Monday, 2 June 2008

The Devil To Pay by Liz Carlyle

This novel is so utterly profoundly boring I almost slit my wrists after reading the first 154 pages.

The basic problem is that every single character, including the main couple displays such ugliness in lifestyle and behaviour. I kept seeing those grotesque cartoons from old editions of Punch come to life. Drunkenness is not attractive. Yet the hero loses days due to the effects of consuming too much alcohol. He is also a case of syphilis waiting to happen. Pus-filled boils and all. He treats women like pieces of meat. A grown financially independent man, he still allows his mother to try to marry him off. The heroine is not much better. She pretends to be a hooker, takes the money but does not deliver. A street tart has more honesty than her. Again she earns a living as an instructress in her own house. She's supposed to be intelligent and resourceful. Yet it seems she is attracted to the cigar and pipe smoking drunken mess that is the hero. Yuk! Could it be because he has a title and money? That is so disgusting. The heroine's name is Sidonie. Yet straight away the hero calls her Sid. When he is little more than a stranger to her. In an age when public deportment counted for so much. It's like he's telling her 'You're unworthy.' Of course she says nothing.

This novel aspires to be a rip-off of Connie Brockway's All Through The Night. It is nothing more that a miserable smelly vomit inducing failure. I felt I needed a shower after reading the book. Also. Totally ghastly decor in all the houses.

What I really objected to was this novel's misogynistic portrayal of women as a whole. Completely at the beck and call of males. And the way that the cockney dialect is used as a euphemism for being an unworthy second class female. You know. Even the hero's mother is shackled. Since it is obvious that the hero's father, her husband, would be making her life a complete misery if she didn't at least try to reconcile the two of them, son and husband. Sick-making.

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