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Invitation to Ruin cover art

Invitation to Ruin

Written by: Bronwen Evans
Narrated by: Faye Adele
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Publisher's Summary

One Good Lady Is About to Go Bad...

The only thing Miss Melissa Goodly has ever wanted out of a marriage is love. But any hope of that dissolves one wild night, when she loses herself in the arms of the most irresistible - and unobtainable - man in all of England. For when they are discovered in a position as compromising as it is pleasurable, she has no choice but to accept his proposal.

Avowed bachelor Anthony Craven, Earl of Wickham, never meant to seduce an innocent like Melissa. Yet now that the damage is done, it does seem like she'd make a very convenient wife. After all, she is so naive he won't have to worry about ever being tempted. Or so he thinks, until the vows are spoken and they are left alone - and his new bride reveals a streak just as brazen and unrestrained as his own.

©2011 Brownen Evans (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Profile image for Tracy T
  • Tracy T
  • 19-10-13

A frustrating disappointment!

This book was so frustrating and had so much potential, its too bad too because it could have been so much better. The characters were good, however the way the story was written was so frustrating. The constant misunderstanding based off of a look or the tone of voice or an action was just too much. Always assuming what the other thought or meant. Come on a little communication would be nice. There was not much dialogue in this book which was also annoying. All thoughts and feelings or fighting feelings most of the time was annoying. Even the plot had good potential but was lacking. I was so looking forward to this book to come out and so disappointed. The only good part is that there was some hot and steamy sex.
The narrator did a good job though I really like Faye Adele.

Don't waste a credit, and the kindle version is over 8 dollars. Save those dollars too.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile image for Yvette
  • Yvette
  • 20-10-13

An Invitation to a Torturous Read

I'm not sure what happened with this book. All I know is that it was emotionally draining. It was the worst type of romance, in that, the hero, Anthony Craven, Earl of Wickham, is an unreformed rake and a true devil to the heroine, Miss Melissa Goodly, until the very last part of the book. I felt angry for most of the book and so emotionally distraught for the heroine.

At a ball, Melissa withdraws from the evening affair early to her bed. For Melissa, it's always been Anthony, but she's disappointed because she sees how Anthony only has eyes for her widowed cousin, Cassandra, who is known for her wiles in bed (Cassandra is a real witch to Melissa btw). Anthony is in hot pursuit of Cassandra who he wants as his next mistress. Anthony is wild himself and not interested in settling down in marriage....LIKE EVER....

So, Anthony is set up by his twin brother Richard (and partly dowager mother) to enter into Melissa's room by mistake. Richard and his mother have chosen Melissa because she is so good and they believe she can help Anthony heal from the damages of an abusive childhood. Richard gives Anthony directions to Melissa's room instead of Cassandra's. So, Anthony goes in and ravages Melissa, and gets caught in this compromising position.

This ends up sealing the fate of both Anthony and Melissa. Anthony manages to convince Melissa to marry him, even though she doesn't want to. The reason being that she wants to marry for love, and she knows that Anthony will never commit, nor love her.

From this point on, the reader is spoon-fed an anemic & partly starved development of love between the leads. Anthony is moody and switches between treating Melissa with warmth and humiliation/emotional abuse, alike. Anthony behaves this way because he is dealing with the severe emotional, and physical abuse he received on behalf of his father (a notorious slave trader). As a child, his father was trying to crush Anthony emotionally so that he could also be a terrible slave owner/trader. Although Anthony rejects the slave trade and changes the family business completely. He still carries visual images and emotional scars that run deep. This is why he can't allow himself to love. He fights the developing love he begins to feel for Melissa like it's an enemy to his soul. For this reason, he lashes out at her, makes her feel inferior, verbally degrades her, makes her believe he is sleeping with whores every night, and lies to her about a major assumption he let her believe she would enjoy upon marrying him.

Melissa Goodly is probably the most emotionally abused heroine (on behalf of the hero) I have ever read. She develops this core of strength within her character and holds herself together when Anthony lashes out at her. OMG, I felt so bad for her countless times. Usually, I like to list some of the sweet or romantic interactions between the leads, but in this book, I could more easily outline the horrible things Anthony did to Melissa throughout the book...

THINGS I HATED (Hero's Treatment of Heroine):
-I hated how Anthony embraced Cassandra in front of Melissa (and stroked her back trying to console her) after he was betrothed to Melissa.

-I hated how Anthony got jealous and left Melissa at the ball after he saw her talking to his brother in the garden. (later he did apologize)

-I hated how he threatened to take back the promise to not bed Cassandra when he was angry with Melissa.

-I hated how he left her on their marriage night and announced it in front of his intimate guests (in the drawing room) that he was going to his gaming/whore club and not spending his wedding night with her.

- I hated it how he refused to be near her post marriage. (he avoided her for about 4 freaken weeks in their same house)

-I hated how he refused to have sex with Melissa and made her feel like trash when she tried to seduce him. (when in fact, after his betrothal to Melissa, he only wanted her, but like a SUPER JERK he fights his love for his wife)

-I hated how he made Melissa believe that he was with a whore every night after their wedding (even though he was actually faithful to her).

Believe me I'm just getting started with this list in how the Hero abused the heroine...there is so much more!!!!!

I'm not sure why Evans wrote this novel this way. In this regency romance, there is so much evil, and it builds in layers. The evil comes from inside the characters, and most of all the evil is embedded in society's treatment of woman and slaves.

1) Marriage as a form of slavery: There is a comparison drawn between marriage and it's impact on a woman in relation to slavery, at the time. That is, a woman is a slave and property of her husband under marriage, just as black people were slaves and subject to their masters in society.

