I read pretty much anything, from fantasy (City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett) to romance (Bared to You by Sylvia Day) to classics (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad). The only genres I don't read are self-help and comic books/graphic novels.
I received a free Adobe Digital Editions copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley, this has not compromised my ability to write an honest and critical review of the book.
28/1 - 1.5 to 2 stars (2 stars for GR because it wasn't completely full of grammatical, punctuational and spelling errors). While it wasn't full of errors they weren't completely absent. This sentence is a perfect example: "It has always rankled me that what is best for the gentleman is not always best for the lady yet society seems bent on keeping it these inconvenient methods." Missing comma and what does "bent on keeping it these inconvenient methods." mean? Obviously, Portman is trying to convey something along the lines of 'what's good for the goose should be good for the gander', but those last seven words make absolutely no sense (especially 'inconvenient' as it has nothing to do with the gender differences in those days in this context).
The opening lines state "I am with child, again. In the unfortunate event I do not recover from this birth, I write my confessions in this diary." Reading those lines I assumed that Cecelia had experienced previous difficult pregnancies, been warned not to become pregnant again or was in such an abusive relationship that she feared for her life. But, other than some bad morning sickness with each pregnancy (the possibly deadly pregnancy she's talking about will be her fifth successful birth of five pregnancies - she hasn't lost any children through miscarriage), she suffered no more than any other pregnant woman of the day would have been expected to. Other than this opening paragraph her fears for her life aren't mentioned again - if she had actually had reasons to fear for her life that might have made the book more interesting.
Cecelia says she's writing this 'diary/confessional' to distract herself from her growing (unfounded) fear and because she wants to explain to 'those she loves' the reasons for the rumours surrounding her marriage to William. If she's writing to her family members why does she feel the need to 'state that her husband was known to be something of a rake'? Wouldn't they already know all about his reputation? To be continued after dinner...
After dinner - Now to the erotica genre this has been placed into. What the hell? How can anyone call the sex scenes in this book erotic? The sex is peppered with sentences like this catastrophe: "Without warning his hand came around and gripped my buttock, he squeezed it hard and the pain flashed through my entire body. I gasped out aloud. Despite the grinding weight and heaviness in my womb, a sure indicator of my body's interest in him, I was growing increasingly fearful.
'To the bed with you, good woman,' William cried with gregarious chivalry."I know this because Cecelia herself states earlier that her marriage was arranged very shortly after the start of her first season. How is "To bed with you, good woman," chivalrous? I would be more inclined to say it's imperious and domineering.
I think I could safely diagnose Portman with acyrologia (from afar, even), specifically cacozelia - a kind of acyrologia in which one uses newfangled speech or Latinate diction in order to appear learned. I think learning of this condition is going to be unbelievably useful in writing reviews of this kind - you know, where the book is bad. I would not recommend this to anyone looking for good erotica, or even erotica at all as not one line of this is erotic.