Warning: a whole lot of rage ahead. I am absolutely livid with anger.
Absolution? Revenge? Retribution? You've got to be fucking kidding me. I am absolutely livid with rage right now. This book was a waste of my time. Revenge? What fucking revenge? This is a poor excuse of a love story, with two of the most addle-brained fucking excuse of a human being I have ever met. There is the main character, an irredeemable bitch of a woman, the sort who darkens the name of womanhood, the "Love is never having to say you're sorry" type of fucking bullshit. What the fuck does that even MEAN?
When a person is wrong, they apologize. When a person knowingly, willingly destroys a person's life, they should apologize. They should fucking grovel, they should beg for forgiveness, they should not be able to fucking barter for forgiveness, spouting defiant fucking sorry-ass excuses while being dragged unwillingly every fucking step of the way. I have zero sympathy for the main character in this book.
This is the sorriest fucking excuse of a revenge novel that I have ever read. The whole thing is a fucking mating dance.
There is a way of exacting retribution, and it is nowhere to be found in this book. You could search over this book with a fine-tooth comb. You could examine every inch with the most powerful of electron microscope, but the point is that there's nary a iota of revenge-exacting in this novel. It is a cookie cutter romance novel with the slightest hint of wrongdoing and a promise of revenge and nothing more than that.
The Summary: Let's keep the summary short so I can get on with my rant. 12 years ago, 16-year old heiress Mara disappeared. The bad news is that the future Duke of Lamont was accused of her murder.
He was naked. In a bed that was not his own.
And he was covered in blood.
His memory of the night before is completely gone. He cannot remember a single thing. Without a body, he cannot be convicted, but his name and his family name has been dragged through the mud. He may be a Duke in title, but he and his family's name is blacklisted. Society will never, ever accept him. He was sent into exile by his father. A promising young man with his life ahead of him, sent into the streets. He adopted the name Temple, he begins fighting as a boxer, and made his reputation as the Killer Duke. 12 years later, he has made his own fortune, but society will never forget that he is a killer. But then Mara appears, with a deal. She will clear her name.
He just wants his revenge. Does Temple fucking go for the throat? Hang her out to dry for the years of torment he has caused her? Does Temple get his retribution? Only if retribution is a fucking synonym for "falling in love."
I hate, hate, HATE people who make false accusations. People who bear false witness on the stand who cause an innocent person to be imprisoned for decades. People who falsely accuse another of rape. People who falsely accuse another of defamation. The sight of the newly freed as they see their families again, the knowledge of the years of their lives lost due to a false accusation, all the pain and misery that they must have undergone in prison---it just breaks my heart.
I Destroyed Your Life: Now What?: A false accusation destroys lives. A false accusation destroys a person. Have you ever been falsely accused of something you have not done? It is not pleasant. I have. I have never, ever felt so much anger and helplessness and frustration as when I had been falsely accused of something I did not do.
I have a very limited amount of sympathy for someone who willingly destroys someone's life. Spare me your fucking excuses, you monster of a woman. Yeah, the heroine has a sad backstory, wah wah wah. Boo fucking hoo. Cry me a motherfucking river, because gues what? I don't give a fucking crap. Play me your very tiniest of violins because I have had it up to here with your fucking bullshit, you miserable excuse for a woman.
Mara is the type of woman who give womanhood a bad reputation. She shirks her duties. She makes wrongs and sticks her fucking head in the sand (for 12 years! 12 FUCKING YEARS!)
From the beginning of this book, Mara has an uphill battle to fight for my approval. She never, ever once comes close to winning over my heart.
