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The Luckiest Lady In London - SPOILERS
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JMM



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 510

PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 10:03 pm    Post subject: The Luckiest Lady In London - SPOILERS Reply with quote

I enjoyed this book very much.

But there was ONE issue that really bugs me - Felix's (and eventually Louisa's) attitude towards his late mother.

The backstory is this - Felix's father "fell in love" with his mother, proposed to her and was rejected. Dad went to the woman's father, paid him a lot of money and the woman (hero's mother) was locked up and basically starved until she gave in.

But the hero thinks of his MOTHER as the villain and excuses his father - even when he grows up, his attitude seems to be that mommy should have just sucked it up and forgiven daddy for basically purchasing her like a horse and tearing her life apart.

Even after being forced to face his OWN bad behavior in getting Louisa to marry him (which was not nearly as bad as having her locked up and starved), he refuses to see his mother's point of view.

Even Louisa (who was rightly FURIOUS at Felix for his tactics in gaining her) seems to put the blame on his mother. When she meets the mother's former love, her thoughts are, "Could he really be the one for whose loss two generations of Wrenworth men had paid so dearly?"

I'm probably overthinking it - but it seems that Felix just ignores the tragedy of his mother by putting all his sympathy with Dad (who wasn't exactly a loving parent).
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 1693

PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I can't blame her for hating her husband she shouldn't have take it out on Felix, too. He was an innocent child caught between them and she didn't mind ruining his life too. I think she should have looked for less dramatic options, such as separation from her husband. It's true the children belonged to the father at the time but then she didn't care about Felix anyway.
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JMM



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 510

PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think her husband would have let her go. It was pretty clear he was obsessed by her.

And no, she wasn't much of a mother. But I can't put ALL the blame on her for Felix's problems.

I just don't like the unspoken idea (that many men seem to follow); if a man falls in love/lust/obsession with a woman - it's somehow her fault/responsibility.
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Lynda X



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 1477

PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think Felix realized that his determination not to follow in his father's footsteps that he was following in his mother's. Hardly surprising.

I blamed the mother for the terrible marriage entirely. She dedicated her whole life to making her husband miserable, thus insuring her own misery. But what was totally unforgivable was her telling her husband that Felix was not his. She used her son throughout her entire life only to make her husband unhappy, not caring about her son's life at all. The father was guilty of wanting this woman so badly that he negotiated for her hand and more importantly, did not love his son. He should have had the strength to separate from his wife and commit to loving his "adopted" son, but then again, we all know people who don't have the clarity of judgment or the strength to do what is best for them. Sometimes, we are these people.

I liked the book a lot because of Hoyt's spin on how we so often repeat our parents' mistakes, often with a twist.
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 1693

PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JMM wrote:
I don't think her husband would have let her go. It was pretty clear he was obsessed by her.


I think if she had been cold and indifferent with him from the start instead of playing games he would have realized at some point letting her go was the best decision.

Quote:

I just don't like the unspoken idea (that many men seem to follow); if a man falls in love/lust/obsession with a woman - it's somehow her fault/responsibility.


I didn't get the impression that it was only his mother to blame. His father had played a part, too, as well as Felix's own choices.
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Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 797
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lynda X...
Quote:
"The father was guilty of wanting this woman so badly that he negotiated for her hand and more importantly, did not love his son. He should have had the strength to separate from his wife and commit to loving his "adopted" son, but then again, we all know people who don't have the clarity of judgment or the strength to do what is best for them."


I remember feeling quite appalled that Felix's father had in essence bought a woman for marriage against her will. What else can you call it when the woman is sold by her parents against her wishes into a loveless marriage to a man that knows she doesn't want him? On top of that tragedy, we learn that Felix's mother loved another person. That part of the story paints a pretty despicable portrait of the father. Having said that the mother is characterized as clearly warped too and proceeds to use her son as a weapon in a power struggle. It was helpful having all the background prior to Felix's own attempts to marry.
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jaime



Joined: 23 Sep 2011
Posts: 528

PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought the most despicable person was the father of Felix' mother, the one who locked her up and starved her for months like some feudal lord from the Dark Ages. So no wonder Felix' mother was emotionally warped and filled with hatred. Felix' father made the big mistake of going along with this forced marriage and he paid for it dearly for the rest of his life. Ideally of course the mother shouldn't have hated Felix who was the innocent result of this disasterous union but she probably felt like she was raped and not everybody would be capable to love a child of rape. And it's quite common for parents who have a bad marriage to use their child/children as weapon against each other.

