I received this book free from BookBub.
I love historicals, as anyone who knows me can attest. I liked the blurb for Passion and Pride, so all was well. Until I read the first few pages. Since I can't find a publisher listed, I can only assume this is another foray into self-publishing that went desperately wrong on many levels.
After putting in many hours of research for my historicals, I tend to notice glaring problems in authenticity. In this book, there are many. Despite many sites that simply require a simple search, the author did not do her research with reference to proper forms of address. In the afterward, she admits that she isn't the greatest researcher and that readers should email her "to save your fellow readers from my faults!" Seriously? How insulting and cavalier.
We have Baron Phineas Blake. His son goes by the last name Blake, which clued me in to the fact that Blake was the surname and not the title name. Phineas would not be Lord Blake, but would adopt the title name, ie: Phineas Blake, The Right Honorable Lord Rothchild (or whatever.) Likely the estate would be Rothchild (or whatever)Manor, Hall, Estates, etc., and not Blakewell, as it would be entailed and therefore would belong to the title and not to any particular man.
Then we have another character, the Marquis of Ashford. This surname is Pemberly. The author refers to him as Lord Pemberly, which is incorrect. He would be Lord Ashford. There may be more, but I gave up any hope of accuracy.
Easily researched by googling proper forms of Address. I did that for her here: http://laura.chinet.com/html/titles12.html
If you are writing a historical, and using titled nobility as characters, your FIRST obligation is to research proper forms of address. Passing it off on you not being the best researcher is simply saying you couldn't be bothered. (Yes, this issue irks me and yes, it does matter.)
The beginning rambled and then the lack of editing continually threw me out of the story.
The incorrect use of the word discretely, which means - apart or detached from others, was used instead of discreetly, which means - respecting privacy, which is the word the author wanted.
This mistake was made again a few paragraphs after the first time.
One of my particular pet peeves is parenthesis in romance fiction. Some may think it is all right, but it is author intrusion, plain and simple. In this case it was used liberally, with cutesy asides.
Aesthetically, parenthesis are distracting and have no place in a romance novel. Some authors can't help but interject themselves into the story with bits of snappy repartee, but show a lack of understand of their readership.
The hero and heroine meet, yet she goes off to France to become a courtesan. An egregious breach of romance novel etiquette. Once the hero and heroine meet, they don't play around.
A slow story, poor writing, dragging plot, unlikable characters, unlikely circumstances, and poor research made this novel a major fail.
I will say it again. Self-publishing is a wonderful advent, if done properly. Through self-publishing, anyone can produce a book. However, that doesn't make it good. Research, research, research OR don't write a historical (or a contemporary for that matter, because research is a major part of the writing experience.) Admitting you aren't a good researcher accomplish anything but open you up to criticism.
As for the poor writing - study, study, study. That can be fixed by not taking your own council or that of your friends. Believe me, no editor worth their salt would have let this book be published as is.
If you spend the time writing, you owe it to yourself and your readers to do it right. Even if you self-publish, hire a professional editor to give your book the scrub it needs. No writer can self-edit because we know the story so well, that we become text blind and your friends and family won't tell you the truth. Remember, your name is on the cover and if you want to garner a following, you don't want to put out a sub-par book.
I'm glad I didn't pay for it, I would be demanding my money back.