Book Review

Take Me by Lucy Monroe


Title: Take Me
Author: Lucy Monroe
Publication Info: Berkley Sensation 2006
ISBN: 0425212211
Genre: Historical: European

Candy sent me this book in a box full of other books with the warning, “I’m sending you this because you have to read it. I can’t.”

If Candy can’t bring herself to read it, I’m in such deep trouble.

And yup, this book pretty much irritated the shit out of me right from the get-go.

Calantha, Duchess of Clairborne is the reclusive and quiet widow of what had to have been a right bastard of a husband. She was monstrously abused on an emotional and physical level by her late dickhead of a Duke, and he effectively isolated her from everyone who might have helped or befriended her.

Jared, Viscount Ravenswood (and how is THAT for typical “Animal + Item found in Nature” aristocratic title?) is asked by his childhood friend Mary to bring Mary’s daughter to Calantha.  After making this bizarre request, Mary dies. Jared would rather cut off several key parts of his anatomy than deal with Calantha, because Calantha’s late husband was responsible for Mary’s daughter. He raped Mary while she was a servant in his household. Jared assumes that Calantha knew of the assault and did nothing to help Mary. And of course, doesn’t every hero in an annoying romance leap wide valleys of misconception in a single bound?

But don’t stop there with the assumptions. Society as a whole, and thus in the beginning Calantha as well, all assume that Mary’s daughter is Jared’s child, since, well, the child does call him “Papa.” Easy misunderstanding to create. And he does nothing to correct the situation, and allows people to ostracize him, and potentially the young girl, because of the rumor. He’s definitely putting that on his “Father of the Year” application form.

You can see where this is going: hero beset by over-developed sense of honor and duty brings exceptionally precocious and saccharine child to heroine, assuming she is a monstrous person and of course His Dick cannot deny His Attraction to The Harlot Slut Bitch Queen of Evil. Abused, socially reticent heroine tries to balance fear of men with Overwhelming and Weeping (and you know where the weeping is going on, don’t you? I thought so) Attraction for the hero, who assumes the worst of her. And since her self-esteem is about yay-big, she pretty much accepts his derision as her due.

As far as the plot goes, the tension was mostly angst and pathos that wasn’t well sustained through the novel. Jared gets over his misconceptions rather quickly and marries Calantha, despite her many protests that she can’t marry again, oh noes, oh noes! The antagonist to their relationship is not as mysterious as one might think, and once Jared and Calantha marry, which happens smack in the middle of the novel, the plot of the novel rests on the villain’s attempts to ruin or kill Calantha, and the happy couple’s attempts to discover who the villain is. Sadly, there’s a lack of potential enemies in the ancillary characters, so picking out the culprit was rather easy work.

But what really made this book the pleasurable wall banging experience that it was were some howler moments too good not to share. Here are the items that made me stop reading this book in the middle. Spoilers Ahoy.

1. Writing such as the following:

The duchess was as responsible… for Mary’s desperate predicament. Jared could not forget that, no matter how bloody innocent she seemed.
No matter how much he wanted her.

Just hit me over the head with it. That same sentiment is expressed repeatedly. Just in case you forget. Calantha = scheming whore who caused the death of Mary, and Jared is angry about that, except that he also wants to bone Calantha into the middle of next week. Such a predicament.

2. At one point, Calantha debates with herself furiously because she is jealous that Hannah, the little girl, is Jared’s daughter by adoption: “The child that should have been Calantha’s.”

This is so fucked up on so many levels I don’t know where to start. Calantha just learned that her late husband raped Mary, begetting Hannah and prompting Mary to run away from their household to the safety of Jared’s estate. And Calantha has spent many, many pages wringing her hands and attempting to preserve her icy reserve and detachment because the abuse of that late husband has left her unable to trust men, or people in general.

So thus Calantha weeps that Hannah should have been hers… instead of the bastard daughter of her late husband, who raped his defenseless employee. Never mind that her husband HELLO RAPED YOUR SERVANT but the child that resulted from that assault, that child should have been Calantha’s.

Oh holy shit. This woman is batshit.

3. Precocious child alert! Seriously, nauseating child who I felt sorry for, as she’d been orphaned, but had a hard time tolerating when she says stuff like the following passage:

“Papa said that you are going to be my mama, and he is my papa. I want a mama again, but I still love my first mama. Papa said that was all right.”

3.5 And what precocious child would be complete without a Virgin Widow?! Calantha? Untouched? Like, duh. And guess why? Her late rapist husband said she was too frigid. Funny how wood can be frigid.

4. But oh, Lord have mercy, then there’s my very favorite part of this book. Blissfully for me, it came early on, and it was so funny I had to bite my lips to keep from howling out loud on the bus:

Calantha watched the huge man cross the small ballroom toward her with both anticipation and dread. His black and white evening clothes clung alarmingly to his well-muscled, oversized body.

His clothes clung…alarmingly? What the almighty hell? His shirt is screeching at him?

I asked Candy, and she and I immediately identified the need for a terror alert level associated with just how alarmingly the hero’s clothing might be clinging. It really is a pubic, I mean public service, should you, the reader, be unaware of the danger of a hero’s alarmingly clinging clothing. Think of the children.





Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    R*belle says:

    OMG Sarah, I can’t tell you how much I love the terror alert!  That made my week.  Also, thanks for protecting me from bad literature.

  2. 2
    Sara says:

    You know, sometimes I like the bad reviews more than the good ones. Does that make me a bad person?

  3. 3
    Chicklet says:

    You know, sometimes I like the bad reviews more than the good ones. Does that make me a bad person?

    We’ll be bad together, Sara, because sometimes, when I really need a laugh, I hit the “Reviews by Grade: F” tag.

  4. 4
    Sherwood says:

    Those terror alerts just caused me to splorp tea all over the terminal.

