Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Sherbrooke Bride by Catherine Coulter

Douglas Sherbrooke, Earl of Northcliffe, decides that he needs an heir, so quite nonchalantly he thinks about his choices and then chooses the beautiful Melissande Chambers to bestow this privilege on. Unfortunately as he is planning his trip to do the deed he gets called off on a secret mission for the government and sends his cousin Tony to marry Melissande by proxy for him. When he arrives back to his home expecting the diamond, Melissande, he finds her younger sister instead. Tony, married Melissande for himself and to "fix" it he married Alexandra by proxy to Douglas.

My thoughts.....

Honestly I have heard for years that Coulter was an exceptional writer and The Sherbrooke Bride is a great read. I feel lied to. I hated it. After reading the other reviews on this book (most are right around 4 stars) I am wondering if maybe it is just me.

Douglas is pretty ticked off that instead of finding the beautiful woman he expects to come home to he is married to her younger sister that although handsome (Alex said she was quite handsome when listing her attributes to Douglas) she appears dowdy when standing next to Melissande...of course...according to the author....everyone does. So, what does Douglas do? Just figure that he didn't really know any of the girls that well and only wanted a brood mare anyway to give him an heir and anyone would do? Get mad and simply annul the marriage? Nope he treats Alex horrid. Seriously, horrid.

He ridicules her clothes. Saying things like, "That is such an unfashionable dress I doubt it was ever in fashion. I suppose you intend to wheedle me out of a new wardrobe?"

He ridicules her hair. "You will not pleat your hair like that. I don't like it. You look like a little girl."

He ridicules her feelings for him.....I still don't understand how she could have any tender feelings for the man who treats her so awful.

He often tells her that she will NOT ask questions. She will DO as he says and OBEY him. Often telling her that she will respond that yes "She understands" even if she doesn't.

He often referenced to his wife while thinking of her as "the little twit".

Alexandra's own thoughts were just as belittling. When thinking of her sister and herself she knows that Melissande is a diamond and she, Alex, certainly isn't a diamond but perhaps she could be a Topaz. A Topaz is, after all, a quite suitable and a nice gem.

I think that the love scenes (I use the phrase loosely) were the worse to listen to (yes I listened to it on audio without skimming most of it had I done if I had an actual paper version). The love scenes (cough cough) were all about him telling her, quite clinically what he would do to her and that she would enjoy it. The first one was the most painful...granted they all were bad but the first one is like that first plunge into the swimming pool you never know quite what to prepare for and let's just say that the very first love scene will stay with me for a long chicken pox scars.

Douglas did a lot of talking.....a LOT!!! I don't remember much of it thank goodness as I tried to block it but what I do remember is that Douglas doesn't find his wife remotely attractive and can't figure out why he loses control when he has sex with her as he is ALWAYS in control. So even though his wife is not stunning in beauty it must still be her fault he ruts her like a school boy's first outing.

Oh and at one point they were talking about if he found her lovely and irresistible (I am paraphrasing by the way) to which he replied...."Well, No. But you have nice breasts." What a pig!

And what does Alex do while her husband treats her like this???? Why...... she declares her love for him.

One reviewer said that they fell in love with Douglas and mentioned he was the first "Alpha" male that they read. To me there is a big difference between an Alpha male and a jerkwad. Douglas is a jerkwad....perhaps even more of an asshat. Jerkwad is too mild of a word.

I was going to give this book a flat out 1 star rating (I never give less than that because that is the lowest my rating scale goes...although a half star would make sense too if I really was going to think about it...but I'm not at this point) oh, anyway, it fully deserved 1 star up until the last 80 or so pages (I'm guessing by the way since I listened to it and honestly don't know). The last 1/5 of the book picked up and had some sort of a twist that was mildly interesting and made me see Alex and Douglas as actual characters and not horrible plotting mistakes. Unfortunately it only elevated the book half a star...too little too late.

Oh, and there was a ghost in the book called The Virgin Bride. Almost pointless to have had it in the storyline...I suppose it was to give the book an added depth and shake things up a bit but it was a big FAIL....really.

Now I'm kind of in a dilemma...I own 38 more of her books. I'm scared to even pick another up.


Hott Books - Gina said...

She is one of my favorite authors & this was the book that started it all for me! It's a great read!!

Christina said...

Gina your post just proves that, yes, Coulter does have fans and know she has a pretty big following but I just couldn't like this book. I just didn't like the characters. I hated Douglas with a passion. After I read it and took a couple weeks to think about it, I did think that perhaps it was slightly comical that Douglas couldn't figure out why he was not his best while bedding her and then ended up blaming the bed, the room, the house etc for his short comings. But at the time I really only say a jerk who was throwing a temper tantrum because he ended up with a different stranger as a wife instead of the stranger he thought he was getting.

Lynette said...

ROTFLMAO. I loved this book. Granted, I was a teenager when I read it, but I think it would be interesting to see how I would feel now if I re-read it as an adult, because I get all your points from what I remember about this book.

Christina said...

Lynette, You make an excellent point. I read quite a few romances as a teen that I loved (not naming specifics but there were quite a few Indian Romances that I adored) and really doubt that they could compete with my preferences today. I tried reading a Cassie Edwards book a couple years ago and after forcing myself to read almost half of it I gave it up. I never give up on a book especially one that I have already committed 150 pages of. But I very much enjoyed her books when I was younger....maybe I just didn't have any taste back then.

Anyway, about The Sherbrooke Bride, I almost feel that listening to it might have been a poor choice on my part...sometimes the voice the narrator gives each character works and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it makes me feel like I want to cover my ears and scream LaLaLaLa! over and over again. Maybe this was one of those times. Maybe I'll try actually reading it one of these days.