A Tale of Two Lovers - Maya Rodale A Tale of Two Lovers was a bit of a wall banger for me. Rodale's a good writer, so the prose flowed well and kept me invested in the story. Sadly, the main characters in this story are HORRIBLE PEOPLE (TM). I don't mind abrasive characters. I don't even mind characters with problematic personalities. But I do mind characters who intentionally inflict pain (physical or emotional) on others and never embark on a redemption arc. And on that note, meet our heroine, Julianna!

Julianna, Lady Somerset, is a widowed gossip columnist trying to break the next big story by besting her nemesis, The Man About Time, a gossip columnist from another paper. In order to do this, Julianna writes a damning story about notorious rake Lord Roxbury that ends up getting the man all but shunned by the Ton. In turn, Lord Roxbury ruins Julianna, and the two crazy kids are left with no other option than to marry (naturally). Is it a spoiler to say that they end up being meant for each other?

Rodale's writing is the real star in this book. She kept me reading even when I was angry. The mystery surrounding The Man About Town was a fun diversion from the angst between the two main characters. I never guessed the identity of the man, and that's rare.

Julianna. Julianna, Julianna, Julianna, why doth thou hateth me so-eth? Even though the silly girl KNOWS that she published a false story about Roxbury, a story that in those times would have done more damage than to cause a few smirks (she implied that he was having sex with a man), she refuses to print a retraction. She watches two men duel over the story and is all "Woe is me! 'Tis just a story!" What she did was horrible, and she never took responsibility for it. While Roxbury wasn't much better, at least he stopped being a nincompoop halfway through the book when he was "redeemed by love." Is anyone else concerned that Roxbury was diseased in some way? He couldn't even count the number of women he'd sexed up, and that's troubling. It's no wonder he didn't think he could stay monogamous.

I thought that the focus on the gossip columns would lead to some type of moral awakening - like, oh I don't know, gossip can be really MEAN and DAMAGING. But no. Julianna loves her work, which is nice, I guess ... if I considered dragging peoples' names through the mud for money NICE. I just couldn't relate. It especially irked me when Julianna sulks about being spurned by society when the gossip is focused on her instead of other people. Why Pot, I don't believe you've met Kettle, have you?

I wanted to like the characters. I really did. They even grew on me a few times, almost redeemed themselves by being charming. But in the end, I felt like they didn't learn anything other than how to love each other. That's great and all, but how am I supposed to believe that their love will last when they have so little respect for other people?