Ravish Me With Rubies
Ravish Me With Rubies, the third book in Jane Feather’s The London Jewels series just did not work for me. I wanted to punch the hero – which is the kiss of death for a romance novel.
When Petra Rutherford was fourteen she met and fell in love with twenty-four-year-old Guy Granville, Baron Ashton, while he was visiting friends near her country home. She had just started going out in society and he was bored; they danced, strolled along a moonlit lake, kissed a few times and then he left Somerset abruptly. She has never forgiven him for leaving without a word and when she meets him again ten years later, she decides to make him want her again and then drop him like he dropped her.
“I can still play the game. In fact, if he thinks I’m still malleable and yielding as I was ten years ago, it might be even more of an unpleasant surprise for him when he sees who I really am. I’ll shatter his preconceived notions like crystal on concrete. That’ll teach him to make assumptions.”
Petra and her two friends think this is a delightful plan. Guy is beyond arrogant and a known rake; he is also opposed to women’s rights – a movement that Petra is deeply involved in. In their eyes, Guy deserves to be bested. Petra decides to make him fall for her but instead they both fall into serious lust with each other and tumble into bed (or sofa) after just a few weeks.
I’ve never been a big fan of heroes and heroines who play games with each other, so right away this was going to be a tough sell. And I know things were different back then but why is a twenty-four-year-old man kissing a fourteen-year-old girl? And why is that girl/woman still holding a grudge ten years later? It all seemed off to me. I was also surprised when Petra and Guy have sex so soon after meeting again; she’s a virgin, he mentions nothing of marriage and they embark on an affair with little concern for Petra’s reputation. Again, not really true to the time period. Which leads to another confusion. No date is given (at least in the ARC) in the book but since Emmeline Pankhurst is mentioned and Guy has a car, I’d date the book around 1905. But then Petra mentions the queen having nine children – clearly Queen Victoria – and attending a horse race – clearly NOT Queen Victoria (who died in 1901 and was not seen much in public before then). Confusing!
But my biggest problem with Ravish Me With Rubies is with Guy who is, simply detestable. There’s a scene where he and Petra argue about her choice not to wear a corset –
Petra stared at him, astonished. “Do you know what such a constriction does to one’s insides?”
“I know what it does to a woman’s outsides,” he commented with a smile that she found infuriating. “And I have to say, my dear, that in general I approve.”
Okay, so maybe he is ignorant. Petra then proceeds to have a demonstration with a typical corset applied to her body while a woman doctor clearly explains what it is doing to Petra’s insides and Guy’s reaction is to dismiss the doctor and instruct Petra to put on an evening gown and stand in front of the mirror.
“I’m not at all sure what that little demonstration was intended to achieve, my dear Petra,” he remarked, closing the door behind him. “But it gives me an opportunity to demonstrate something of my own. Come to the mirror…Look at you, how graceful and elegant you are.” He turned her sideways to show her profile. “Don’t tell me you can’t see the difference the corset makes. It gives you stature”.
And sadly, Guy doesn’t improve much as the book goes on. He continues to be overbearing, judgmental, condescending and dismissive until the last few pages of the book. Too late my dear Guy, you are an arse and that’s that!
I just don’t see the point of writing (or reading) a book with such an unlikeable hero. If another man had stepped in, punched Guy, and courted Petra, that would have been much more romantic. As it was, watching Petra put up with Guy was not enjoyable. So, unless you are into this sort of thing, I advise you to skip Ravish Me With Rubies and find something less infuriating.