Title: Rose Bride
Author: Elizabeth Moss
Publication date: July 5, 2016
How did I get the book: Review ebook copy from Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley
Set in King Henry VIII’s court, Margery’s youthful indiscretion has ruined her reputation and left her vulnerable. When she comes to the attention of Virgil Elton, one of the royal physicians, they are both drawn to each other. Can they both see beyond reputation and rumour to the real person?
Although Rose Bride is labeled ‘erotica’ it’s just as much of a historical romance. Perhaps a tad more explicit and certainly, the main character, Margery started the book with an already damaged reputation due to her youthful indiscretion but it spends a lot of time building the story, setting the scene and tone. Don’t worry though, there’s lots of sex scenes.
That being said, if you like historical romance or books set in the Tudor period and don’t mind the occasionally explicit sex scene or overt misogyny, it’s a decent book. It’s also the third in the series which I wasn’t aware when I started reading it but works fine as a standalone.
Interestingly, for me anyways, I didn’t really like a lot of the characters in the story (mostly due to their poor treatment of women) other than Margery and her friend Kate. Yep, I didn’t like Virgil, the hero of the tale. I didn’t dislike him but while he took pains to protect Margery physically, he still believed all the rumours and thought of her poorly. I understand that under the mores of that time, she was no longer “pure” but wow, so much hate towards women in the story. I wanted to count how many times the word “wanton” was used in the book.
However, if one puts aside how badly most of the men in the book act, there are some interesting bits and historical context. I liked that both main characters aren’t titled nobles which is unusual in historical romance novels but adds an interesting element. I did wonder if that was the reason that Margery was able to be at court without a chaperone which should have been necessary for an unwed young woman, even one with a damaged reputation.
Not a bad story and set in an interesting time period, it’s just hard to ignore all the unlikable characters at times.
Should you read it?
As long as you have no problems with explicit sex and the fact that women were treated like chattel in that time period. There were times that the misogyny made me want to bang my head against a wall and it’s harder to like a romance (or erotica) when one isn’t fond of the male lead which is why the rating is lower. Plus I didn’t find the sex all that hot. That all being said, I liked Margery (most of the time).