Thoughts After Reading:
This isn't the first time I've tried Victoria Vane's The Virgin Huntress. When I first heard about Vane's "DeVere" series - The Virgin Huntress in particular, I took a look at the free sample for the novella. And then promptly deleted it. In just a few short paragraphs, I found the heroine incredibly whiny and could not imagine an enjoyable love story involving her. After reading A Wild Night's Bride, however, I was in a much better state of mind for understanding the character... and was therefore eager to try out the review copy Vane was willing to send me. It turns out I was partially right: the heroine is rather spoiled, demanding, and headstrong in a way only a young debutante can be, to the point that I never fully bought into the romance between the hero and heroine. But the book is also very well written, and it mostly redeems itself in my eyes by being immensely funny. There are few scenes that can compete with the hilarity of the The Virgin Huntress's heroine innocently offering the hero a handjob, or the dialogue between the heroine and her guardian as she tries to be subtle in her scheming.
The heroine is an eighteen year old young woman who has just arrived at London for her come-out. The moment she sets eyes on her guardian's brother - Captain Hew - she is smitten. It's hard to tell what attracts her more: the hero's dashing looks and courageous manner, or the fact that he "sat a horse like a centaur". In her daze of infatuation, she promises herself that she will win the captain over. And when the hero seems to be setting his designs on the heroine's companion, it only increases her determination. The heroine's childish actions do not particularly endear her to the reader, but they were most definitely funny: "He hadn't even kissed her hand! She wanted to stamp her foot in fury! Why did he address her as a child?". The hero, meanwhile, is a man who is proper and noble in many respects. For example, he has decided to abstain from sex his whole life until he finds his wife. His plan was to develop a tranquil romance with the right woman, but the spirited heroine tears those ideas to shreds. Her antics steadily escalate as the hero remains immune to her "charms", allowing for humorous dialogue between the heroine and a number of other characters. Things come to a head when the heroine's guardian puts all of his wealth at the heroine's disposal, and she decides to kidnap the hero. Further hilarity results, along with occasionally tender and sensual moments.
My biggest disappoint with The Virgin Huntress was the romance itself. Cute moments aside, there was not much depth to the relationship beyond the infatuation that eventually develops from both perspectives. That - coupled with the heroine's impulsive and often selfish actions - made it hard for me to realistically believe these two would actually make it as a couple.
So my conclusion is thus: if you want a deep, emotional romance... Victoria Vane's The Virgin Huntress is probably not for you. If, however, you're looking for a lighthearted, sexy, and very hilarious romp with a moderately feel-good ending... I think you'll be quite satisfied with this novella.
Note: As I mentioned in the review, I received a review copy of this book for free. It's still an honest review blah blah blah... you get the idea.