I'm So Sorry I Ruined Your Life, Would You Like Some More?: The main character is set up to be a sympathetic anti-heroine. Mara is not sympathetic. I never, ever once felt anything for her but complete, utter loathing. She committed a wrong, and she ended up making a man pay for it not with his life, but his reputation, his dignity, without his heritage, a disgrace to his family name. She has taken everything from him. She is a fucking cunt. She is a self-righteous twat. She deserve to be ostracized from society. Were this medieval times, Mara deserves to be pilloried with rotten eggs and fruit thrown at her, and I would gladly chuck a putrid basket of rotten papaya, a few coconuts, and several bricks shaped as fruits at her self-professedly saintly fucking head.
This is Mara's fucking version of repaying all the bad, bad things she's ever done.
Mara: Waaaaaah. WAAAAAH! I am so sorry that I've ruined your life. I am so sorry that for the past 12 years, I've let you lived with a blank memory of the night in which you've killed me. I am so sorry about what happened that night that I won't fucking tell you anything about what happened, leaving you in complete, utter anguish, leaving you to torment yourself with doubt until the very end.
She should tell him.
The whole story.
The money, the debt, the reason she’d run. She should lay herself at his feet and give him the chance to forgive her. To believe her. To believe in her.
Yes, the very fucking end, after which I will give you Ze Grand Reveal, which is as exciting a secret as the fact that I fart 15 times a day under my petticoats.
I'm so sorry that I won't even fucking TELL YOU TO YOUR FUCKING FACE that I'm sorry.
“Do you regret your actions?”
She met his eyes. “Do you wish the truth? Or a platitude?”
I'm so fucking sorry, I really am. I'm so sorry that due to society' false conviction of you as a killer (which was my fault in the first place), you were ostracized and branded the Killer Duke. I'm so sorry that I will equate the fact that I lived for 12 years, fucking scot-free fully in knowledge that I've destroyed an innocent man, because I TOTALLY KNOW HOW YOU FEEL.
“I understand that you are angry.”
The words seemed to call to him, and he came toward her, glass still in hand, stalking her backward, across the too-small room. “You understand, do you?”
“You understand what it is to have lost my name?”
She did, rather. But she knew better than to say it.
He pressed on. “To have lost my title, my land, my life?”
Yes, I am so fucking sorry. I am so sorry that I will extort money out of you in order for me to do what's right and prove to the world that you are innocent.
“I shall tell the truth. Come forward with proof of my birth. And you shall forgive my brother’s debt. I think it’s a fair trade.”
“A fair trade for destroying my life?”
I am so fucking sorry for all the wrongs that I've done to you that I will threaten to escape once again, leaving you fully aware this time that I am alive, but knowing you cannot prove it unless I am here.
“I disappeared once before. I can do it again."
I am so very sorry for drugging you the night that I faked my death, leaving you covered in blood.
He interrupted her thoughts. “You drugged me!”
I am ever so fucking sorry that I drugged you, so sorry that I will express my remorse by---DRUGGING YOU AGAIN.
“Goddammit!” he said, his glass falling from his hand as he lunged toward her, missing his mark, catching himself on the edge of the chair. “You did it...again...”
I am so sorry that your name is ruined in society that I will rectify my error by completely battering your fucking name into the ground. I will publicly challenge you to a boxing duel in front of a full house! Surely that will do the trick.
She was ringside and through the ropes in seconds, and the moment she stood there, in the uneven sawdust, the room began to quiet.
She took a deep breath and spoke, letting her voice run loud and clear in the enormous room. “I, too, have a debt with The Fallen Angel, Duke. So tell me. Will you accept my challenge?”
Because of course, fighting me will completely fucking clear your bloody name in society. Why? Because if you beat me, you will be known as a fucking woman-beater. And if you let me win, you will be known in society as a boxer who fucking lost to a woman. I will let you have your revenge by putting you in a situation in which you cannot fucking possibly win.
I am so fucking sorry that I feel that my life has been destroyed by men, so that I will take it out on a man who has been completely innocent of doing anything to me.
Temple had been collateral damage.
I will acknowledge my wrongdoing internally while doing everything possible to defy the man whom I have wronged. I am so sorry that I was a completely fucking stupid cunt.
