Author Elizabeth Moss
Narrated by Charlotte Anne Dore
Published by Tantor Media
Publication date Jul 5, 2016
Running time 12 hrs
Audiobook provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Margerie Croft yielded up her virginity before her wedding, and then fled from her eager suitor, knowing that she could not marry a man she did not love. Now she is viewed as soiled goods, fit for only for the role of courtier’s plaything.
Virgil Elton is King Henry VIII’s physician, working on a tonic to restore his sovereign’s flagging libido. But first it must be tested. Who better, then, than the wanton Margerie Croft? But as he gets to know her, Virgil discovers someone as intelligent and passionate as she is beautiful—someone who has been gravely misunderstood.
For her part, Margerie finds Virgil irresistible—with or without the help of his special medicine. But she knows she could never make Virgil a respectable wife. And yet, despite herself, Margerie can’t help but wonder . . .
I found this story hard to finish. Right from the start I had issues with the narration; it was as uncomfortable as being forced to listen to a child with reading difficulties and a bad cold, being forced to read from the class reading-primer. Charlotte Anne Dore’s normally husky voice is even huskier and her phrasing felt stiff and bizarre.
I also disliked the themes of:
- Tudor BDSM,
- the hypocrisy of just about every man in the book, and
- belaboring the search for an herbal “Viagra.”
The hypocrisy in the book; that double standard of a whore in the bedroom and a lady in the parlor, is probably the point of the entire story. This entire series has heavily featured the hypocrisy of the Tudor Court, in particular the King who demanded the appearance of chastity while allowing his own rapacious appetites to rule his own life.
I was trying to think why the power exchange between lovers bothered me in this work. The only thing I could come up with was why one would need a power exchange at a time when women had little power of choosing the direction for their life. Women were, at the time, chattel and could be punished and worse by their father’s, husband’s or liege. Submissiveness was cultivated and encouraged in young ladies.
So, what with the need for submission and dominance? While Virgil’s need to dominate is a little darker than normal at least it is vaguely honorable. The rest of the court is a drunken frat party dressing itself up as a TV evangelist – I know there were no such events at the time but I am trying to make it relatable.
I did find the herbal medicine and the frequent reference to the Hippocratic oath (although not referred to as such) interesting. I was surprised when I looked it up the oath to learn:
The Oath was rediscovered in the Middle Ages by church scholars who began modifying or interpreting the Oath to conform to medieval Christian doctrines.The first recorded use of the Oath outside of Greecewas at the University of Wittenberg, Germany, in 1508,…Raphael Hulkower, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
The History of the Hippocratic Oath: Outdated, Inauthentic, and Yet Still Relevant
The Einstein Journal of Biology and Medicine, 2010
I had mixed feelings about the previous books in the story, WOLF BRIDE and REBEL BRIDE. But here I didn’t even find the sexy times hot. They are premised in attraction but Virgil, the most enlightened and liberal man in the story, still treats Margerie as a whore. The whole story starts off with a near rape, and that set up my feelings about the entire book. In concert with the narration issues, I had a difficult time finishing the tale.