A lone witness finds her protector…
Since losing her sight in a childhood accident, Mia Danvers has resided in a small cottage on the vast Carrington estate. Thought to be dead, Mia lives a life of virtual seclusion—until one night, while walking home, she happens upon a horrendous crime.
Alex Foster, Eighth Duke of Carrington, lives according to society’s expectations for him. He’s never met the woman who lives in the cottage at the edge of his property. But when she arrives at his door in the pouring rain terrified and claiming she has witnessed a murder, she seizes his attention.
Mia is determined to help the authorities track down the culprit, even though the only person willing to accept her aid is the handsome, arrogant duke. Working closely together proves difficult as Mia’s beauty and independence tempts Alex to ignore convention and follow his desire. But what neither of them know is that this murderer has struck before in Whitechapel, taunting the British press only to vanish—a ruthless killer who knows that Mia is the only living witness to his crime…
WARNING: UNMARKED SPOILERS
DNF @ 15%
Because in the first 15% alone, I found so many instances of ableism and ignorance on both the part of the characters and the author that I just cannot force myself to read any more.
This is easily the worst portrayal of a main character with a disability (blindness) that I have ever read. And that includes the grossly offensive BPD in Real.
It feels like this author did ZERO research into what it’s like to live without sight. She just thought, gee, it’d be a neat twist to have a murder-mystery where the chief witness is blind!
For instance, it opens with Mia, our female lead, who is blind, witnessing that murder. From about twenty feet away. She hears it happening and hides herself in a shrub. Now, what does “hides herself” mean? It means that she hides herself from sight. How does one hide themselves from the sight of others when one cannot see to know that they are hidden?
Now, granted, blindness can come in many forms, so it’s plausible that she’s merely visually impaired and has some light or color sensors left, which would mean that she could have sensed that she was hidden by the utter lack of light. But sadly, that isn’t the case here. We learn early on that Mia cannot even differentiate between light and dark, putting her in the 12% of people who “see” total darkness.
After the murder takes place, she runs up to the house it happened behind to warn the duke who resides there that a murder just took place on his property. Once shown to his study, she turns toward the sound of a crackling fire and strides over to it to, bumping straight into a chair. She’s been blind for nine years at this point.
I’m sorry, but WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK???
Have you ever met a blind person? They don’t go sprinting across lawns or striding full-tilt across unknowns room. Because they don’t know the layout. They don’t know if a chair is in the middle of the way, for example. You can get seriously hurt that way. For Christ’s sake, she didn’t even put her hands out in front of her.
So the Duke gets her settled and orders tea. Then:
“He watched as she methodically found her way around the tea service, then poured her tea, adding precisely one lump of sugar and enough cream to color the liquid a warm brown.”
Everything she does is either “methodical” or “careful” or “delicate” in this book, never DETAILED.
I’ve watched a blind person prepare themselves tea. On an unknown tea service. I’m surprised the duke’s delicate sensibilities weren’t offended when by “finding her way around” it she happens to have to put her fingers in everything or lift it to her nose to know what it is.
And gee, how did she know when her cup was becoming full? By resting her finger just inside the edge of it and slowly adding tea until it warmed her finger to the point that she knew from NINE FUCKING YEARS of experience that it was full enough? No idea. Because, like I said, it feels like zero fucking research was put into this thanks to the utter lack of detail.
Oh, and the offensive incorporation of bullshit myths about blindness.
For instance, blindness does not grant you compensatory powers. You don’t lose your sight and gain super-hearing or the nose of a bloodhound. What does happen is that you learn to pay better attention to your other senses. You don’t grow scent receptors.
BUT ACCORDING TO THIS AUTHOR YOU DO:
“You’ve been out earlier this evening,” she said. It wasn’t a question, more of a random statement…”I would wager you attended an early soiree or perhaps a dinner party.”
“How did you know?”
“I can smell perfume on you, a couple of varieties as well as scented waters for hair rinses. Decidedly feminine smells so it seems logical that perhaps you’d danced tonight.”
“I did dance a few times tonight.”
Hours after he left a party. And she can smell the scented waters for hair rinses the women who he danced with used hours earlier in the day?
Fuck this book. I’m out.