I swear that "Whitney, My Love" could be taught in college about gas lighting, physical and verbal abuse. I know this book is considered a romance favorite in romance land, but it wasn't until I was in my 20s and coming out of a terrible relationship, that I went back and re-read this book and realized why even though I loved it in my teens, I still felt like something was off with this.
"Whitney, My Love" is about the romance (I saw with a sigh) between Whitney Stone and Clayton Westmoreland, the Duke of Claymore. Clayton decides he wants Whitney, and goes about obtaining her. Whitney, rightfully so, pushes back against her father and Clayton trying to decide her future for her.
The walls come tumbling down when Clayton does something vicious to Whitney. And Whitney, who should hate Clayton for the rest of her days decides he did what he did cause he loved her. She goes about making him want her again and in a painful scene that I still hate to this day, makes her go/beg him to take her back. You would think things would be great, well you would be wrong. Because Clayton finds a note, refuses to speak to Whitney about it, judges and punishes her and she rightfully runs away from his terrible ass. Clayton of course suffers and figures out where she is and somehow Whitney apologizes to him again! I can't with this book.
We have Clayton beating Whitney, raping her at one point, and just being terrible to her anytime he thinks she did wrong. Whitney I liked at first since she fights back against Clayton, but then she totally changes when she "gets" him and they get married. I missed the fiery Whitney we were shown in the first part of the book.
I have two versions of "Whitney, My Love". The older version without the softening of the pivotal scene between Clayton and Whitney and original ending. The second version has the changed scenes between them as well as a new ending which has Whitney giving birth to her and Clayton's son and reading a letter from Jennifer Westmoreland, the first Duke of Claymore's wife.
At the time when I read this (in my teens) I think I was all starry eyed over this book. Reading it in my 20s made me go hmm and now in my 30s I am just straight up appalled. I love romance books, but this one right here makes me want to scream. I ended up re-reading one of my favorite Julie Garwood books after this one to wipe the taste out of my mouth. I think the reason why I always loved Garwood's historical romances, she didn't have rape happening between the hero and heroines in her books. Or not the ones I read at least. The women were fierce and could fight just as well as the men and often saved themselves "The Lion's Lady" "Gentle Warrior" "Guardian Angel", "The Gift", and "Castles" to just name a few of them.