns.
As for Marcus, he admits to being obsessed with Elizabeth and, after a few more of those Big and Little Misunderstandings, finally succeeds in getting her to marry him. Nevertheless, being the articulate and sensitive guy that he is, he somehow still manages to convince Elizabeth that his proposal and all that hot sex they’re having both before and after are insults. Can I just say sheesh?
Also, a word of warning: There is a spanking scene of the “I’ll tame you, you spoiled wench” variety fairly early in the book. No matter how in tune with the sentiment I might have been, it came off as more than a bit offensive to the feminist in me.
I’ve been hearing the buzz about Sylvia Day for a while now and was interested to try her. Unfortunately, both the author’s plot and her characters were such a let down that her undeniable way with a love scene just couldn’t make up for it. The sad truth is that misunderstandings and tempestuous arguments do not a book make. Well, certainly not a good book, anyway.