Here’s the thing with it - the book started out feeling like total confection—in a good way. Light, fun, bright, slightly weightless. Like cotton candy. Nom nom nom.
But then it tossed up an issue that totally shocked me.
One background thing about me: I don’t want kids and never have. Even as a young girl, I found baby dolls to be a crashing bore. As far as I was concerned, Barbies—and frankly, even troll dolls—were a whole lot more fun. Don’t get me wrong, I love being an aunt, and actually, I have the cutest, smartest, funnest nieces and nephew ever. But you know, here at home, I’m good with just cats.
So I'll get to the point--here’s a conflict that arises between the newlyweds:
You told me you couldn’t have children,” she interrupted, her eyes flashing with anger. “There’s a very big difference.”And later:
“Not,” Simon said coldly, “to me. I can’t have children. My soul won’t allow it.”
Daphne had aroused him in his sleep, taken advantage of him while he was still slightly intoxicated, and held him to her while he poured his seed into her.And later:
His eyes widened and fixed on hers. “How could you?” he whispered.
[later in that scene]…But she had just curled up into a little ball, her knees tucked against her chest, obviously determined not to lose a single drop of him.
She wasn’t ashamed of her actions. She supposed she should be, but she wasn’t. She hadn’t planned it. She hadn’t looked at him while he was sleeping and thought—he’s probably still drunk. I can make love to him and capture his seed and he’ll never know.So, Simon moves out to another estate and shuns her for months, she turns out not to be pregnant, but then they get back together and the issue is sort of transmuted into something different and resolved in that way.
It hadn’t happened that way.
Daphne wasn’t quite sure how it had happened, but one moment she was above him and the next she’d realized that he wasn’t going to withdraw in time, and she’d made certain he couldn’t…
Or maybe—She closed her eyes. Tight. Maybe it had happened the other way. Maybe she had taken advantage of more than the moment, maybe she had taken advantage of him.
She just didn’t know. It had all melted together.
But I was really hung up on Daphne's attempting to force parenthood on Simon - when she went into the marriage accepting there would be no children. I mean, in Regency England obviously women were forced into parenthood all the time. And I’m not saying this is on par with forced seduction or anything.
I think the point is, I had this sort of outrage on behalf of the hero, and I wanted the heroine punished way more than she was, and I wanted her to feel regret and repentance for the act way more than she did.
I am dimly aware that in the world of the book and the time, and all the sort of rules of this genre, Daphne probably paid sufficiently for these actions. But you know, it was my personal baggage moment.
Have you ever brought personal baggage to a book?