Book Review

Rushed to the Altar by Jane Feather: A Book Rant from Dora

DNF

Title: Rushed to the Altar
Author: Jane Feather
Publication Info: Pocket 2010
ISBN: 9781439145241
Genre: Historical: European

Book CoverEvery now and again, I receive an epic rant about a book that not only displeased the reader but set her off in a truly hilarious fit of rage. I call them ‘Book Rants,’ because sometimes ranting about a book that made you furious is the only way to squeeze a little good out of an altogether horrific reading experience. Today’s Book Rant comes from Dora, who was not pleased by this book.

This book just got me so angry I started typing this, and before I knew it… well, I thought maybe you might be interested in hearing what I thought about it. Here’s the review with my admittedly shameful grade of DNF.

Whenever I dislike a romance novel, I always have to try to temper my reaction with the knowledge that it probably wasn’t for me. I’m an intermittent bodice-ripper gal at best, and a lot of my purchases in the genre tend to be made on impulse on the “Best Seller” wall in the local supermarket, a stop I usually make on my way for kitty litter and inappropriate carbohydrates. Rushed to the Altar by Jane Feather was one of those purchases, and when, a quarter of the way through the book, I found myself fantasising about who in the cast I’d set on fire first given the chance, I tried to remember that it might not, in fact, be for me.

The plot concerns an old man’s attempt to screw over his family as he lays
dying. See, Lord Bradley knows his family is just waiting for him to die,
and being a codger-y sort of old man who has made a lifelong career out of
being unpleasant, his one last “fuck you” to his relations is to say that
his three nephews will only receive the inheritance if each of them
“rescues” a “fallen woman” by marrying her. Jasper, the eldest
nephew, seems to be the least concerned by the news, but the truth is he’s
actually pretty desperate for that cash. At the same time, young Clarissa
Astley is also screwed out of her inheritance when her parents abruptly die
and her Uncle Luke sends her younger brother Francis away to London, where
doubtless some unpleasant fate awaits the kind. Clarissa sets out to find
him, and in the process bumps into Jasper, who mistakes her for a whore, and
it’s love at first sight.

Oooh, did I say “love at first sight”? I meant Jasper convinces her to
pretend to be his bride-to-be while he repeatedly tries to get her to
succumb to his masterful cock and generally seduces her by putting rouge on
her nipples and letting his uncle feel her up. My bad. Apparently, it’s
pretty easy to get those two mixed up.

See, Clarissa sees her agreement with Jasper as a means to an end; if she
allows him to think she’s a whore (and his whore at that), he’ll at
least keep her fairly safe while she scours London for her brother. (Who is
indeed in dire straights, but is apparently possessed of neither a masterful
cock or a heaving bosom and so gets much less characterisation and screen
time. Sorry, kid.) Jasper, who initially just wants someone hot enough to be
a believable whore to present to his dying bastard of an uncle, in short
order decides that as long as he’s paying for Clarissa’s time as an
actor, he might as well sample the rest of the goods. Clarissa, who believes
that if he finds out she isn’t a worldly non-virginal type (because of
course she is a virgin) Jasper will have nothing to do with her, instead
pleads with him that she’s tired of the many, many, many lovers she’s
had recently (she tries so hard to convince him she’s a prostitute it’s
kind of stupidly endearing, like watching a puppy try to roll over for the
first time) it would be a welcome change if he would court her instead, and
Jasper reluctantly agrees.

The rest of the novel involves Jasper trying to juggle seducing Clarissa
with presenting her to his relatives as his wife to be, and Clarissa trying
to deny the attraction that she of course immediately feels pooling in her
loins so she doesn’t get distracted from saving her brother. Especially
since, as it turns out, Jasper’s idea of courtship is pretty ridiculous;
he always gives the impression he’s painfully enduring any conversation
with Clarissa that isn’t about him, and gets fed up after five minutes and
tries to take his dick out. All of this would be fine if Clarissa dressed
him down for it, and he came to learn a bit of humility and regard the
people around him as less than commodities to be used and disregarded, but,
alas, it isn’t to be. It’s repeatedly mentioned how Clarissa hates how he
treats her like a piece of property but endures it anyway, trying to play it
off as fatigue.

