I have been reading The Price of Desire by Jo Goodman these last few days and at 200 pages in I knew it was going to be a disaster. This review contains a lot of spoilers so be warned. I think many readers will find it helpful to read the spoilers as the book is very dark and angsty when everything else about the book leads one to think it’s going to be a fun story. The back is titillating and gives no clue to what’s really inside the book. Real quick it goes something like this: Alastair has promised his sister Olivia to Griffin to pay off his gambling debts and both Olivia and Griffin take the biggest gamble on each other.
Before I learned more about the characters past I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. At 200 pages in they've shared one kiss. Overall it’s been very slow reading as the heroine is very withdrawn and so is the hero. While at 200 pages in it's no longer at the painful level to read and be witness to their story it certainly is not as engaging as it could be and there's already been a settling of a 1000 pound debt (mainly the brother handing Olivia over to the hero), attempted rape (by some drunk in the hell that came upon her room), a fire (that started during the attempted rape- she gets him in the end by nearly strangling him to death with a towel), and confrontation with the delinquent brother (after he fails to get the funds to release her from the hero's care). In any case, I can tell the hero cares somewhat, but the emotional exchange between the two is so dry that there's hardly any connection.
At 350 pages in, they’ve exchanged bodily fluids and words of love and we come to learn a lot about Olivia and this is where it gets me. I’m sorry but I read romances to enjoy myself and get a few moments to escape reality. Nothing about Olivia’s past is enjoyable. Beyond the attempted rape scene from before we learn that Olivia was raped in her past. As if that weren’t bad enough her father ‘played’ with her when she was younger than six years old a ‘touching’ game. When the nanny brought this to the attention of Olivia’s stepmother, Olivia gets sent to a boarding school for young girls where priests tortured the girls as punishment for small infractions by sitting/standing on seatless chairs. Somehow her father reaches the school to continue his sick game and rapes his daughter all part of his and a few other men’s game and setup involving carriages and gifts. Olivia between ages 6-12 was used and it only stopped because she started her menstruation cycle. The following is in her own words…
“I was not his only little girl, I knew that. But I also knew I was his favorite… He gave me to them, Griffin. He sent me to them when it pleased him to do so. To sit at their table while they played cards, to deal for them as I’d been taught, perform on command, and later… as any one of them was struck by a fancy… I was a present on some occasions… his marker on others.”
Needless to say this book has a rating of 0.5 Stars. I don’t know anyone who’d willing read any further once they got to that revelation. As for me I closed the book and started writing this post. It was too much trauma, perversion, and sickness of the mind to deal with and I certainly didn’t want to keep thinking about it. Hopefully Olivia wins happiness in the end, the girl clearly deserves it, but I just didn’t want to dwell on the matter any more. I blame the publishers for letting a novel like this hit the shelves.