Reviews

Darius: Lord of Pleasures, by Grace Burrowes

mephala's review against another edition

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4.0

This book is tricky; I’m still not quite happy with the rating I gave it...

On one hand, Grace Burrowes prose is beautiful; elegant and rich, flush with wonderful imaginary and atmosphere. If nothing else, it’s simply a tremendous pleasure to just read words written by this author.

On the other, I find myself feeling slightly dissatisfied by the story. Especially when the premise of impoverished Earl selling himself to collect funds for his family and crumbling estate was so intriguing.

At first Darius Lindsay seemed to be really complex character: charming antihero, with deeply caring nature, so loyal to his family and duty driven, that he decides to sell his sexual favors for money to repair his already stretched thin finances. An unique, unconventional hero.

Sadly, as the story progressed he became almost too good to be true, and any edge he had disappeared. Unfortunately, because the heroine was really reserved and quiet, they at first balanced each other very well, but somewhere around the middle of the story, their relationship of mutual pining got tedious.

I liked the first half of the book; it was almost a character study of two strangers – complete opposites - caught in an incredible emotional and difficult situation trying to make the best out of it.

Lady Vivian, a young second wife to a much older gentlemen, appeared almost detached from herself when she meets Darius. It’s almost like there is no Vivian, only Lord William Longstreet’s caretaker. Slowly, that brief, yet incredible intense month with Darius encourages her to find her own identity.

I was hoping this would be a start for them both: for her to fully find her own strength and him understanding his own value.

Their month together was emotional and incredible intimate; once again Grace Burrowes’s signature mature tone of storytelling shined there.
Unfortunately, while Vivian somewhat opened up, Darius seemed to lose his complexity and ended up almost too… good.

The second half of the book covers almost a year of Darius and Vivienne pining for each other, and while I enjoy this theme, I feel like here it was overdone.

Moreover, after their month together the story lost its momentum and became a very slow paced. There are of course good reasons for that, but as one previous reviewer mentioned, there was so much telling not showing, which made some fragments very difficult to read through.

As for the romance, it’s not only slow paced but very gentle in a way. I’m still looking for an appropriate adjective to describe Grace Burrowes’s romances; elegant comes to mind. Gentle and subtle too. The passion between her characters is simmering, hardly ever wild with abandon, and the characters themselves almost always seemed to be either older or at least mature.

Last thing I want to mention is how Vivienne never truly became a character of her own.
As I mentioned, at first she’s almost non-entity, her solely characteristic being that she was Lord Longstreet’s wife. After meeting Darius, she seems to want to find her own agency, but quickly reverses to her old role. When her husband dies, she’s now a mother and that seems to give her strength and will to stand up for herself and her child, but in the end it’s Darius who single handedly takes care of all the people who could potentially harm them. He is a lovely caring hero and I was hoping she would be more of his equal.

Darius: Lord of Pleasures was good book with even better premise, that sadly didn’t use its unique characters to their full potential.

3,5/5 stars

craftyhilary's review against another edition

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3.0

This book had a lot less plot than I would have preferred, and all the difficult issues were too quickly resolved. Burrowes’s characters and storylines are usually more complex than this. It was fine, but not great.

bookwifereviews's review against another edition

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2.0

This book was sad and kind of cheesy. It was still okay but it wasn't my favorite HR. I really didn't like the storyline or the characters.

mom_reads_romance's review against another edition

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5.0

Well, I loved this book, which was my first Grace Burrowes. All the characters were extremely likeable, except the villians who were appropriately vile and depraved. The plot moved along nicely and I particularly liked the perspective of William, who was such a beloved character by the end of the book. I look forward to reading more of her books in the future.

larisa2021's review against another edition

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5.0

ARC review pending

julie_kcwbc's review against another edition

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4.0

This story intrigued me because I saw someone promote it on twitter when it was a daily deal. I didn't purchase it that day but I was looking for a romance and started googling, carefully googling, the premise of this book to try to find it.

Even though this premise sounds warped, I'm glad I gave it a chance. Darius and Vivan have an interesting relationship and both their characters were more complex than I was expecting. This didn't turn out to be the shallow lust fueled story I thought I might find. Instead, it is layered with mystery and missed opportunities. Even though Darius's situation is a little murky and unexplained, I found both characters intriguing. The writing is a little unpolished and does a lot more telling than showing, but overall I liked this first installment and decided to continue on with the series.

readingpenguin's review

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2.0

For whatever reason the premise of this book had me expecting delicious so-bad-it's-good cheese. Unfortunately I developed absolutely no fondness for either main character, but more importantly there were simply too many of romance's more irritating tropes for me to enjoy this.

I have a very low tolerance for extremely virginal characters. No problem with virginity itself, but when the heroine has to have erections explained to her I just feel my eyes roll and I'm worried they might get stuck that way. Vivian is the absolute worst--zero awareness of her own body or orgasms or intercourse. Look, I KNOW, women of this time period were sheltered, I freaking get it, but I don't have to like it.

Then there's the makeover subplot which is never my favorite thing, and it's worse somehow because Darius is the one to insist on new clothes for Vivian. He's almost too sensitive, our hero, with his wardrobe makeover and his fondness for kittens and small children, and he's forever rubbing Vivian's feet or brushing her hair, bringing her hot beverages, buying her personalized perfume. In addition to occasional prostitution he farms and makes, I kid you not, herbal sashays to sell in town. He's written as someone's fantasy rather than as a person, but certainly not my fantasy because all I could think was oh please, just stop.

The other interesting thing about Darius is his whoring activities, which in themselves could have been hot but end up really awkward. Basically he's got a couple of female patrons who pay very well for the privilege of playing some extremely lightcore bdsm with him, in which he features mostly as a naughty pony or errant servant (trust me it is a lot less kinky than it sounds). And there's a bit of oral here and there, that's about it. What sort of stuck in my brain like a splinter about the whole thing is that the author makes repeated points of telling us how shameful this all is for Darius, and not necessarily just because he's been whoring, but also because of the submissive role therein. The women are painted in turn as bitches and then pathetic old ladies for seeking out this kind of activity, taking advantage of him (but come on, they didn't have Craigslist back then, what's a girl to do?) I'm sorry, but he chose his role, it's not like there aren't other women and men out there with other kinds of needs that maybe don't involve spanking if it bothers you so much. I don't know, the entire manner in which these relationships and characters were portrayed just disgusted me--Darius the victim, the dominatrix harpies, the angelic-by-contrast Vivian. Just, bleh.

belladonna_loves_to_read's review

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3.0

Liked the first half, but the rest had me skipping paragraphs at times.

pattydsf's review

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3.0

It has been almost three years since I read my last romance by Burrowes. I am not sure why I waited so long. This was great fun and I can't wait for another great story by her.

lesmel's review

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2.0

Morose. Unpleasant. Completely uncharacteristic of a historical romance.