Is Verity Durant a “Feminist” Heroine?

Rachel Potter’s C+ review of Sherry Thomas’s Delicious over at All About Romance is, IMO, very well done, although I liked Delicious a lot more than she did. But what struck me most about Potter’s review were the following statements (and, in my biz, it’s a compliment when someone’s writing inspires you to think hard about something, so I hope Ms. Potter, should she ever stumble upon this, takes it in that spirit):

” Verity is a strong character, never a victim even when victimized. Readers who like feminist heroines will love her. … Readers who like love triangles, feminist, sexually experienced heroines, disguises, and strong sensuality might like it more than I did, however.”

I personally *heart* all of the things in that list, which explains, in part, my more positive view of the book. But I find myself asking, “Is Verity Durant a feminist heroine?” And what does that even mean?

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Review: Delicious, by Sherry Thomas

Setting: London and environs, late Victorian

Main characters: Verity Durant, chef, not a virgin, with fraught history, and Stuart Somerset, also of complex origins, now barrister and MP with sterling political prospects. Both in their mid to late thirties.

Plot: Straightforward romance plot (no spies, blackmail, violence, paranormal elements).

Distinctive features: Heroine is a chef, late Victorian setting, nonlinear plot, abundance of characters with shady parentage

My take in brief: Great writing, gripping, very romantic elements, including secondary romance, unusual features, such as detailed descriptions of food and use of food and appetite as metaphors for love and desire, but some plot and characterization problems

Word on the Web: So far, mostly positive with one outlier. Stay tuned for more reviews.
Jayne, Dear Author, Grade: B

Jennie, Dear Author, Grade: A

SB Sarah, Smart Bitches, B

Rachel Potter, AAR, Grade: C+

Lawson, TGTBTU, Grade: B+

Mary Benn, TRR, Grade: 5 hearts

Ana, Book Smugglers, 7

Elaine, Romance Reviews Today, Ungraded: positive

Jessica at Romance Novels, Ungraded: positive

Nancy Davis, Romance Reader at Heart, Ungraded: positive

Sakura of DOOM, Oyce, mostly positive

Discussion thread about Delicious at AAR
Sherry Thomas’s first novel, Private Arrangements, was published in early 2008 with a lot of fan fare. It got great reviews pretty much across the board, and enjoys a 4 star rating on Amazon.com after almost 50 reader reviews. (As an aside, I wonder what it is about certain books that makes them hotly anticipated and widely discussed. Is it the publisher? The editor? The author’s profile on the blogosphere?)

I loved Private Arrangements. It’s on my keeper shelf. So I was super excited to get my copy of Delicious in the mail earlier this week. And, just like with PA, I read it in a 24 hour period.

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Published in: on August 6, 2008 at 3:31 am  Comments (5)  
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