There’s a scene in the book where, realising she’ll be unable to resist
Baron von Cocklepus much longer, Clarissa turns in desperation to the other
girls at the whorehouse, and they provide her with not only a fine dress to
do the occasion, but a fine, doubtlessly much-worn and loved
turn-of-the-century dildo to do away with her pesky virginity so Jasper
won’t suspect she’s a virgin. “We have to stick together!” chirps one of
her comrades in whoredom, the scene so ridiculously cheery you half expect
some talking birds in tiny clothes to fly in through the window and use the
dildo for her while the whores perform a choreographed song and dance
routine about the clap. Of course, it’s all for naught anyway, since
Jasper’s mighty Cock o’ Divination can still tell she was a virgin. He
knows by the way she moved and acted, and he’s kind of put out by the fact
that she’s not only lying to him, but also that she thought she could fool
his manhood. Maybe if she’d put a monocle over her clitoris beforehand it
would have looked more worldly? Some spats? Little cummerbund? Seriously,
let me know, because that’s an Etsy goldmine waiting to happen. CONVO ME.

Ultimately, my biggest problem with the book wound up being that I kept
waiting for the hero to show up. I knew he had to make an appearance at some
point, right? If only to rescue this supremely useless pair of rouged tits
from the dirtbag with the snuff case. Jaspar’s problem is that he’s about
as passionate as a fish and seems to be campaigning really, really hard for
Douchebag of the Year, and his chemistry with Clarissa is non-existent. The
text tells us she finds him handsome, which overrides her initial contempt
for the way he treats her, and he sure as hell finds her comparatively
toothsome as well, and that’s the whole sum of their relationship. There’s
no spark between them, no excitement, and, no, Jasper repeatedly asking
Clarissa if she’s sure she wouldn’t like some of his cock because it’s
really quite nice you know doesn’t count as a seduction. These people
aren’t characters, they’re caricatures, and it’s impossible to care about
either of them in any fashion because they’re about as erotic as mashing a
picture of Tom Selleck’s infamous centerfold and a picture of Kermit the
Frog together while making MWAH MWAH MWAH noises.

Jasper’s big deal is that he’s supposed to have had some trauma in his
past that keeps him from trusting/getting close to/giving a shit about
people, but here’s the thing; having bad things happen to you does not
give you licence to be an asshole for the rest of your days. It does not
make the way you treat other people magically okay or justify your behaviour
in the slightest because, surprise, lots of people have had bad things
happen to them and they don’t let it govern their existence and turn them
into assholes. Jasper never seems to grasp this, and neither does the
narrative, because his history is given as an excuse and hall-pass for his
casually cruel behaviour and his treatment of Clarissa in particular. You
can have a hero who’s had a rocky past and treats people terribly, as long
as consequences happen and he realises this and maybe even reevaluates
himself in the process.

Man, I dunno. About three quarters of the way through I had to give up, both
because it was so stupid and painfully un-romantic, and because my eyes kept
trying to force themselves shut. The biggest tragedy here is that Rushed to
the Altar
had an interesting premise and could have delivered a fun,
engaging narrative with different main characters. Ironically, I was
disappointed that Clarissa is not, in fact, a “fallen woman”, if only
because that would have been an interesting choice for a heroine. (Much like
Michel Faber’s Sugar in The Crimson Petal and the White, which is a better
book even if doesn’t have a freaking ending.) I would have loved to have
seen this story with the gender roles reversed as well; putting Clarissa in
the role of a young woman who needs to secure a husband for her inheritance,
and having Jasper the lowly male whore who needs to fit into “high
society” as part of Clarissa’s scheme.

I’ve heard complaints about Clarissa’s character because she spends so
much time lying to people, but I found I had difficulty caring either way;
for one, I can see a young woman all alone in the city for the first time
being too frightened and paranoid to confide in someone whose sole interest
in her appears to be bonerary, and for another, who cares? Clarissa is, to
coin a phrase my husband is fond of, useless as tits on a bull, and Jasper
is a cardboard cutout of a human being who reads like what would happen if
you put Edward Cullen and the cast of Jersey Shore in a blender. It’s
impossible to care about these people and who does what to whom because
they’re barely people at all. The whole plot hinges on a conflict that
could have been resolved with an earnest chat if the entire cast had half a
working brain between them, and maybe that is how things work out in the
end. I wouldn’t know. This book could dispense chocolate covered
strawberries and Ken Watanabe at various stages of his career into my lap
every time I turned a page, and it wouldn’t endear itself to me any
further. If what you want is a supremely unlikable “hero”, a supremely
stupid “heroine”, and supremely snore worthy “conflicts”, you can read
this book or alternately build a giant slingshot to hurl yourself into the
sun.


