When “the world is too much” with Miss Bates, when she’s “in disgrace with fortune” and has had the work month from hell, when Friday rolls around and fatigue comes cheap … she reads an HP. HPs are Miss Bates’s preferred escapist reading: the caricatured masculinity of the uber-hero, the moral goodness and myriad virtues of the often-misunderstood heroine (even heiress-party-girls are good and secretly self-sacrificing). Setting is set at minimum and the over-wrought physicality of the hero and heroine’s attraction is strung so tight Miss Bates hears zinging as she reads.
Thus was Sarah Morgan’s The Sultan’s Virgin Bride. Smooth, coconut-flavored chocolate, an espresso as dark as our hero’s eyes and Morgan’s PC-not tale and Miss Bates rejuvenated on a weary Friday night.
When Saturday’s grey-fogged incipient dawn crept into her room, however, she woke with thoughts whirling. She’d enjoyed every moment of her HP; however, niggling and annoying considerations sidled into her consciousness. She’s going to impose them on you, dear reader. Bear with her. This be reader response.
To the HP reader, there are no spoilers. One of the HP’s virtues is its predictability. But if you don’t read them and you’re reading this, there might be mild ones. HPs require the suspension of your suffragette and post-suffragette sensibilities. Continue reading