I was given an advanced copy of this book and, since I’ve enjoyed Elisabeth Hobbes’ work before, I sat down with my cocoa, looking forward to the first couple of chapters before bed.
At 2.30am, I turned the last page, satisfied with the way the book ended and assured that I’d at last be able to sleep, without wondering what would happen next.
Sir Roger Danby is a bad boy. A player who thinks women are there for his – and their – pleasure. He’s a bit of a bully, too, arrogant and, I have to say, not the most likeable of men. Yet, I felt strangely drawn to him, wanting to know more, hoping he would come good in the end.
His constant innuendo was very real, reminiscent of oh, so many men one encounters. They think they’re witty. We women roll our eyes.
However, there was a certain vulnerability about the man, too, and a naivete, shown by his genuine belief that every woman he had ever bedded had come willingly and because she couldn’t resist him, rather than because it was a man’s world and she didn’t really have much choice.
In Lucy, though, he found the perfect foil. Terrified she may be, but she isn’t about to surrender and meekly let herself be trampled over by him. She’s been burnt before, and she isn’t putting herself anywhere near that fire again, if she can help it.
The story was also satisfying because there were no cardboard cut-out villains. All the characters we met came across as real people, their actions and attitudes believable, their motives understandable, if sometimes reprehensible.
I did guess whose fault it was that Roger was hurt in the first place, but that didn’t detract from the story at all. Not every work has to be a whodunnit, and I didn’t guess the why till the end, so that was OK.
I wonder if we will see more of Roger’s squire, Thomas, in the future, and learn how/whether he has matured? I do hope so.