When Lisa Valdez published Passion several years ago, the buzz was tremendous. Everyone seemed to be talking about and reading the book and looking forward to the sequel – Patience. But a year went by, and then another, then another until readers were fast losing their patience. Well, the book is finally here – was it worth the wait?
Matthew Morgan Hawkmore has a privileged place in society as the younger brother of the Earl of Langley. He was engaged to be married to the Lady Rosalind Benchley and with his good name, handsome features and independent fortune he seemingly had a golden future ahead of him. Then his world crashed. Matthew discovered that his father was not the old Earl, but instead a gardener who had an affair with the Countess of Langley. Lady Rosalind broke their engagement, many of Matthew’s friends dropped him, and Rosalind’s father set out to destroy his business, the Grand West Railway. Matthew is hurt down to his soul and has vowed that he will never trust another woman – ever.
Patience Dare is a beauty. She is the sister of Passion Dare, who married Matthew’s brother. When Matthew met her at the wedding, they talked and shared a deep kiss which shook them both to their cores and Matthew vows he will have her. Several months later at a masked ball, Matthew cuts in on Patience and dances her to his room. He tells her he wants to make her burn with passion, and she acquiesces, only asking him not to take her virginity. He cuts off her clothes, burns them in the fireplace and makes passionate love to her. Then he ties her loosely to the bed posts and leaves her telling her if she is there on his return, he will know she wants what he wants. Of course she stays and he returns to make even more passionate love to her.
Patience and Matthew meet again and again. He is a very dominant male: ”Even if what I command is your punishment, you will endure it for my pleasure. And you will look at me and pay me the tribute of your emotions, no matter how difficult. Is that clear?”. Patience learns to submit and learns that she likes it, and Matthew falls in love with her. However, Patience has a secret from her past that makes her wary. She was hurt badly when she fell in love with the man who taught her how to play the cello and she is wary of love. Sex as Matthew is showing her is all right, but love is not something she wants.
There’s an external plot involving Lord Benchley’s attempt to ruin Matthew’s business. Rosalind lies to Patience about her relationship with Matthew and all this leads to a Big Misunderstanding and separation. Most of the external plot is introduced in the beginning and then lies dormant during the middle while Patience and Matthew explore their relationship, then the plot comes thundering back in the last third of the book.
So did I like it? Well…yes and no. Patience is very old school and at times reminded me of a cross between Rosemary Rogers with a bit of Bertrice Small thrown in. The characters are very much larger than life and Matthew verged on cruelty more than once. I’m not sure I am the type of reader for this book since I don’t find BDSM erotic at all. Most of the time, I find it silly, especially when the prose gets really purple. While the author uses mostly technical terms for Patience’s sexual organs, she gets very creative when it comes to Matthew. She constantly refers to his testicles as his cods. I couldn’t help but think of fish. And I don’t like pain and mind games.
At several points, I wondered if I was reading one of John Norman’s old Gor novels. Matthew goes on and on and on about how Patience must want what he wants because he knows she wants it because he wants it and she has to want it because he wants it and he knows she wants it and if she doesn’t know she wants it, he will have to punish her until she knows she wants it……and right about then, I began to speed read. He also talks (and acts) about how women were born to submit and spanks Patience to the point of real pain for her. I’m not much of a feminist, but there were times I bristled and wanted to give him a piece of my mind. What a creep! However, Matthew did redeem himself a bit with a wonderful grovel at the end and it seemed to me that he began to think that partnership might be more fulfilling than dominance. I hope so.
On the plus side, Patience is fast moving and engaged me despite myself. Yes, the prose tends to be purple, but only in the love scenes – the rest of the book is smoothly written and will pull the reader in from the beginning. Lisa Valdez has a way of describing places and people so that I could picture them quite vividly. Readers who don’t mind BDSM will probably enjoy this more than I did, but even though I did not like Matthew, I still mostly enjoyed Patience.