I’ve had to sit on The Fall of Lady Grace for a while. Unfortunately I’m nowhere near decided on how I feel about this novel despite the time I took to think on it.
Overall I enjoyed it more than the first book in the series, The Trouble with Honor. I enjoyed Grace more as a character, and I liked the hero for his unconventional characterization. Here’s a hero who has OCD and it’s portrayed with knowledge and care. He doesn’t go around cleaning everything like most lazy stereotypes of OCD characters would. He’s convinced that something awful will happen unless he counts to eight; when things aren’t in their right places, he believes it’s inviting chaos and bad fortune; he has sexual intrusive thoughts; and when he feels on the edge of panic, he’ll do things by eight in order to calm himself down.
It was lovely to read. Also lovely was the slow burn of the main couple’s romance, and how they had to figure out how to really make themselves work in order to be happy with each other. I enjoy slow burn romances where they may find each other attractive at first, but it takes a while for love to follow.
The Fall of Lady Grace had all the makings to be one of my favorite romances ever. But…
The first time Grace and Jeffrey have sex, Grace is clearly very uncomfortable and uncertain. Jeffrey still goes through with it and isn’t gentle at all. This continues for a while until he and Grace actually begin speaking to each other and coming to an understanding, but still, it ran too close to rape for me to be entirely comfortable with it.
I make a point of picking romance books where rape isn’t part of the parcel. Grace didn’t need to say “no” for it to be rape; her discomfort and tears were enough. Because of this, I don’t feel I can give The Fall of Lady Grace anything higher than three stars, and that really guts me. In every other sense, this is a perfect romance.
Still, in spite of all that… I really did love the rest of this book. Enough to even buy a physical copy when it comes out. I just wish the earlier sex scenes had been altered just enough or even taken out altogether.