Tempt Me With Diamonds by Jane Feather
Set in the glamorous world of London in 1903, this book follows Diana Sommerville as she returns to her native England from South Africa, where both her father and her brother died, leaving her whole possession of the wealthy family's gold and diamond mines as well as their English properties. Or so she thinks.
It's a rude shock in more ways than one to find Colonel Rupert Lacey, her former fiance, comfortably ensconced in her house in London. An even ruder shock to find out her brother left his half of the Sommerville legacy to Rupert, forcing Diana to share everything she owns with a man she'd prefer to never lay eyes on again.
It was so, so hard to feel any sympathy whatsoever for Diana, as she lamented her woes to her friends over champagne and caviar. Or as she petulantly attempted to define which areas of the house belonged to whom. She acted like a child drawing a line on the playroom floor and refusing to share her toys.
On the other hand, Rupert also did an excellent job of making me thoroughly dislike him. His autocratic attitude and determination to annoy Diana just because he had the power to do so made me want to give him a good smack in the mouth. And as for his blaming her for a lack of trust when he'd given her no reason to trust him? Refusing to answer perfectly legitimate questions when she'd been given pertinent information by trustworthy people, including her own brother… and Jem was no prize either. Fancy telling your sister that her fiance, your best friend, might have a mistress and child and then leaving her to deal with it! Why didn't Jem confront Rupert on Diana's behalf? Not much of a loving brother in my book, never mind the invidious position he left her in regarding the inheritance. Which shouldn't have even happened, since Diana's brother predeceased her father and you can't leave a future potential inheritance to anyone anyway.
There was so much that annoyed me about these characters, and that's before we even get into the forced kisses and the angry hate sex. This reads so much like an Old Skool romance from the 70s I went to check the Goodreads page to see if it's a reissue, but apparently not. Maybe the author found it lying around in a bottom drawer somewhere and handed it in to satisfy a publisher's desire for new material? In which case the editor who didn't send it back to the 1970s is to blame for this atrocity. In the year 2019, romance readers expect and deserve better than this misogynistic rubbish. One star.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.