Author: Julie Anne Long
Series: Pennyroyal Green #1
Release Date: January 29, 2008
Page Count: 375
Summary from Goodreads:
Scandal has rocked the city of London. Colin Eversea, a handsome, reckless unapologetic rogue is sentenced to hang for murder and, inconveniently for him, the only witness to the crime disappears. Then again, throughout history, the Everseas have always managed to cheat fate in style: Colin is snatched from the gallows by a beautiful, clever mercenary.
Cool-headed, daring Madeleine Greenway is immune to Colin's vaunted charm. Her mission is not to rescue Colin but to kidnap him, and to be paid handsomely for it. But when it becomes clear that whoever wants Colin alive wants Madeline dead, the two become uneasy allies in a deadly race for truth. Together, they'll face great danger—and a passion neither can resist.
Well. This is not a particularly promising start to a rather long romance series, honestly. Occasionally, The Pleasures of Peril was good, but more often than not, it wasn’t. Actually, I nearly fell asleep while reading it, which is just not a good sign. Ever.
The story is about a man and a woman running across England to discover who’s trying to get them killed. It’s, then, a mystery—but not a very interesting one. There are multiple lengthy infodumps and boring conversations related to the mystery. Whatever Julie Anne Long’s talents may be, writing engaging mystery novels is certainly not one of them.
And though The Perils of Pleasure has strong elements of mystery, it is first and foremost a romance. Unfortunately, the romance elements of the book were just as disappointing as the rest of it. Colin Eversea was a sometimes (often not) likeable cliché, and Madeleine Greenway was just so poorly developed I couldn’t decide if I liked her or not. I really didn’t buy the chemistry between them at all, and the sex scenes were frightfully tedious.
Another issue here is some of the language/phrasing/themes Long used. For instance, at one point Colin starts to imagine sex with Madeleine “because his body had its own instincts, which so often overrode whatever judgment he possessed.” You got that, everyone? Colin’s penis is driving the bus, and he really can’t be held accountable for his actions. Huzzah for perpetuating rape culture!
Somewhere down the line from that rape apologist mentality, Madeleine is feeling blue, and Colin wants to comfort her. But, being Colin, he doesn’t want to do it because he feels genuinely bad for her or because he wants to make her feel better. Nope, not he. Colin wants to comfort Madeleine “because he was certain that what began in comfort would end as lovemaking. [...] Her control was formidable, but if Colin did have a genius for anything, it was knowing when a woman was most likely to capitulate.” OH HELL TO THE NO. Here this guy is, planning on taking advantage of an emotional woman, when probably she’s not even interested in sex with him at this point in time? Colin, you suck.
Is it just me, or does this smell like rape?
Further evidence of Colin’s suckiness is evidenced in The Perils of Pleasure’s entire conflict. Basically, Colin is trying to get back home as quickly as possible because his “one true love” is about to marry another man. Meanwhile, he has no problem with having sex with Madeleine, and he eventually falls in love with her and proposes. However, she refuses, and the first thing he does is run to his “one true love” to see if she’ll have him. Colin, Colin, Colin. What on earth is your problem, dude?
I’m not very impressed with The Perils of Pleasure. It was, above all, boring. And when you look underneath the boring, it’s actually rather troubling. This is my first Julie Anne Long novel, and as of right now, she’s definitely not in the running for favorite historical romance author. Not even close.