This book is available from Amazon | Kindle | BN & nook | Book Depository | WORD Brooklyn’s eBookstore | Kobo

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Linsalot says:

    I also bought this from the “best seller” wall at the supermarket but had not had a chance to read it yet.  I do believe I will pass on it, so thank you Dora for saving me from the frustration :)

  2. 2
    Karen says:

    Based on this:

    …Clarissa turns in desperation to the other
    girls at the whorehouse, and they provide her with not only a fine dress to do the occasion, but a fine, doubtlessly much-worn and loved
    turn-of-the-century dildo to do away with her pesky virginity so Jasper
    won’t suspect she’s a virgin. “We have to stick together!” chirps one of
    her comrades in whoredom, the scene so ridiculously cheery you half expect some talking birds in tiny clothes to fly in through the window and use the dildo for her while the whores perform a choreographed song and dance routine about the clap. Of course, it’s all for naught anyway, since Jasper’s mighty Cock o’ Divination can still tell she was a virgin. He knows by the way she moved and acted, and he’s kind of put out by the fact that she’s not only lying to him, but also that she thought she could fool his manhood. Maybe if she’d put a monocle over her clitoris beforehand it would have looked more worldly? Some spats? Little cummerbund? Seriously, let me know, because that’s an Etsy goldmine waiting to happen. CONVO ME.

    I can only beg that you be convinced to read more truly awful books and review them.  Thank you! (I have to go clean off my monitor now)

  3. 3
    cleo says:

    Awesome review!  Made me laugh out loud. 

    I flipped through this one standing in the book section at the supermarket and decided to pass on it, but not before the dildo scene was imprinted on my brain.  Seriously, I didn’t recognize the cover or the title or the characters’ names, but when I started reading the review I sort of recognized the plot device and I kept saying to myself, “is this the one with the whores and the dildo?” And, yes, it is.  Amazing how my memory works.

  4. 4
    Diva says:

    Your review is awesome and hilarious! Although I can’t stop thinking how much fun the Jersey Shore cast would have with Robert Pattinson before you turned the blender on….

    I am not sure why there seem to be so many books recently with totally unsympathetic male characters—maybe it’s just my choice of reading material. I’ll avoid this one b/c I couldn’t possibly enjoy it as much as I did your impressions of it!

  5. 5

    I have no intention of reading this book, but that review was AWESOME!

  6. 6

    I don’t know.  Especially if it is a book I paid money for, I am always hoping the last sixth will contain all the redeeming features.  And I am not fond of chocolate covered strawberries, but Ken Watenable would be fun especially trying to read with him in my lap.

  7. 7
    henofthewoods says:

    they’re about as erotic as mashing a
    picture of Tom Selleck’s infamous centerfold and a picture of Kermit the
    Frog together while making MWAH MWAH MWAH noises

    Wow. Please write more reviews.

  8. 8
    Silver James says:

    Dora, thank you for taking one for the team!

    “We have to stick together!” chirps one of her comrades in whoredom, the scene so ridiculously cheery you half expect some talking birds in tiny clothes to fly in through the window and use the
    dildo for her while the whores perform a choreographed song and dance routine about the clap

    I shall never be able to watch Cinderella ever again without this firmly lodged in my mind.

  9. 9
    Sally says:

    I’ve read this one and while I thought it was pretty awful, I didn’t hate it as much as the reviewer. I did finish it – although I can’t remember how it ends past the inevitable HEA. But the review had me hooting with laughter until I was fighting for breath because Dora’s spot on about Jasper, and spot on about the mystical penis of divination and I had forgotten the ‘dildo in the brothel’ scene (HOW?!).

    I love the rant-reviews though. Awesome work.

  10. 10
    Silver James says:

    Argh. I hate when I fail at html. Put that middle section in a block quote, ‘kay?

    Ha! Spam word: married38 Almost that long…feels longer some days. *snerk*

  11. 11
    Sarah W says:

    I agree with Karen:  please read more books you hate, so we can revel in the brilliance of your loathing! 

    As a personal aside, though, any book that dispenses Ken Watanabes would automatically be a page turner for me.  Every.  Single.  Page.  Veeeery slowly.

  12. 12
    Davi says:

    Maybe if she’d put a monocle over her clitoris beforehand it would have looked more worldly?

