Friday, April 5, 2013
The Seduction of Elliot McBride
Julianna St. John is all set to get married until she discovers at the altar that her fiance has absconded with his widowed piano instructor. Julianna realizes she is more upset about the societal problems her broken engagement will cause than about actually losing her fiance. Luckily for her she sees her childhood crush, Elliot McBride, quite close at hand, and decides that she should make the most of the situation and asks him to marry him. Elliot had every intention of stopping the wedding of the woman who sustained him through years of torture in the Indian desert. He jumps at the chance to marry her and quickly scurries her to his crumbling estate in the Scottish Highlands. Julianna quickly notices that her husband is hiding secrets from everyone around him and it is apparent that many of the people closest to him regard him as barely sane. But she doesn't let anything get in the way of her happiness now that she is married to the man she has worshipped since she was little, the man she always imagined would be her husband.
Elliot is also living the life he has always wanted for himself with no one in the outside world to disturb the happiness he has finally found with Julianna. She is the best thing that ever happened to him and he doesn't want anyone to take Julianna away from him. Their happiness is threatened when a local couple threatens to have Elliot investigated for the death of a fellow Englishman in India but Elliot has recently discovered that this former friend has followed him from India and does not believe it is a friendly visit. Julianna is worried about Elliot's safety and about what this will mean for Elliot's mental healthy, which had been improving since their marriage. Elliot is determined to keep his family safe but it brings up unpleasant memories from India and he finds that the only way he can get through them is with Julianna's help. Together they must over come Elliot's demons and uncover what really happened to Elliot and his friend while in India before they can continue the happy marriage they both dreamed about.
Both Julianna and Elliot were complex characters who I have found it really hard to reflex on without first discussing their relationship. I felt like they had a very co-dependant relationship in the sense that it was obvious that Elliot would barely be able to function without Julianna there. She in turn seemed to relish being needed and had no difficulty focusing entirely on what needed to be done to help Elliot. This made her a rather unlikable heroine for me because I wanted someone who was strong on her own and this was almost like her entirely being became caught up in him. I appreciated that Elliot had lived through hell during his time in India and that this would, of course, cause immense emotional trauma. However, I do not want to read about a hero that is so mentally unstable that he operates under constant threat of having a relapse and choking someone close to him. This aspect of their relationship made me very uncomfortable.
Aside from that aspect of their relationship, which was of course predominant, there were a very few moments where I could see them being happy together, but they were never friendly and happy and joyous. They had sex but it was surprisingly dull and not very frequent. They were very accepting of Indian culture and this was supposed to endear them to the reader, show how open they were, but it seemed unrealistic for the time and like Ashley was trying too hard. About halfway through this very short book the side plot involving the friend from India took over and the relationship took a back seat which upset me, but was also I relief since I wasn't that into it. Unfortunately I was just as uninterested in what had happened to this friend and what was going to happen to him. I felt like it had nothing to do with the story and was just superfluous filler. The book was well written, an easy and fast read.
Rating: I did not enjoy this book and found the relationship between the characters mildly disturbing and the side plot just plain boring.