  5. 5
    Teddy Pig says:

    “and you know where the weeping is going on, don’t you? I thought so”

    Nah, Nope, Zilch, I have No idea, please splain Lucy.

  6. 6
    Catherine J. says:

    Oh mighty Lord, thank You for letting me finish my Coke before I hit the Terror Alert part of the review, because I would not wish to petition You for the cash for a new laptop.

    On a more earthly level, I have to chime in on the F-review consensus. I find that reading the F reviews—which often contain prose not only bad, but unintentionally hilarious—are an excellent way to let a writer laugh at her own writing. And, of course, to have that evil little thought: At least my stuff isn’t that bad.

  7. 7
    Kerry says:

    No!  No!  No!

    What have you done to me?

    I’m off to read the F reviews you see.  Such an idea had never occurred to me but now I can’t resist the temptation.

  8. 8
    Nikky James says:

    You’re making me want to read it just to see if it’s really that bad.

    must resist

  9. 9
    AnneD says:

    HAHAHA Camel Nose Alert!

  10. 10
    DS says:

    Can you believe this has five stars at Amazon?  Gawk.  And to think I sometimes defend Amazon reviewers.  At least 3 of them seem to be HK wanabes. 

    However I can’t believe you left out the tasty tibit that the hero’s sobriquet is Lord Beast.  No wonder his clothes were in such a state!

  11. 11
    Kay says:

    Wow. F. Like for ‘F*ck’. So bad, it might be good. Like me. Yeah.

  12. 12
    MamaNice says:

    Thank you for the terror alert, but what of the inherent dangers in, shudder, plumber’s crack?

    Which leads me to my next question, since summer is upon us, do you think you could do another of these terror alerts for all the scary awfulness lying in wait at theme parks, fairs, and festivals?

  13. 13
    shuzluva says:

    However I can’t believe you left out the tasty tibit that the hero’s sobriquet is Lord Beast.

    I can’t believe it either. It goes so well with the “Animal + Item found in Nature” aristocratic title.

    Thank you for the Alarmingly Clothed Terror Alert Levels. I will be using it for all my reading from now on.

  14. 14
    Chris says:

    Love the alert!

    You must review more bad novels. Badnovel=toofunnyreview

    Verification word- need27 I need to read 27 more of those reviews

  15. 15
    Najida says:

    The cover is kinda pretty (but I pick up penny’s muttering “SHINY!”).  And it does have the twisted pyscho kinda stuff going on that I can get into…. I understand crazy people.

    Sounds like my kinda book…..other than the bad writing.  But I usually ignore that too….the literary version of “SHINY!”.

    Oh, and the Terror Alert is well, WONDERFUL!

  16. 16
    Yvonne says:

    The postings from the last few days seem to indicate a need for a kilt alert system.

    Who better to protect us from kilt abuse?

  17. 17

    The funny/scary thing is. . . I can’t quite put my finger on what’s truly bad about this book from the review. Each plot problem taken individually could work in a good romance. And has.
    So I have to assume it is just a perfect storm of awfulness and pray to God that I haven’t managed to pull those storm fronts together in my own book. *nervous laughter* The hero’s name is Lord Lyonscocke. Do you think that’s too much? :-0

  18. 18
    Karmyn says:

    I, too, love the bad reviews most of all. It tells me what to avoid. I trust them more than the good reviews.

  19. 19
    Najida says:

    I guess it’s better than the Duke of NutterButters.

  20. 20

    Well, shit. That’s his nickname. He’s salty goodness.

  21. 21
    Najida says:


  22. 22

    Ha! Najida, you and your “shiny”ness crack me up. And i promise that I’ve never named a hero Lyonscocke, thogh I’m sorely tempted to do so now. Then again, I’m now thinking that Ravenscocke is even funnier. Just the image. . .

  23. 23
    Kerry Allen says:

    All this talk of critters puts me in mind of the Smart Bitch Onomatopoeia Contest.

    Lord Prairiedogscocke is all mine!

    *view69* Seriously, where’d you get the pervy filter word generator?

  24. 24

    Oh, Victoria, if you don’t go with Ravenscocke I’m going to be sorely tempted for my next book.  Save me from myself!

    And I nearly snorted Moroccan Mint tea over the terror alerts.  We need them to accompany all future reviews.

  25. 25

    Clearly the onomatopoeia would have to be “Caaaaw! Ca-caaaaw!”

  26. 26
    meopta says:

    Wait, the heroine is too frigid, but the woman he rapes is tasty?? Way to blame the victim as well. That’s like, a whole ice age unto the heroine.

    Thanks for making me SO not miss doing reviews anymore.

  27. 27
    Kalen Hughes says:

    I’m still trying to figure out the whole servant/friend of a viscount thing . . .

    I think Heyer got the only good animal name (Ravenscar, and yes, such a place really does exist in England). Perhaps we can simply blame her brilliant use of this place name for all the hideous ones that have followed? It’s like she planted some kind of subconscious name prompt in the genre the lingers to this day. LOL!

  28. 28
    Stephanie says:

    From now on, I’m saying “oh noes! oh noes!” when confronted with something unseemly AND that terror alert is amazing and I heart you for it.

    Another question: what is a “well-muscled oversized body?” Huh? That’s hella awkward prose right there.

  29. 29
    Deep Dickens for Esther says:

    If he is simply “well-muscled” wouldn’t that preclude him being “oversized?”  Wouldn’t he have to be overly muscled in order to also be oversized?
    Or is the author trying to say that he is oversized elsewhere?

  30. 30
    Kalen Hughes says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that a “well-muscled oversized body” makes him a pin-head (as in circus freak)? I mean, the body has to be “oversized” in comparison to something, and pretty much the only option is his head.

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