FORBIDDEN….. About Touching Things You’re Not Supposed To, and When Heroes are Better in Someone Else’s Story
Name: Jordan Willis, auburn-haired Earl of Blackmore; by day he crusades for social reforms in Parliament, by night he’s busy winning the affections of the bored wives and widows of the ton.
Falls For: Prim yet proper rector’s daughter Miss Emily Fairchild, blackmailed into posing as wild Scottish debutante Lady Emma Campbell.
Story Recounted By: Sabrina Jeffries, in The Forbidden Lord (1999)
Hangs Out In: Parliament, the British Museum, clubs, the opera (London 1819)
Likes: merry “uncomplicated” widows, social reform, his militant sister Sara.
Dislikes: falling in love (but he does fall in the end, and there’s quite a lot of heat along the way!)
Badass Hero Moment: Arranges sizzling hands-on private encounter with the Elgin Marbles, newly displayed at the British Museum. “I’m a trustee of the museum…”
Badass Annoying Moment: Insists throughout that he doesn’t believe in love, that his heart remains untouchable and his desire for our heroine is purely physical, yet proves his emotions are deeply involved — and confused — when he’s all too willing to believe the worst of her.
(too) Frequently Described As: Controlled.
Might Look Like: Rupert Penry-Jones as Captain Wentworth in the 2007 PBS Persuasion.. ?
To Read Or Not To Read? This is the middle book in the Lord trilogy, and, like the other two, it’s a bit of a romp, with occasional interludes of character development revealing painful histories and inner emotions. A fun read largely because SJ does such a good job building the ever-intensifying sexual attraction between Jordan and Em(ma)ily. There are evil, scheming relatives and unsuitable suitors all over the place getting in the way of the HEA, but there is connection and chemistry to get them past these obstacles. Usually false identity “uncanny double” storylines are irritating because you can’t believe the hero/ine doesn’t realize the deception sooner, but in this case we get that out of the way quickly, which is a relief. Blackmore is nothing if not keenly observant when it comes to women.
The odd thing is that I think I found Jordan more compelling, and even more sexy, as Sara’s ruthless brother in Book 1 of the Trilogy than in his own book, where his edge seems blunted by the plot device that drives the central conflict — his insistence that he doesn’t “believe in love” just comes off as annoying and repetitive.
This trilogy from a decade or so ago was reissued by Avon and I think if Steamy Regency is your thing, this fits the bill quite nicely. Lord’s sake, I could not stop reading in spite of it being neither the steamiest, nor the funniest, of its ilk! (And I’m not sure why, but I think in this case I actually like the old cover better…)
Tangentially Related … and Possibly Diverting:
Arrival, Exhibition and Early Reception of the Elgin Marbles in London, from APOLLO.
These iconic fragments of classical Greek sculpture were removed from the Parthenon in Athens in the 1790’s and brought to London. Controversy over this looting/appropriation/rescue (you decide) raged even then, and they were not displayed publicly until after 1816, but they remain in London today and the controversy over where they belong continues. It could just be the erstwhile art historian in me, but the scene in the Museum where they’re alone together with their hands all over the freaking Elgin Marbles really got my attention. All that forbidden touching!!
Pamela Poll: Who are your favorite secondary character heroes? Have you ever been disappointed when they seemed less Badass in their own book?
BONUS QUESTION: Have you ever touched something in a museum that was off-limits?