“I never meant to hurt you.” She paused, her gaze flickering over his shoulder to the mirror where the women had watched the fight. “It never occurred to me that you would suffer.”
He didn’t say anything. Didn’t have to. The idea that her actions would have no consequences for him was pure idiocy.
I am so sorry that yet again, I will extort money out of you for making love to me.
“I don’t care what your reasons are, or how well you’ve fabricated them. I am done. How much was this worth? This afternoon?”
The words were a blow. He couldn’t believe she would ask to be paid for.
I'm so fucking sorry that I destroyed your life and stabbed you in the back that I will allow my brother to literally stab you.
The knife landed hard and deep in Temple’s chest, blood blooming from it like a perverse blossom.
Some people are emotional vampires. They suck the happiness, the hope, the life out of everyone and everything they touch. Mara is one of them. She is a despicable excuse of a human being. She fills me with anger and hate. There was not a single moment in this book in which I felt a minute substance of sympathy for her. Mara does not deserve a happily ever after, and the fact that she gets one makes me sick to my stomach.
Retribution is a Synonym for Love!: Oh, Temple. Dear, dear angry Temple. He is so filled with hate, so filled with righteous anger! I don't blame him. I have the utmost sympathy for him---until he attempts to get revenge.
The key word is attempt. Because his way of exacting revenge is the equivalent of tickling a little kitten under its chin very, very hard.
Oh, but it's a HARD tickle. Therefore it's acceptable. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? WHERE IS THE RAGE? WHERE IS THE ANGER? Temple gets MAD. Only he doesn't. He gets ANGRY. Until he sniffs Mara's hair. He is FURIOUS! Until he sees how lovely Mara is. He is IRATE. Until he feels bad about Mara and the fact that she has really harsh, dry hands because she hasn't been able to lead the life of a lady IN THE 12 YEARS THAT SHE LET PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT HE WAS A MURDERER.
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? SERIOUSLY, ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? HOW THE FUCK IS THIS ANY SORT OF REVENGE?
Mara drugs him! OH NO PEOPLE THINK I'M A MURDERER. I LOST MY NAME, MY FORTUNE, MY REPUTATION. She's back! Oh, how lovely and untouched by time she looks! It's almost as if I didn't fucking kill her!
OH SHIT SHE DRUGGED ME AGAIN. Why, that clever, cunning girl!
Oh, look, she wants to extort money out of me! But that's alright, she's got a fucking orphanage to feed.
Her brother fucking stabbed me! She may have been in on it! But she's so lovely!
...her, with her pretty, soft hair and her strange, irresistible eyes and her strength beyond measure. Thoughts that did not make him question just why she had done what she’d done so many years ago.
Strength beyond measure! Sure! She's got so much backbone, so much strength that she never shows it in any way besides living the kind of hard life that 95% of non-wealthy women live for the rest of their drudge-filled life. Never mind that she's not forced to be a whore, because really, it takes so much fucking strength to fucking run an orphanage. A fishmonger? A tailor? A maid? No such work for our fucking saint of a false speaker, Mara.
STRONG? BULLSHIT. Temple puts fucking Mara on a pedestal when she does not deserve it. He completely forgets about retribution and starts waxing on and off about her beauty and strength every fucking moment. All thoughts of retribution and revenge goes out the fucking window. Seriously, fuck that shit. Oh, she tried to kill him? Noooooo, noooooo she wouldn't. I mean, what evidence is there that Mara might want to hurt him? OH, WAIT, THE FACT THAT SHE LET PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT HE KILLED HER 12 YEARS AGO? And yet...
Temple shook his head. She hadn’t tried to kill him. He couldn’t believe it. He wouldn’t.
Oh fucking Temple, fucking Temple, you fucking birdbrain. Take your fucking brain out of its penis, remove your fucking balls and hand it to Mara already, you fucking doormat. You fucking sorry excuse of a man.