Ridley's Reviews > Enchanting Pleasures

Enchanting Pleasures by Eloisa James
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May 18, 10

bookshelves: regency, 2-star, disabled-h-h, read-2010, ebook
Read in May, 2010

This was my first Eloisa James and I must admit that it doesn't make me want to try a second one of her books. It wasn't badly written, well not too badly, but the book's bra straps were totally showing.

Erskine Dewland's viscount father has arranged for Quill, as Erskine is nicknamed, to marry Gabrielle Jerningham, the daughter of a duke's younger son who has been living in India as a missionary. However, Quill's riding accident a few years back left him with a bum leg and migraines - acute three-day migraines which are triggered by horse riding and sexual congress. Unwilling to be married if he can't be a true husband, his father compels Quill's younger brother Peter to marry her instead, much to Peter's consternation.

Thus begins a sort of comedy of errors.

Gabrielle has grown up in India in an extremely sheltered home and is utterly ignorant of English rules of decorum and social skills in general. Her frequent gaffes, clumsy moments and misjudgements are meant to be humorous, I suppose, but I found them grating. I didn't understand why she wouldn't ask for guidance or quietly observe how others behaved if she truly wanted to impress the propriety-focused Peter as she said she did.

So we stumble along the romantic love triangle plot, an odd sub-plot involving smuggling a young heir to an Indian throne and a seemingly random sub-plot romance between a male character whose presence in the novel is never explained and woman who's connected to Gabby in a loose friend of a friend sort of way. I can't for the life of me imagine what the extra romance sub-plot was included to show, but the prince smuggling was very obviously to show how very super clever Gabby is. Hello plot? Your slip is sticking out a bit there in the back.

There are a number of rather heavy handed moments like this. Gabby's friend Sophie must have been a heroine of an earlier novel, as we're given a wealth of info about her and her husband that does little to advance this plot. She's also unreasonably loyal and perfect as a friend. I get it. She's Sophie's friend. There's no need to make her a total Mary Sue to make the point.

It's evident fairly early on that Peter is gay. Not only gay, but romance novel gay - obsessed with fashion, parties and gossip. He does not want to marry the ungainly Gabby at all - dismissing her as uncultured, clumsy and chubby - and treats her unfeelingly. His POV shows a callous, selfish man rather than a sympathetic outsider caught up in unfortunate circumstances. As we spend a fair amount of time with him, it's a downer to not be able to empathize with him. And again, we get it, he doesn't want to marry Gabby, he didn't have to be a total dick about it. He is one of many unsympathetic characters in this novel.

And, to be honest, Gabby was wholly unlikeable herself. I can't abide a liar, and Gabby can't tell the truth or keep a promise. Quill makes her promise not to buy crazy remedies to try to cure his migraines, as he's tried them all and has just accepted the migraines are a part of him. So what does she do? She slips him a dangerous medication because she loves him and knows what's best for him. James does not even begin to torture her nearly enough to redeem her for that violation.

Quill was pretty much the only likeable character in the book. He's crippled by a riding accident, but gets on with it, refusing to dwell on what he can't change. When he sees how miserable Peter and Gabby would be, and he acknowledges how much he likes Gabby himself, he sets out to marry Gabby - three-day nausea-filled migraines be damned. He's honest, responsible and sensitive. He's also surrounded by idiots.

Sad to say I disliked the book. Entirely too transparent a plot, too much telling, plot exposition in dialog and unlikeable characters team up to make me a sad panda indeed.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Diana Hello plot? Your slip is sticking out a bit there in the back.

These words of wisdom sum up pretty much every Eloisa James book I've read to date. They can be pretty silly books, imo.

Interestingly enough, re: Peter. I remember reading on James's website that she had quite a few requests for Peter to have a book of his own. She had to spell out he was gay in her newsletter, I think, for everyone. Just reading about your assessment of him as "romance novel gay" (so true!) made me remember that and LOL.

Great review!


Ridley Interestingly enough, re: Peter. I remember reading on James's website that she had quite a few requests for Peter to have a book of his own.

Wonders never cease. It truly could only have been more obvious if he said explicitly that he enjoyed sex with men. People.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I remember reading this several years ago and loving it, esp. Quill. I read it again last year and wondered what I had been thinking. Still love Quill but everyone else was just too weird.


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