Beverly Diehl's Reviews > Lady Eve's Indiscretion

Lady Eve's Indiscretion by Grace Burrowes
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Feb 01, 2013

it was amazing
bookshelves: rape, romance, historical-fiction, family

Lady Eve is the baby of the large and vibrant Windham family. As all of Polite Society knows, at the age of 16 she suffered a very Bad Fall from a Fast Horse, resulting in a long and complicated recovery.

What Polite Society doesn’t know, however, is that just prior to her Bad Fall, she had eloped with - and been raped by - a scoundrel. I found this treatment of rape fascinating - no one talks about it, of course, and the heroine herself often dances around even the thought of what has happened to her. Yet in their own way, the family is highly supportive of Eve, and thrilled when she begins to show interest in horse - and men again, if not necessarily in that order. Lady Eve resolves, so as not to shame her family by not marrying, to enter into a “white” (sexless) marriage, if only she can find an obliging candidate who’s not a drunkard, desperately in debt, or liable to be hung for his left-handed preferences (homosexuality).

Lucas Denning, aka Deene, has been a longtime family friend, if sometimes at odds with Lady Eve. Though he understands his duty is to marry and beget heirs, he’d prefer to avoid those charming debutantes where “nerves” (mental illness) run on the female side of the family, or who have gambling brothers, and other undesirables. He and Evelyn enter into an agreement to help save one another from bad marital choices by sharing the behind-the-scenes gossip that each knows of her/his own gender.

Of course, when healthy, good-looking young people are put in close proximity, we know what’s going to happen next.

I was tremendously moved by the scene where Lady Eve decides to revisit the scene of her rape, and Deene goes with her for moral support.

For an interminable moment while he could only guess her thoughts, Eve looked about the room. Her gaze lingered on the bed then went to the window.

“Think God for the window.” She spoke quietly but with a particular ferocity. And yet she stood there until Deene felt her hand cover his own.

Her fingers were ice cold.

“Thank you, Deene. We can leave.”

She made no move to return below stairs, so Deene turned her into his embrace. “We’ll stay right here until you’re ready to leave, Eve Windham.”


For more on the subject of rape, I've blogged about it extensively here.

Things I really liked about this novel:
• Lady Evelyn had been an amazing equestrienne, and horses had been linked with her physical and emotional trauma. It was great to see her slowly reclaiming that love and contact.
• The love and concern of the siblings, the way they were there, and took turns supporting her in different ways, without being overbearing or bossy.
• The hints of the love affair between the Duke and Duchess. *I* want “Chocolate at Midnight.”
• This book is very “horsey, and the details are wonderful, right down to the shedding of excess hair when Eve scratches Meteor in his favorite spot.

Things that were problematic for me:
• It seems like surely Deene would have figured out why Eve was so fearful on their wedding night, and eased her spirits by letting her know that he knew about her past, and that it made no difference to him. (Of course, this would have blown the tension of “when is she going to tell him?”)
• Likewise, Eve should have known that she’d given the game away in a thousand different ways, and just ‘fessed up about her “indiscretion.”
• The business with Deene’s niece and brother-in-law felt a bit contrived - surely one of them would have opened up a bit more and the common ground could’ve been found, earlier.

I have really enjoyed all the Windham family novels I’ve read, but this book is my favorite.
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