Paris 1765: Elinor Harriman and her sister are reduced to selling the family heirlooms and burning the furniture because their titled mother has gambled away everything of value. When her mother disappears, Elinor’s anger flares and she follows, though her destination is the Viscount Rohan’s notoriously degenerate estate. Once there, Elinor strikes a deal with Rohan, who is intrigued by this young woman who has intruded into his assembled patrons’ den of iniquity. In fact, the jaded Viscount finds that he cannot get Elinor out of his head, and he not only improves her circumstances, he finds himself falling in love despite himself. But will Elinor allow herself to return his feelings?
I had high hopes for Ruthless because I’ve read other books by Stuart which were quite good; unfortunately, while well-written, Ruthless falls short in characterization. The Viscount is overly decadent and weary; his manner of dress and speaking never made him intriguing in any way. Elinor is spunky and determined but too willing to allow herself to be used. The sexual escapades are prurient and repelling. The romance is overshadowed by characters I cared little about and a plot that was predictable. Even though Ms. Stuart’s writing flows, nothing could overcome a tired and distasteful plot.