Why this one: I met the author at the last RWA and as she was an author whose first book was soon to be published, I wanted to give it a try.
Steam Level: Careful, this be a hot one
Blurb: THE PRICE OF PASSION…Sold. With one word, Lady Elena Ravenscliffe’s destiny changes forever. Forced into Constantinople’s slave market to pay off her late husband’s debts and save her son, Elena reinvents herself as Jinan—a harem girl adored by the rich lords who bid on her favors. But one man instantly sees through her façade.…IS COMPLETE SURRENDER Griffin Summerfield, Marquess of Rothburn, let Elena slip through his fingers years ago. When he recognizes her on the auction block, he pays an outrageous sum to possess her even if it is for a short period of time. But when his deadline looms, Griffin will risk all in a desperate bid to make her his—and his alone…
My Thoughts: I’m torn, really torn on this book. I have conflicting opinions on it and since it’s causing me to think - a lot, and ultimately I think that’s a good thing. If I could only use one word to sum up my feelings on this book, it would be ambiguous.
The hero, Griffin, is a former opium dealer and the only real reason he quit is because he became addicted to it himself. I didn’t get the impression that he gave it up for any moral reasons. He also ‘done the heroine wrong’ years previously, which contributed to her current situation and I don’t know if he ever really ‘got’ that. They were engaged many years previously and rather than face the wrath and manipulations of his uncle, he skipped town with no explanation to Elena, leaving her vulnerable to the bounder she married who sold her into slavery. He claims to have never forgot her and spent years looking for her, but considering where he finally found Elena, in a foreign ‘pleasure palace’ where the patrons ‘purchased’ women for weeks at a time, I don’t know how hurt his heart really was. Though to give him credit, when he did find her, he refused to let her go, even though he is somewhat high handed and bull headed in his treatment of her, it’s without question because he loves her.
The owner of the pleasure palace that Elena is sold into, Amir, is written as not so bad a guy; someone who truly cares about the women he has. But bottom line, all niceties aside, he’s a pimp, plain and simple. A pimp who owns the women he whores out. So as gentle and understanding as the author tries to make him, it’s wasted by what he is and what he does.
Elena holds too much in and I found that frustrating. She just assumed too many things. She assumes that Amir will not let her go so she doesn’t even consider talking to him about it. She assumes that Amir will treat her son badly so when Griffin rescues her, she is hell bent on getting back to Amir, even though he has given every indication that her son was safe with him. I just couldn’t understand her sheer desperation in getting away from Griffin and back to Amir. If I can’t understand the motivation, I find it difficult to relate to heroine on any kind of level. But the good news is I didn’t dislike Elena. It’s not a good thing if I dislike a heroine. I just didn’t understand where she was really coming from. She loved Griffin, she wanted to be with her, but figured it was impossible and didn’t even consider giving it a try.
Grade 3.75 out of 5
And a caveat on the grade. It’s rare that I do this. While I have given higher grades than this one, the grade doesn’t really reflect the entirety of things. I think this book, more than many, would be very interesting to debate and discuss. So if anyone has read it, I would love to hear your thoughts.