Really, given his family situation it's a wonder Felix was not more damaged.
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JMM



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 510

PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Ideally of course the mother shouldn't have hated Felix who was the innocent result of this disasterous union but she probably felt like she was raped and not everybody would be capable to love a child of rape.



THANK YOU. That's it exactly. I know that in Romancelandia, Good Women always love their offspring, but I've never bought it.
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Lynda X



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 1477

PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems that marriages within the nobility were considered more business propositions than love alliances, so it's possible that Felix's father did not realize the depth of his bride's opposition and probably her father made it very clear what behavior would be acceptable. We don't know whether Felix's father even knew at the time of the marriage the extent of duress that had been brought to bear on his fiance.

I hadn't thought of Felix as the result of rape, which as you so insightfully point out, Jaime, was probably how Felix's mother saw it. Although women often are able to overcome their aversion to the baby, it's very difficult. I believe that Felix's mother made a conscious and premeditated decision to extract the most pain possible from her husband. Remember that in the beginning, she gave the appearance of being very sweet to him.
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Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 797
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lynda X...
Quote:
"It seems that marriages within the nobility were considered more business propositions than love alliances, so it's possible that Felix's father did not realize the depth of his bride's opposition and probably her father made it very clear what behavior would be acceptable. We don't know whether Felix's father even knew at the time of the marriage the extent of duress that had been brought to bear on his fiance."


I haven't gone back to reread the early passages but on initial reading, I came away with the impression that if Felix's father didn't know he was buying an unwilling bride, he should have. I thought the book made it clear that the father was determined in his desire to have her and that his myopic determination to marry her regardless of her wishes produced many of the consequences. Clearly, the wife blames him as a component in what happened to her, and so I found her in many ways very sympathetic. Felix's treatment at her hands therefore is both understandable while at the same time tragic and horrible.
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Maggie AAR



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2501

PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blackjack1 wrote:
Clearly, the wife blames him as a component in what happened to her, and so I found her in many ways very sympathetic. Felix's treatment at her hands therefore is both understandable while at the same time tragic and horrible.


I can't imagine any circumstance under which I would find the mistreatment of a child understandable. Most child abusers have themselves been abused children. While I can certainly empathize with their past I don't think that justifies their actions in the least. Being unhappy doesn't give any of us the right to inflict our misery on others, especially not dependent children.

maggie b.
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 1693

PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JMM wrote:
Quote:
Ideally of course the mother shouldn't have hated Felix who was the innocent result of this disasterous union but she probably felt like she was raped and not everybody would be capable to love a child of rape.



THANK YOU. That's it exactly. I know that in Romancelandia, Good Women always love their offspring, but I've never bought it.


Not loving your child is one thing (it's sad, but it happens). Deliberately abusing him psychologically in order to get revenge is quite another.
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Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 797
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maggie AAR...
Quote:
"I can't imagine any circumstance under which I would find the mistreatment of a child understandable. Most child abusers have themselves been abused children. While I can certainly empathize with their past I don't think that justifies their actions in the least. Being unhappy doesn't give any of us the right to inflict our misery on others, especially not dependent children."


I don't think, however, that Thomas lets either of the parents off the hook for their mental abuse of their child, and I don't think she tried to make a case for the parents having "the right" to harm a child. I do think instead that she excels at creating three-dimensional characters with complex histories, and that none of them is easily "villains". The mother is victimized by her own parents and her husband, and that specific background is worthy of sympathy, or at least it is for me. She then in turn victimizes her child, and her actions are clearly horrible. Her child then goes on to harm his wife as well as himself, and many of his actions are not heroic. They are understandable though given what we learn in the novel about the entire background.
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 1693

PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's just a wild guess but I wonder if Felix's parents story is at least partially based on Irene and Soames from The Forsyte Saga... He's obsessed with her while she's cold (although I don't think she would have been so malicious with her child if she had one with Soames).
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carolydixon



Joined: 27 May 2009
Posts: 93

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

May I ask the name of the Author? Thanks!
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