ISBN: 978 0733 58446 6
Name: Harriet Flint
Age: cusp of 25
Occupation: Property Manager
Description: Shoulder length wavy chestnut hair with auburn highlights. Thickly lashed clear grey eyes. Reed-slender body (p9).
Name: Roan Zandros
Age: Mid-late twenties (assumed)
Occupation: Presumed Penniless Artist/Heir to Zandros Corporation
Description: Over-long untidy dark hair. Cool and contained face, high-bridged nose, square jaw. Eyes dark as night. Lean and muscular body (p10).
The Virgin’s Wedding Night (TVWN) is a well-written novel but as others have noted its potential is never fully realised. The standard riffs of the Harlequin romance are present with the exception that Harriet is not the typical saccharine heroine though she shares in their inevitable fate.
Craven, typically, does not indulge the reader with the male perspective. This has been noted by others as a key weakness of the story as there is no insight into the progression of Roan’s feelings towards Harriet or even his initiation attraction (arguably, Harriet’s intuitive reaction to his art vis-a-vis Ianthe. Ianthe views it as a mere hobby whereas Harriet understands its an integral part of who Roan is). Regardlessly, it is doubted that Roan’s view would have lessen the problems associated with the eponymous event of the novel. Harriet conceding that it was Roan’s right (the existence of a marriage is not tantamount to consent ) does not ameliorate the shocking nature in which the act is initiated. Craven (or at least the editors) are keen to reiterate that Harriet does ultimately consent if only to spare TVWN the criticism that Craven’s earlier works have attracted.
As Dream Emporium Dot-Com observes the ‘final bit…should have been longer.’ An antagonistic relationship for most of the novel there needed to be at least a mutual reconstruction of their courtship narrative and/or a shared articulated hope for their future. Basically, there needed to be reassurance that Harriet will be okay.
Harriet forfeits a large part of her identity (and freedom) to be with Roan at the end. We are expected to believe that someone as heretofore career driven as Harriet will be happy ensconced in domesticity when it was not enough for Roan’s mother. In part it could be argued that Harriet’s fate belies Craven’s seeming distain for women in the workforce. With Harriet’s own career stalled, females are depicted as pandering to the male ego (PA Athena & Gina in accounting) or incompetent (Harriet’s solicitor Isobel Crane-seriously- background check should have been de rigour regardless of client’s instruction and especially if they turn up with a high powered counsel that prima facie they can not afford. Basic Google search even?). It is only Tessa who resigns her post for the domestic sphere that is spared such censure.
The other reviews are quick to note Harriet’s coolness towards Roan without acknowledging he too has his own agenda and is not entirely honest with her. Bringing home an English bride certainly stymies his father’s idealised dynastic ambitions and been deliberately obtuse about his relationship with Lucy is not going to endear him to someone with acknowledged trust issues.
Another problem that has not been alluded to in the other reviews is Harriet been on the cusp of 25 does not present as Gen-Y. Gen Y characterised as been highly educated and technologically savvy Harriet comes across as neither. Concurring with SusieQ’s review, it is surprising that Harriet as ambitious (and smart) as she is has not engaged in tertiary education even if it would be motivated by the vicious one-upmanship she is engaged in with Jon Audley.
There are other minor quibbles but overall …
Craven occassionally refers to Australia in her novels. The one reference in TVWN can be found on page 115 .
"’I am planning to return to Greece. Will that put sufficient distance between us, or do you wish me to consider possibilities in Australia?’ His voice bit."