Reading & Other Torments: A New Kind of Book Review

Alright, so for those that are wondering, Reading and Other Torments is a series about books. Hence the reading part of the title. But not just any books mind you.

These are the books that sit on the shelves of Barnes and Noble, and while you may pass by them and only glance at the titles, never actually read them. I’m talking about the ones that have the ridiculous covers or titles that make you laugh at the absurdity that someone actually was able to write that book and actually make money off of it.

This week I will dive into the world of the Romance genre, reading a book called the The Lady Hellion by Joanna Shupe.

The Lady Hellion

Now to start it off, I’ve never read a Romance novel before. The closest to a romance I’ve read was Twilight in middle school (don’t judge, you know you had that Twilight poster hanging in your bedroom too) but nothing like the romance section of Barnes and Noble. You know what I’m talking about, the ones with different Fabios on the cover, clutching a fair maiden whose dress is blowing in the wind. The ones with titles like Mad Bad and Dangerous in Plaid, Vampire Mine, or A Billionaire Between the Sheets (these are all real titles btw). Most of them have to do with men in kilts because for some reason, kilted warriors are a hot sell these days, lord knows why. And while Scottish accents are dreamy in real life, having to read pages of terribly written Scottish accents make my head hurt.

So, while I wanted to read a book about a Scottish lad as they seemed to be the most popular, I also wanted to find one that maybe I would enjoy? Possibly? So after literally three hours of perusing the romance section (the longer I stayed the more looks I got), I finally found one with a lady in a pink dress on the cover -nothing scandalous- and a book that my friend also agreed I should read as she seemed “like a nice lady”.

What you need to know

So for a quick summary, The Lady Hellion takes place in London around 1820 and centers around a spirited girl named Sophie. Sophie is definitely not like the rest of the women in proper London (very reminiscent of Daisy Miller—shoutout to Core 5) and walks around town without *gasp* a chaperone! She also dresses as a man named Sir Stephen and solves crimes against lower class women, which is actually pretty bada%$. In the novel, she was helping save prostitutes from getting murdered, which again, is really awesome, and she does it all by herself for the most part. Except when her temper gets in the way and Sir Stephen says yes to a duel with another man. And that wouldn’t be an issue except for the fact that Lady Sophie -excuse me- Sir Stephen, hasn’t even held a gun before. So she receives help from a man named Quint who just so happens to be her ex-love (funny how that works out). Quint is very reminiscent of a Sherlock character (more Downey than Cumberbatch) with a massive brain —amongst other things— and has become a recluse after suffering from PTSD from a gunshot wound. Of course, PTSD was not a thing yet in the 1800s so he just thought he was going crazy. Luckily, Sophie is there to help because, crazy enough, making out with Sophie helps him recover from PTSD. As absurd as it sounds, it makes more sense in the book. I think.

An honest review

Now altogether, the book was actually….dare I say it?…not that bad. It was even feminist and relayed the idea that women are also sexual beings. And Quint was totally cool with Lady Sophia dressing up as a man. And everything was consensual, which was really good because a lot of the romance novels I started to read ventured into a very very grey area. And there was actually a bit of action too! Like people beating the sh$t out of each other kind of action. Action and romance? Basically the best of both worlds.

Here are some other thoughts I had while reading the book:

  1. Literally everyone in the book cocks their head. Not tilts. But cocks. Very subtle.

  2. Do men really think about their erections as much as they do in this book? Because they seriously need to calm the h- down.

  3. So many euphemisms for penis. So. many. But surprisingly not as many for vagina.

  4. A lot of the problems they had were not problems but ways to make tension out of nothing before they had the sex, bow-chica-bow-bow.

  5. For instance, Quint was mad at Sophia for carrying around a knife because it would be easy for someone to find it. Of course, Sophia says she hid it in a very secure place. (do you see where this is going, because I sure cannot, as it was so subtle) So instead of just asking her where it is and Sophia showing him, he looks for it himself in a weirdly erotic game of Hot and Cold. (this was before they started hooking up too mind you).

Happy reading everyone!