Part one of the Mistress Trilogy, My Fair Mistress opens with a familiar plot. Our heroine, Julianna, wants to clear her brother’s debt and so agrees to the wicked Rafe Pendragon’s proposition. She will serve for six months as his mistress.
Clandestine liaison ensues while a villian emerges from the shadows to threaten the pair of lovers.
There was something about the hero, Pendragon, that was off for me. Perhaps his backstory was a little silly or weak, or maybe I just didn’t like his ruthlessness. Romance always walks a fine line with these types of plots between romance and…well, human trafficking. And the feminist in me has hard time reconciling romance with a woman being forced into a type of sexual slavery. In the same vein that Indecent Proposal is really rather indecent, its hard to swallow a plot where the woman gives up her cherished prize (in Regency times, virginity) in a self-sacrificing gesture. Of course, in hist-ro she always finds release, freedom and pleasure in sexual freedom. But, nonetheless, there is something slightly seedy about exchanging one’s favors in a financial transaction.
Perhaps some women dream about being reluctant and vulnerable. I suppose that’s where I have a tough time with the hero. Its not necessarily something that interests me; as a woman I find myself subjugated enough that when I relax to romance, I want to read about a meeting of the minds.
Otherwise, it was a good read.