Great Moments from last night's reading
Book: Lord of Scoundrels
Author: Loretta Chase
Spoiler level: HIGH (Sarai and Lone C: beware!)
Oh, wow, can I be any more in love with this novel? Hardly.
Everything is so unexpected here. I richly enjoyed the engagement scene with the lawyer. And the non-starter wedding night. And how the seduction worked!
Later Jess says, “But getting you into bed—you, the greatest whoremonger in Christendom—gad it was worse than the time I had to drag Bertie to the tooth-drawer.” And they have this laugh, and Dain sees how it’s been for her, how he’s been. (Like his father!)
Anyway, last night I hit the part where she gives him the icon as a late birthday present. So lovely. To be honest, I had been worried Dain’s friends might do something to screw up their nascent relationship, more bets and things. Who knows, maybe they still will, but this is more a novel of emotions and weighty internal obstacles, not externally generated misunderstandings, and that icon, all I can say is OMG.
I didn’t expect it to come back. When it first appeared in the story I thought it was more a metaphor for a larger tale of disguised and discovered value. Dain admired it, I thought because the woman looked like his mother, and then Jess had an instinct about it and bought it and had it cleaned and it turned out to be beautiful and valuable, just as Dain would later.
But then that scene at the breakfast table where she gives it to him, and it turns out that Dain is the baby! And the little icon, at least to me, stands in for Dain’s heart, or more, a time where it was last whole, before it was destroyed. Oh, I just loved that. And his description, not realizing what he’s revealing:
'"She’s half-frowning, yes. Mildly irritated, perhaps, because the boy’s being troublesome. Yet she wears a glimmer of a smile, as though to reassure or forgive him. Because she understands that he doesn’t know any better. Innocent brat, he takes it all for granted: her smiles, reassurances, her patience…forgiveness. He doesn’t know what he has, let alone how to be grateful for it. And so he frets and scowls…in blissful infant ignorance."
Dain paused, for the room seemed to have grown too quiet suddenly, and the woman beside him too still.'
And he tries to cover, but without meaning to, she looks at him with pity, because she realizes.
And there’s the new obstacle. It’s not his stupid friends screwing them up, it’s something raw and emotional that scares real people - the exposure of your deepest wounds, and that somebody might view you not with love and admiration, but pity. Reading this, I literally thought to myself, Sheeeesh, this fucking story just gets better and better.
Maybe Loretta Chase consciously selected this icon to carry all this baggage, but really, the play of the icon feels like something the subconscious delivers up to an author, like a gift. This whole book is so wonderful for the way the obstacles are largely internal, but they’re mirrored and echoed externally.
Even the shooting scene, which is so wonderful, feels like that. His defenses are so thick, she just has to shoot him. And it looks like this blundery thing, but in fact she is an expert markswoman and very strong and smart, with a strong and smart heart.
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