DNF at 37% with a little bit of "ick".
I've never really given much thought to how long I've been reading romances. They have just always been lying around - on bookshelves, my kindle, library books, borrowed from friends, given away and fondly remembered, just always there. I talk a lot about Shanna being the first one I read back in the late 70s, but I've never really connected the dots between how old I was then, and how old I am NOW.
It really became clear to me today when I picked up Amanda Rose by Karen Robards. Amanda Rose was written back in 1984, right around the time I was gorging myself on historical romances by Woodiwiss, McBain and Busbee.
The story begins with American privateer Matt Grayson and his harrowing escape from the gallows at Tyburn Hill. Injured in his escape, he is found by the virginal orphan Amanda Rose on an early morning walk on the beach.
Of course, he is injured (YAY! Sponge-bath-and-fever, my favourite trope!) and Amanda takes care of him. Of course, she spies his lush man-pelt and has to deal with those pesky tinglings in her nether parts. Of course, the stubbly beard that makes him look old gets shaved off, and she is overcome with feelings for this dangerously handsome convict. Of course, he is too old for her (33 to her 18) and tells her so. Often. And, of course, he kisses her.
All of this so far is quite good, and par for the course for romances written in the early 80s. I was settling in for an afternoon of adventure and romance - "so magnificent it will make your pulse pound and your heart rejoice"
Until Amanda starts looking at the Hero with huge, trusting, wonder-filled eyes and asks him if all girls feel the same when they are kissed? Is it always like this for him? And Hero answers her in a indulgent (shall we say patronizing) tone that no, hardly any girls are swept away by passion as she is and that he must not kiss her again, else he give in to his fever for her and take the gift that she should be saving (if you know what I mean).
All of this was absolutely fine with me 25 years ago when I dreamed of a tall, handsome manly man who would sweep me off my feet and teach me all I needed to know about lurv
But reading a book like this 25 years later, when said tall, handsome manly man is chasing after the equivalent of a high school senior, and it squicks me out.
I've been spoiled by all the late-twenties spinsters populating historicals lately, I guess. The old standard age gap is has widened so far that for me, in this book, it was unbridgeable. And that's when it occurred to me just how long I've been reading romances, and how my perspective has changed.
Maybe I'll try to skew my thinking and try this book again later, when I'm more able to channel my inner 18 year old ingenue.