This book is so high on my list of worst books ever, it’s not only going to have a Wall Banger Wednesday feature all by itself, it is going to topple Pillars of the Earth off the #1 slot on my Amazon Listmania. How bad is that? I couldn’t even make it to page 100 before it caused serious wall damage.  Promoted as more than a historical fiction – well researched and “a window into the daily life of the upper class of the time”, and “The historical fiction novelist wears two hats: the storyteller and the historian. Every word must be checked, because back in 1518 they had different . . . everything! Even the English language was different” were a few bits I found on an author interview here. I’ve even heard it’s being found in the literature section of the bookstore and not the romance shelves. Even the library has it tagged as historical fiction.

OK, so this is serious stuff they tell me despite the cheesy cover. Speaking of covers, when was the last time you saw a hunk on the back cover instead of artwork and tons of author blurbs? Bad sign that. What’s wrong with this piece of historical fiction IMHO?

  • So the hero is Michael Devereaux, the foster son of a great Earl and he’s heir to the earldom. *Scratches head* How is it a foster son of questionable parentage becomes heir to an earldom? Weren’t those entailed to blood relatives, and when there’s no male heir the title goes back to the crown? 
  • Perhaps it’s explained later on in the book, but for some reason when our hero curses he says things like “Jupiter”. That’s in the days when they were all good catholics, or if you weren’t you sure as hell pretended to be one. I would think invoking the names of the old Gods might raise a few eyebrows, no?
  • Said foster son of powerful Earl shows up at court with virtually no retinue and not only does no one know who he is, he’s treated like dirt and doesn’t even get a how-do-you-do from the King?
  • I’m not even going into the disparity between the birth date of the real Princess Renee (daughter of Louis XII), with the date this story takes place (ummm, she’d be eight by my reckoning), let alone a daughter of the King of France making whoopee with a mere painter.
  • Want more? The French ambassador calls a Princess of the Blood a royal whore to her face.
  • More? Unattended, at a court gala, she waltzes up and introduces herself to a strange man and only provides her first name. No titles needed for this young miss.
  • More? The only lady attending this Royal Princess is her old nursemaid, no maids of honor that I saw.

All this plus over the top flowery prose consisting of way too much hitherto, heretofore and verily was enough to do serious wall damage – but this is the moment when the book flew,

“Her hand found his codpiece and kneaded him artfully. “take me, take me,”she implored, yanking her sleeve down to bare a generous white globe. She put his hand on her breast and wiggled her thighs against his groins. The lady was afire!……..Their joining was rough and urgent, pure lust, naught more, and Anne seemed to relish their shameless savagery. As she bounced in frenzied rhythm, her hips gyrating with increasing urgency, her mewing took on a high pitch.”

Making whoopee with a high born lady of Henry’s court right against one of the walls. Ooops, there’s a whole new meaning for the term wall banger! Sorry for that but I couldn’t resist. Sucker for punishment that I am I skimmed a bit further and found this one,

“How ferocious you are, my wild mare,” he whispered. “Do not try to unhorse me. Tougher combatants than you have tried…and failed.” He pushed his hand beneath her, smoothed his open palm over her heaving torso, and cupped her breast. His gentle fondling knocked the air out of her lungs. She squirmed as sparkly frissons of arousal skittered through her incapacitated body. He rolled a finger over her stiff nipple, thrumming her lute strings……Michael groaned. “You want me.”

WTF are “sparkly frissons of arousal”? Get it from the library if you must. I’m glad I did.