    Ahahahahahaha! My favorite part of this site is the bitchery’s ability to make coffee come out my nose so early in the morning – Thanks Dora!

    I remember picking this book up, I do usually love Jane Feather, and putting it back down in disgust after reading the sysnopisis. Thanks for taking one or the team here! A dildo to get rid of her hymen? *hough*

  13. 13
    Elise Hepner says:

    Best. Review. Ever. Please do more of these Dora!

  14. 14
    HA Cautrell says:

    These people
    aren’t characters, they’re caricatures, and it’s impossible to care about
    either of them in any fashion because they’re about as erotic as mashing a
    picture of Tom Selleck’s infamous centerfold and a picture of Kermit the
    Frog together while making MWAH MWAH MWAH noises.

    This line was so hilarious, I laughed out loud at work.  Oh dear god, please tell me you’re going to write something, anything, else. 

    it’s a pity when the books suck, but oh are the raging reviews fun to read.  Thanks for sharing!

  15. 15
    Gwynnyd says:

    Made my day!  Thanks.

  16. 16
  17. 17
    LG says:

    “I would have loved to have seen this story with the gender roles reversed as well; putting Clarissa in the role of a young woman who needs to secure a husband for her inheritance, and having Jasper the lowly male whore who needs to fit into “high society” as part of Clarissa’s scheme.”

    If a book like this actually exists, I would love to read it. Actually, I’d probably add any book with a nice role reversal like this to my TBR pile – a couple books come instantly to mind when I try to think of role reversal books that failed for me (with one, the role reversal wasn’t – annoyingly, the author chickened out), but I’m having trouble thinking of anything that was actually good.

  18. 18
    Karenmc says:

    I was already having a pretty good morning, then I came here and was exposed to Dora’s genius. My entire week is complete now. PLEASE do more reviews; if too much pain is involved, I’ll donate Tums, Excedrin or Icy Hot.

  19. 19
    Cass says:

    What a great review.

    This book frustrated me so much, and it also disappointed me tremendously, because I’ve been so wanting to see some historical authors actually tackle the Georgian era with its looser morals, to deal with non-virginal heroines… and then this one just did it all so badly.

  20. 20
    Dayna says:

    Thank you, thank you! I haven’t laughed so hard in such a satisfying and alcohol free way in a long time. Review more shite, puhleasse!

  21. 21

    birds…*gasp*…tiny clothes…*wheeze* …dildo…*snort*…break into song…

    OMG, I laughed so hard I almost passed out.  Have some pity for those of us with asthma!

    Such a funny review!  More!  Brava!

  22. 22
    cayenne says:

    they’re about as erotic as mashing a picture of Tom Selleck’s infamous centerfold and a picture of Kermit the Frog together while making MWAH MWAH MWAH noises

    Wow. Please write more reviews.

    SECONDED.

  23. 23
    sugarshok says:

    I’d read ‘The Playboy Sheik’s Virgin Stable Girl’ if someone would throw Ken Watanabe in my lap. That’s how much I like Ken Watanabe! ;)

    Captcha word: age45 WTF, creepy stalker browser!

  24. 24
    Laura (in PA) says:

    You had me at Tom Selleck and Kermit.

    Awesome stuff.

  25. 25
    ashley says:

    Someone really should put the cast of Jersey Shore in a blender

  26. 26
    Ann says:

    I read the book – but didn’t waste my money , just my time.  Thanks to the local library!  Great review!

  27. 27

    “they’re about as erotic as mashing a picture of Tom Selleck’s infamous centerfold and a picture of Kermit the Frog together while making MWAH MWAH MWAH noises” < —-that line almost caused my death.

    There should be a warning! Warning: Do Not Drink When Reading This Blog – you are susceptible to choking and dying.

  28. 28
    CarrieS says:

    I didn’t think anything could ever top the glory of the singing whores with the birdies and all that, but then I got to Edward and Jersey Shore.  We don’t wish you to suffer, but could you PLEASE rant at us more often?  Cause it sure made my week!

  29. 29
    Diana says:

    I can’t decide if a bunch of whores giving a “clarissa” a dildo and instructions on how to use it so she can please the man keeping her who is trying to have sex with her is a very perceptive literary callout or a really offensive one.

  30. 30
    Rhian says:

    Please, please, please write more reviews – this was so funny and made me laugh so loudly that I’m sure the whole house is awake by now. “Cock o’ Divination” – best term EVER.

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