Review: Willful Depravity – Ingrid Hahn

Review: Willful Depravity – Ingrid HahnWillful Depravity
by Ingrid Hahn
Publisher: Entangled: Scorched
Publication Date: January 21, 2019
Genres: Romance
Pages: 306
Source: NetGalley

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Giles Warrington Hale, Marquess of Ashcroft, was born to do two things. Paint and rut. But lately, nobody but Miss Patience Emery has inspired him. The moment he sees her, he knows he must paint her and have her-- anywhere and everywhere.

After a lifetime of trying to appear smaller, Patience no longer cares what anyone thinks. She’s resigned herself to a life having a man in her dreams only. But when the mysterious Lord Ashcroft approaches her with a chance to act on her bold, scandalous, and depraved desires, she suddenly sees her chance to indulge in every wicked fantasy she’s ever had...

Note: This erotic romance features a BBW heroine and a scandalous hero.

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4 stars icon british Historical icon m/f romance icon

Content warnings: fat phobia (including heroine’s mother forcing her to diet)

It’s rare, in my experience, to find a historical with a plus-sized heroine on the cover, so I jumped on this book as soon as I saw it.  True to the cover, this is an erotic romance with a delightful fuck-buddies-to-lovers story line, starring a plus-sized heroine and a titled rake.

“Allow me to offer you a certain…proposition.”
Her throat went dry. Proposition? Like…that kind of a proposition? Because she didn’t need to think on the matter. The answer was yes. If he wanted to slip away with her into the gardens and take her on a bench, she would throw him over her shoulder and run into the night.
Except she couldn’t. What foolishness. She wasn’t a wanton. She didn’t want to be, at any rate.
Very well, correctly speaking, she didn’t want anybody to know she was a wanton.

Giles initially becomes interested in Patience when he overhears her telling off a bunch of debutants with, well, language that would be considered extremely shocking even today.  Immediately smitten by her daring and her ample curves, he makes a suggestion – visit him for a week of painting and sex.  Patience, frustrated by never being good enough (read: thin enough) for her marriage-minded mother, decides to take him up on it.  There’s more at stake, though, than just her reputation, and Patience’s new-found courage will be tested.  Does she have the strength to claim her chance at happiness with Giles?

I liked Patience quite a bit.  Though the book starts out with her trying to conform to society’s standards for an unmarried young woman, she still has a spark of boldness.  Through her assignations with Giles, she gradually becomes more comfortable with both expressing her thoughts and in her own skin.  Part of it is the welcome knowledge that she’s attractive just as she is, that she doesn’t have to change or reduce herself to fit society.  Giles, however, I didn’t particularly care for.  I’m not one for the tortured artist-type, honestly, and he showed that tendency towards extremes of emotion, as well as admitting, several times, that the only things he cares about are painting and screwing.  I did love the care he showed Patience.  His focus on consent was particularly nice, even about things like the nude drawings he did of her.  And since this is an erotic romance, there were lots of chances to practice that consent – a good portion of the book is steamy sex scenes, though not much I’d consider particularly kinky.

“Forgive me for being so blunt and impugning your word, but I don’t believe you.”
He looked curious, not offended. “Why not?”
“Because I’m large.”
“Yes. So you are.” A tiny smile curled at the end of his lips, and he spoke with plain matter-of-factness. And when he raked his gaze slowly down her body and slowly back up again, she would be damned if he didn’t like what he saw. “What of it?”
“Do you mind your size?”
“Yes. No.” She sighed. “I don’t know. It’s complicated.”

As for cons, I did find the progression of the romance a bit unsatisfying. It’s almost a bit like they screwed themselves into loving each other, rather than falling in love through, well, doing anything that didn’t involve sex or sexually provocative painting.  It’s clearly stated that Giles has a definite preference for women with curves, and at times I felt that he bordered on fetishizing her rather than seeing her for herself.  I do think, by the end of the book, that he did see her as an actual person that he admired quite a bit.  Additionally, the secondary characters didn’t particularly stand out to me.  Giles’ father (and Patience’s mother, to a lesser extent), especially, were pretty one-note evil.

Overall, this is probably more of a 3.5 stars for me.  As an erotic romance, I think it’s pretty good, but I did wish there was a bit more to the story.  If you’re looking for a historical erotic romance starring a plus-size woman, however, this would be perfect for you!

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