I am going to review Grace Burrows’ historical romance Douglas: Lord of Heartache by posting spoilers and complaints. One of them is informative, yet icky. You have been warned.
What is with Grace Burrows and precious bodily fluids? She’s not the only one who mentions them, but she is the only one whom I ever read that actually uses the term “mop up”. Is it for verisimilitude? Is it just her thing? It’s not that she discusses them more than others, but there’s an extra layer of prurience and “clean up on aisle 6!” to it.
The heroine, Gwen, has had (unpleasant) sex once in her life and became pregnant, yet the second time she participates, she gives no thought to pregnancy. From my limited experience, I know Burrows writes instant family romances, but does the small human walking around and calling her “Mama” not tweak any sense of caution? MOREOVER, despite getting pregnant the only other time she indulged, the heroine has to be told by the hero of her condition. She didn’t realise, despite having lived in seclusion as a result of her transgressions, and, this is the big clue, missing her period, that she is pregnant. The hero has been away for some time, but with just Gwen’s naps to go on, he draws a correct conclusion. How does she not fall down more? In a genre built around pseudo-historical realities, far-fetched plotting, inconceivable social situations, and a hot man for every overlooked woman’s bed, the “and then my beloved whispered in my ear that I have fallen gravid” trope is one of the most ridiculous.
Novellas have to get in and get out quickly (kind of like Gwen’s sex life, HEY-O) and Douglas: Lord of Heartache managed to pack some melodrama into the compact length. Stilted, illogical melodrama that lots of people must love because Burrows is a tremendously successful genre writer. I don’t get it and that is a shame because she has a vast back catalogue and I do so love to storm through those.