16 August 2014

A Good Debutante's Guide to Ruin by Sophie Jordan (The Debutante Files #1)

Summary from Goodreads:
The last woman on earth he would ever touch . . .

Declan, the Duke of Banbury, has no interest in ushering Rosalie Hughes, his stepsister, into society. Dumped on him with nowhere else to go, he's determined to rid himself of the headstrong debutante by bestowing on her an obscenely large dowry . . . making her the most sought-after heiress of the Season.

. . . is about to become the only one he wants.

But Rosalie isn't about to go along with Declan's plans. Surrounded by fortune hunters, how is she supposed to find a man who truly wants her? Taking control of her fate, Rosalie dons a disguise and sneaks into Sodom, a private club host to all manner of illicit activity—and frequented by her infuriatingly handsome stepbrother.

In a shadowed alcove, Declan can't resist the masked temptress who sets his blood afire . . . any more than Rosalie can deny her longing for a man who will send her into ruin.

The set-up for A Good Debutante's Guide to Ruin is good: neglected heroine dropped on her step-brother's doorstep without so much as a by-your-leave; step-brother hero, not having seen her for ages nor in a charitable frame of mind, decides to get her married off as soon as possible.

Declan can do that.  He's a duke and he's rich so the obstacles of Rosalie's poverty and questionable upbringing can be overcome with a little town polish and a gaggingly large dowry (supplied by himself).  Of course, Declan falls in love with her himself.

This, unfortunately, where the novel starts to fizzle.  Declan and Rosalie have some chemistry, but they don't quite come off the page for me.  I didn't buy the Sodom plot element - the tantalizing sex club seemed over-the-top and anachronistic...also less than tantalizing.  Rosalie's mother is caricature-bad mother terrible.  I like the book well enough to hope the follow-up is an improvement.

Dear FTC: I received an advance digital copy from the publisher via Edelweiss.

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