The Wicked House of Rohan: Alistair

So I was browsing through my tweets from Harlequin books (BTW, Literary Mancandy has a twitter now!) when I stumbled upon this article called Just How Bad can a Hero Be?.

It was written by Author Anne Stuart who is launching a series titled The House of Rohan featuring wicked decadent men and the women who love them.

No, not this Rohan. Sorry Eomer.

Stuart says

Answer: It all depends on who blinks first. I tend to specialize in dark heroes—men who kill and women who love them—but they tend to show up in my contemporaries, not my historicals.  Dangerous spies and assassins have a good excuse for their darkness, what with saving the free world and all that.

….

Whether these men manage to be redeemed is a matter of opinion.  How bad they truly are is also a question of perception.  I’ve always figured that the badder they are, the harder they fall, and my bad, bad heroes fall very hard for my strong heroines.  In the end it makes the redemption that much sweeter.  If you can handle a dark hero in the first place.

This interested me because I’ve ranted in at several of these blog entries about heroes who cross the line. My general take is: If they’re really bad, they better change their ways and not be a pile of douche to the heroine even at the end or I call shenanigans. It sounds like Stuart has a similar thought process. Since the article directed me to a FREE e-book prequel I decided to see if Stuart’s hero was really that bad.

The e-book is very short, only 38 pages. Which makes sense as its free and is supposed entice you into the longer books of the series. We open with Miss Kathleen Strong, a governess recently fired unfairly, starving, broke and answering an ad that’s her last hope.

Only the ad for a governess is not really for a governess. A society known as The Heavenly Host, a group conceived one drunken night by a bunch of nobles for the sole purpose of exploring pleasure. They want her to give up her virginity to one of them (while the rest watch) in exchange for money and passage back to England after the deed is done.

Yeah, they’re real charmers.

Our hero Alistair Rohan is one of these gentleman though set apart from the others in the Heavenly Host. He is rather bored with the society and regretting ever being part of it. Alistair does enjoy the darker pleasures but he does have a sense of honor to it.

Despoiling a willing virgin as part of their silly gathering was harmless. He was a firm believer that any excess was permissible so long as those involved were in agreement.

He’s actually a little tempted by the notion of being the one to make it with Kathleen but  her one term to agreeing with the deal is that Alistair is not the man to do it. Why is that? The story is so short and is free so I will let you find out. You don’t need a kindle or a nook to read an e-book (and call me old-fashioned but I don’t foresee myself getting one). Adobe Digital Editions is a free program that lets you store and read e-books on your computer.

So how bad was Alistair and was he that bad? No. Stuart was smart, she didn’t try to cram in a whole redemption from a to z in a small format. She gave us a hero on the brink and a heroine who cold push him over. I don’t know how she will handle it in the full-length novels of the series but I admit I want to try my hand at them. Mostly because the cover typography is gorgeous.

I know that you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover but I'm a graphic designer and the "Ruthless" type is super pretty

Breakdown

Appearance: tousled brown hair, blue eyes, sensuous mouth

Personality: bored, honorable, sensual

Best Quality: He may be a rogue but he has scruples about it

Worst Quality: His solution to Kathleen’s problem could have been solved in a more practical way

Grade: B

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