During the ball scenes you get the sense that no one is happy. The fate of the beautiful debutants and married women, alike, is subject to the absolute power of these "gentlemen" in society, who are a law unto themselves.

2) Slavery- OK, both the leads are diametrically opposed to slavery. They work within their own ways to try and stop it. But, I got the sense that this nice quality is like a bone the author threw to readers to try and balance the hero's abominable treatment of his heroine. There are some very gory, awful, stomach-aching descriptions of how black girls/women salves were abused. And, there was very little hope injected in this area. Thankfully, one of the redeeming features was when Anthony finds Melissa at a slave auction and helps her free two women slaves (that was really great).

3) Gaming Hells/Courtesan/Men Clubs: Ok, the men frequent these "clubs" that have naked courtesan's pleasuring themselves with an audience, as the men play card games. And, this is the norm for the men in this book. All of them, both the noble men (i.e. Richard and Rufus--Anthony's good friend) love these places. It's not frowned upon, it's quite the norm. Well, this also made me sick!-- (even though Anthony frequented this disgusting place, he didn't sleep with anyone because he was pinning for his wife).

4) Have you ever read a book where the heroine is abducted by the villain (who is absolutely evil incarnate) and ends up forced to give him a BJ before she is saved by her hero????? NO? Well, me neither! I was disgusted.

5) Also have you ever read a novel where the villains have more sex scenes than the leads??????? I have not!! BTW, the sex scenes between the villains are disgusting and awful. I mainly skipped through this part.

I suppose even though I found this book disturbing, I kept reading because I wanted to see if Anthony and Melissa would finally find their HEA. Well, they did. It was only after Melissa was abducted and her ASS of a husband completely reforms himself.

So, if the majority of the book was anemic on the romance part, the end of the book throws a feast at you. The problem is that, as a reader, you're so used to being spoon fed sweets in small portions, it's hard to feel any type of satisfaction and to digest the HEA.

But, ultimately, there are intimate, healing scenes between the leads (way at the end of the book) where Anthony gives himself completely to Melissa, heart, body and soul. From this point on, Anthony adores the ground Melissa walks on. He can't get enough of her and is the perfect husband. Melissa is, of course, vindicated....poor girl.

Narrator: I thought the best part of this experience was the narrator. She was really good in her voicing of both male & female characters.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile image for karen
  • karen
  • 20-11-15

unromantic and disturbing

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I can't think of anyone enjoying this book. There are some jarring scenes that describe rape of children and they take you out of the story or any thoughts of romance. I am not sure why the author did this. If she wanted to write about slavery and the horrific things that occured during this practice, then write a different book and don't try to place it in a historical romance.

What could Bronwen Evans have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

She could actually write a romance. This is a very different type of book. Some of the other reviews indicated that it was frustrating and I agree. It is not a historical romance that is why the frustration. A reader is trying to fit it into the HR genre and in so doing it is impossible.There were too many disturbing images of abuse to make this feel like a romance.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The narration was okay, not the worst but definatly not the best. the men did not sound masculine and the male villan sounded like a maiden aunt. Since a lot of his scenes were sexual, it was a little creepy.

What character would you cut from Invitation to Ruin?

The male & female villan. The H/H had so much emotional problems that resolving their issues could have been the entire book. There was little need for the added sub-plot.

Any additional comments?

This book had a great premise and could have been wonderful. There were several things that made it difficult to understand. The fact that the hero has a twin brother that looks & acts nothing like him. Why not just have the second brother a year or two younger?Why the marriage so early in the story to drag out the HEA. There could have been a better build up to the point where the h/h are forced to marry. The dialogue was too modern for the time period, so I was taken out of the story to roll my eyes. I had the other 2 books in the series in my wish list, but took them out. I have given up on Ms. Evans as an author of historical romance.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile image for LeAnne E
  • LeAnne E
  • 23-04-15

A Painful and Frustrating Book

Is there anything you would change about this book?

As if the narrator's monotonous drone was not enough, she read sentence after sentence in such a disjointed, nonsensical manner that a listener has to second-guess what the author was actually trying to convey. A better narrator could have brought this story to life.

If you’ve listened to books by Bronwen Evans before, how does this one compare?

Bronwen Evans writes wonderfully romantic stories, but this one fell flat.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Faye Adele?

Susan Eriksen, Susan Duerden, or Rosalyn Landor

If this book were a movie would you go see it?


2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile image for Ellen P
  • Ellen P
  • 27-03-19

Bad narrator. Ruined the book.

The narrator was horrible. Mispronounced words, pauses in the middle of sentences, mixing up character voices, she did it all.
Her voice, especially when playing the villain, sounded like she'd been breathing helium. I stayed to hear how the story came out but will make sure I never order another book with this narrator.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile image for 🌿🌸Susynne🌸🌿
  • 🌿🌸Susynne🌸🌿
  • 14-11-16

mature themed regency romance

For a book with such a heavy tale, mature themes, and horror stories I still found myself grinning from time to time. But I found tears rolling down my cheeks too, and that rarely happens.

Rake raised by abusive slave trader father.... learns a lesson.
Beautiful lady with the soul of an angel struggles to teach the lesson.

Lots of sex.

Mediocre narrator leaves a lot to be desired.

Creditworthy? Yes. But listen to the narrator preview first!

If foul language, mature themes, sex and harsh subjects offend you than this book is NOT for you.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 02-07-16

Not for me!

I want my romance novels to be funny, exciting and sexy. This one just disgusted me. I didnt even finish it.
I did'nt like the narrator either but I'm not sure if my irritation over the story made me dislike her voice more.
If you like miserable heroines surrounded by perverts, go ahead and listen to this book. I'm returning it and will never try this writer again!