Wednesday, February 20, 2013

TBR Challenge: February

This place needs sprucing up.  Or something.  I definitely need to do some updating on the sidebar, not to mention throwing a post or two up for something other than the TBR Challenge reviews I plan on sticking with.  I will do better, I will do better... 

But for now, I'll stick with smaller things -- keeping up-to-date with La Wendy's challenge.  February, our task or suggested reading was a book recommended by someone.  I chose The Taming of the Duke by Eloisa James, because I'm sure someone recommended it back in its heyday ('06) somewhere.  For those keeping score and absolutely MUST read in order, TTOTD is # 3 in the Essex Sisters series and the story of Imogen, a widow who has recently returned to her guardian's house in England.  The fact that aforementioned guardian, Rafe, the Duke of Holbrook, is nothing more than a drunkard does not derail him from his duty of keeping the Essex sisters in line.  His drunkenness has always bothered Imogen though, who can barely stand spirits, let alone dukes who live to drink. 

When she arrives at Holbrook Court however, she finds that Rafe has discovered that he has a half brother, Gabriel, and that they are in the beginning stages of planning a theatrical.  O_o  Of course there's some backstory for their reasons, but honestly they're lost in the deriding Imogen thrives in towards Rafe for wasting his life and physique to the bottle.  It's not long before Rafe gives up the booze for better living, and that's when the obscure theatrical becomes the vehicle for more than just luring Gabe's ex-lover (the mother of his child, and an up-and-coming actress in London) to Holbrook Court.  Honestly, I never did truly understand the reasons for Rafe and his guests desiring to put on a play, other than to lend credo to the weirdness of the aristocracy?

To wrap it all up in a nutshell, Imogen has decided to take a lover and fixates on Gabriel as the perfect candidate.  What Rafe lacks in manners, sex appeal and scintillating conversation, Gabe has in spades.  But that's before Rafe gives up liquor and poses as his brother for various liaisons with Imogen.  Even as Imogen continues seeing Gabe in secret - or so she thinks - it's not long before she starts seeing Rafe as something more than her tiresome guardian and looks at him through a woman's eyes.  Confused much?

And this is when I gave up on the rest of the story and started reading faster just to get it over with.  Don't get me wrong, I loved Rafe, especially the fact that Ms. James cast him as an alcoholic who gives booze up just for the sake of giving it up.  It wasn't so easy to like Imogen though.  She's almost cruel in some aspects, especially in her dealings with Rafe.  Or maybe it's because I look at alcoholism through different eyes.  My husband was an alcoholic, and he died from it.  It's easy to blame the alcoholic who cares nothing for his family and even mistreats them, but Rafe seemed to be a good guy.  He turned to the bottle after his beloved older brother died and didn't look back.  Of course, there is no good reason to drown yourself this way, and there's no excuse to became a boozehound.  Or maybe I have an injured view of the disease, and maybe that's what made me dislike Imogen so much.  Hell if I know.  And I didn't mean to drag all of this out in what's supposed to be a fun review, but it's still there in my opinion of the book.

All of that to say, The Taming of the Duke wasn't my most favorite book by Eloisa James, and that's hard to admit since I'm a fan.  Maybe in 10 years I can read it again and come up with a different opinion, but since I'm seriously needing to offload some books to make way for my mom moving in -- I don't see me doing that.                 


Wendy said...

Sigh. Blogger just ate my comment. Stupid Blogger. Let me try to recreate it....

Even the most hardened of reader is going to bring some of their own personal baggage into a book they're reading - especially when the author is exploring conflict that has personally touched your life. It happens to all of us. But seriously girl - it's totally OK to DNF a book - even if you've had it languishing in your TBR for *coughcough* years :)

And yippeee! You blogged!

Amy said...

I actually finished it, but what I didn't touch on in the review was that I just never 'bought' the connection between Rage and Imogen. Most of the book he broods when around her and she nags him. And then she capers off on these rendevous with Gave, thinking she's falling in live with HIM. Arg!

nath said...

Hey Amy :)

Perhaps sprucing the blog up will give you more motivation to post. Just putting out there :) Taking it one day at a time though, that's a start :) The best plans can always be foiled and I speak from experience.

Awww, too bad The Taming of the Duke didn't work for you. It's worst when you're a fan of the author. For me, Ms James is always hit and miss... I haven't read this series yet and I might, but I'll lower my expectations for this one. But gotta say, Imogen doesn't sound very likable ^_^;