All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Wicked Designs by Lauren Smith

on July 10, 2017

Wicked Designs (The League Of Rogues #1)
Lauren Smith
Samhain Publishing Ltd
2014, 407p
Freebie on iBooks

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

The League of Rogues takes what they want—but have they taken on too much?

For too long Miss Emily Parr has been subject to the whims of her indebted uncle and the lecherous advances of his repulsive business partner. Her plan to be done with dominating men forever is simple—find herself a kind husband who will leave her to her books. 

It seems an easy enough plan, until she is unexpectedly abducted by an incorrigible duke who hides a wounded spirit behind flashing green eyes.

Godric St. Laurent, Duke of Essex, spends countless nights at the club with his four best friends, and relishes the rakish reputation society has branded him with. He has no plans to marry anytime soon—if ever. But when he kidnaps an embezzler’s niece, the difficult debutante’s blend of sweetness and sharp tongue make him desperate for the one thing he swears he never wanted: love. 

Yet as they surrender to passion, danger lurks in Godric’s shadowed past, waiting for him to drop his guard—and rob him of the woman he can’t live without. 

Product Warnings:
This novel includes a lady who refuses to stay kidnapped, a devilish duke with a dark past, and an assortment of charming rogues who have no idea what they’ve gotten themselves into.

I actually really love historical romance. They’re a great palate cleanser for me – often after reading something quite harrowing or depressing, I’ll read a couple just to refresh myself. They tend to follow a formula but it can really work with the right balance. This book didn’t even come close to having anything remotely resembling a balance.

Rakes often do rakish things, it’s why they’re called rakes. However I think Godric and his little band of followers definitely overstepped the mark from ‘rakes’ and well into ‘assholes’. He constructs an elaborate plan to kidnap and ruin Emily because her uncle owes him money. Let’s examine that for a moment….

He decides to kidnap and ruin a woman he doesn’t know and doesn’t have anything to do with and hasn’t ever had anything to do with, who has done him no ill, because her uncle, owes him money. In an age where chastity can be all a woman has in order to further herself, to escape a miserable existence (as is Emily’s), making a good marriage can be the difference between happiness and cruelty. Godric plans to take the one thing that might actually benefit Emily in a petty act of revenge. In an added twist, Emily’s uncle doesn’t actually care a single bit for her and is using her only as a bargaining chip to pay off another creditor so technically Godric’s plan isn’t even going to have its intended effect. Emily’s uncle isn’t going to be devastated, cowed and shamed by his niece’s ruin. At best he’s going to be somewhat irritated that he couldn’t pass her off to be married to his odious business partner. In fact the only person who loses is Emily. Big time.

But it’s okay because Godric and his friends are handsome and charming and rich. It doesn’t matter that they manhandled her, drugged her, kidnapped her and plan to ruin her, either by just the aforementioned acts or the actual physical act. Godric finds himself not averse to offering Emily an esteemed position as his mistress and seems quite baffled when she won’t accept. Because he is handsome and charming and rich any girl should be thrilled to be his mistress. Never mind that Emily is sheltered, inexperienced and hoping to use the one thing she had (her virginity) to marry a kind man who would hopefully not squander the inheritance she receives upon marrying. Basically Godric ruins her chances of that ever happening and Emily should be furious. And in the beginning she kind of is and she fights, including punching one of them in the face, trying to escape. But she seems to accept her fate annoyingly easily, somehow finding the whole bunch of them amusing (they aren’t) as well as you know, handsome and charming and rich. Rich they probably all are, they’re all Dukes and Marquesses and Earls and what have you. Handsome they may be too. But honestly? I didn’t find any of them at all charming. Kidnapping a woman and keeping her against her will is heinous. Godric’s reasoning was pathetic and so were his lame attempts at seduction. Emily soon lost all her spark and turned into an annoying boring wet blanket with some simpering version of Stockholm Syndrome.

I think we are supposed to find Godric some sort of saviour because Emily’s uncle has a far worse fate for her in mind and it’s no doubt that the man he wishes to basically sell her to, is the worst but he is the worst in a way where it’s like the author has deliberately thought of the most hideous person she can insert into the narrative in order to distract from the fact that her ‘hero’ is basically no better underneath. In fact the two of them have similar actions and thoughts, it’s just one involves doing it for the enjoyment of violence and the other is doing it to punish someone else and satisfy his curious desire. Neither of them respect Emily as a person and think of only what they themselves can get out of using her. The only thing I can say about Godric is well, at least he didn’t actually physically hurt her? Even though there’s one scene where he nearly rapes her because he doesn’t believe that she’s actually saying no until she starts to cry. And one of his friends intervenes but because Emily lied to him earlier about speaking a foreign language he leaves them to it because he can’t trust she isn’t lying now.

Oh hi, lying about whether or not you can understand men trying to talk about you in a different language in front of you isn’t the same as claiming you are being forced into a situation you are not comfortable with. She’s an 18 year old virgin. Several of the men have younger sisters. I’d like to know what they’d think about someone treating those sisters the appalling way they all treated Emily. Those little band of followers all get their own book and their own chances to be incredibly douchey to women they supposedly have feelings for, I’m sure. And despite the fact that one of the books sounds really good, I’m not going to read it. Because this one is awful. Downright horribly awful in a way that if it was the first historical romance I’d ever read, I might never have picked up another one.


Book #117 of 2017

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