Tremayne, Marie. The Viscount Can Wait. New York: Avon Impulse, 2018.
Mass Market Paperback | $6.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0062747402 | 387 pages | Victorian Romance
Perhaps, the viscount can wait, but how long do I have to wait before it gets good?
That was my main thought while reading this book. Granted, I know rakes and playboys are all the rage in romances across subgenres, but it just felt like the trope was turned up to the extreme here, and without the great character development that is necessary for me to believe a rake like Thomas can reform.
To start with, the scene in the prologue just turned me off him almost entirely. While I was able to somewhat filter it through the lens of the times, it still seemed incredibly off-putting to me that a self-respecting man would kiss Eliza on the eve of her wedding to another man, just because he felt like it, without consulting her about it, later making the lofty claims that he won’t kiss her again until it is “at her behest,” and that he has “never force himself on a woman” (the latter statement given to Eliza’s brother and his best friend, William).
And while there are little things that show his potential for growth, like the fact that he develops a good relationship with Eliza’s daughter, this is far outweighed by the fact that, despite the claim that he’s in love with Eliza, he still lacks emotional maturity to make a lasting relationship seem believable. Not only is the fact that he has this rakish reputation incredibly apparent and well-referenced, there is more than one instance of him being wasted, including one where he is in the presence of “women of ill-repute” and is attacked, culminating the “black moment” of the story, where another character claims he has been close to such a thing happening before. Being close to someone who dealt with the consequences of similar excesses as a symptom of her struggles with mental illness, I was disappointed at the way this was more or less brushed aside once Eliza came to his side.
Add to that that I really didn’t find much about Eliza that was all that interesting. I couldn’t see what there was to be attracted to about her, even if I believed Thomas’s love was genuine.
Granted, I know my tastes will differ from a lot of other readers’. I recommend everyone who enjoys a good “redeemed rake” romance to pick this one up to judge it for themselves. And I have not given up on Marie Tremayne. Writing is a learning curve, especially with your first few published books, and while this one, and even her prior book, may have embraced tropes a bit too much without adding anything new to the genre, I do see promise in her writing and will continue to read her works to see how she grows.