Sex Scene Length: 🍆
Oof. There were just so many problems with this little novella that I hardly know where to start. It was just…bad, honestly. I always cringe a little when a give a book one star. I feel bad, but I have to be honest.
The first problem was that the hero and heroine were hardly together. They didn’t share the page for the first 29%, which is a long time for a story that is only 90 pages to begin with. And then their scenes were extremely short, with very little conversation. They spent less than 50% of the book together, and maybe only half of that time talking. so there was virtually no character development and no bonding between them. There was no connection and no butterflies or anything as a result. I don’t know why you would spend that much time on a set up for a novella.
The second, and perhaps far bigger issue, was that it was just confused. They knew each other before the book starts, but have barely noticed each other beyond a passing attraction. Or so we are told. So, when they’re asking each other questions like they truly know one another, it simply doesn’t make sense. Especially when later their tune changes and suddenly, oh wait, they DO know each other. Well, which is it?
In 87 pages, they had 3 scenes together, and when they reflected on the previous scene, it didn’t match what actually happened. For example, in scene 2, the heroine says his kiss is not wild like their first kiss, but the first kiss was not wild at all. Impulsive, yes. Out of control? Absolutely not. In was on a terrace at a ball and lasted about 2 seconds and the hero was utterly composed through it. And that kind of thing happened a lot throughout the book.
It was simply strung together by a loose thread of an idea that never fully knitted together. In fact, I got the distinct feeling it was just a cluster of scenes for a book that was never finished and she decided to sell it as a novella. (Just a hunch).
I stayed with it in hopes for a good payoff. I was expecting good sex from Jess Michaels, but it was rather bad, too. The heroine asks him to have sex with her and his response is “I suppose it can’t hurt.” I’ve never read a less romantic line than that! Yikes.
It just didn’t work for me.
I also want to make a note from an art historical standpoint. The hero is a painter and he hides this from society. Towards the end, he makes a comment that men are not given the leeway to be artists, like women are. And this is very much historically inaccurate. Throughout history, the far majority of artists were men (and that is especially true for painters). Women who were artists were thought to be on the fringes of society. Think of the most famous painters from before the 1900s and you will think almost entirely of men. Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Titian, Botticelli. While there were women painters, they were largely overlooked, and mostly forgotten by history. Lastly, artists primarily made their living by securing wealthy patrons, like the nobility. While there was a time when being an artist was considered nothing more than skilled labor, that changed dramatically during the Renaissance, long before this book takes place, and so, there was little reason for him to hide this.
Overall, it’s a small thing that maybe not a ton of people would notice, but nevertheless, historically inaccurate