Consensual Sex, Love and Marriage in Historical Context: WHAT A WOMAN NEEDS


Thanksgiving 2016


What a Woman Needs

Author Caroline Linden
Narrated by Mary Sarah
Publisherd by: Tantor Media
Publication date Oct 15, 2019
Running time 10 hrs 5 min


Charlotte Griffolino knows a rake when she sees one—and the man her niece longs to marry most definitely qualifies. Stuart Drake is handsome, charming—and penniless. That he is interested in more than Susan’s considerable inheritance is highly unlikely. That he will be immune to Charlotte’s allure is even more unlikely . . .

With a Viscount title in his future, Stuart expects it shouldn’t be difficult to marry an heiress. Still, once he meets Charlotte, how hard will it be to charm her? Quite, actually. Now Stuart has only one option: to take revenge on her through seduction. But learning what this woman needs might only leave him hungry for more . . .


My Take Oblong Shaped

I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader’s copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.


It’s quite unusual that I dislike a book to the point where I cannot find something praiseworthy. But, this is one I found hard to finish, and strangely embarrassed when it was overheard..

The premise, that a woman would be exiled by her father, never hear from him again, lived dissipatedly, and then, upon her brother’s death be summoned back to be her wealthy, debutante niece’s guardian, is a little off; no matter how much he had loved his sister (he was her only family contact), why would one entrust one’s child to a woman who’s  life until then was quite scandalous.

But what really, really annoyed me was that Stuart seems to nearly force a woman to have sex.  He is considered quite a rake, although he has explanations for each instance he was kicked out of the family home and is facing financial ruin because of a real estate deal. His behavior at several points in the story left me feeling rather icky.

Also, throughout the 19th century marriages were often made for purely financial reasons. Although Amazon calls it a Regency, there was no specific period but it felt as if it occurred in the late-Regency (after Napoleon) or possibly early Victorian (before train travel). It doesn’t seem that Stuart is a wastrel; he has been cut off and is now in debt due to that and his real estate deal. Nor, outside of two situations which are explained away, does he seem to be a seducer of young women. Indeed his nearly forcing sex on his intended’s aunt, and his past seem at odds — not that he was a saint, but neither is he a rapist.   But, this book goes around insisting on love and that was just not the primary consideration in marital arrangements as it is today — especially where auntie had a bad experience with love relationships. And, as the young woman goes on to make even dumber choices, Stuart would have been a better choice.

Then there’s the matter of regaining an important piece of jewelry, instead of contriving, either on his own or through a friend, to ask for its return, politely, he does it stupidly, even criminally.  This leads to new circumstances leading to the enemies to lovers trope.

So, poor behavior which, today, would have lead to an assault charge, as well as inconsistent characterization (maybe he’s just complex?) and historically inaccurate insistence on love left me with a dislike for the book.

The narrator was new to me and had a strangely soft voice with a nice accent but a strange cadence.

I wasa unhappy with this book because I have been in the mood for Regency lately, and have like Caroline Linden in the past.  There was one part I found intriguing about misplaced romance and a related new romance. This was originally in print in 2015, so I can’t claim it is dated in style, but it just did not work for me.

Links Blue Horizontal