When Someone Loves You

Susan Johnson, Author
Susan Johnson, Author . Kensington/Brava $15 (309p) ISBN 978-0-7582-0939-9
Hardcover - 423 pages - 978-0-7862-9422-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 329 pages - 978-0-7582-0945-0
Open Ebook - 316 pages - 978-0-7582-2068-4
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It's 1816, and actress and playwright Annabelle Foster loves (and desires) handsome Murray D'Abernon, 13th Marquis of Darley, who goes by the name of Duff and reciprocates her feelings. Belle's widowed mother dotes on Duff, and Duff's stately but swinging parents venerate Belle, who has single-handedly reversed the (what we would now call) post-traumatic stress disorder that laid him low following the Battle of Waterloo. But society says they mustn't marry, and she says they mustn't even go to bed, although she is subject to "throbbing between the legs" and his buckskin breeches frequently show "turgid veins inflated and pulsing." Belle's had it, though, after a soul-sickening season with the despicable Walingame, who says she has "no rights" and dares call darling Duff a "fucking cunthound." Men! No woman alive could pass up the chance to hang with Duff; she accepts his wager that he won't proposition her for two months. He, of course, is confident that she'll make the necessary moves. Johnson frequently crafts one-sentence paragraphs, sometimes as many as five in a row, but no construction can introduce suspense into her turgid tale. The sprinklings of period language seem pasted-on. Characters are heavenly or vile. But for those who like their social history liberally sauced with lubricity: yum. (Aug.)

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