Cover Image: Ruined


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Member Reviews

My thanks to NetGalley and First Second Books for an eARC copy of this book to read and review.

I cut my romance reading teeth on Regency romances when I was in high school. I'm talking the older Signet and Zebra romances, when the MC H and h were portrayed on the covers of the books fully clothed, where the most heat would be a few kisses and historical accuracy re: how they would dress, speak and the mores of the time were fully integrated into the fabric of the story. I read them so much I would start to speak in the cadence and use those words in everyday speech. I had friends who read these books with me, so while I was somewhat influenced by the books, it wasn't in a bad way and we shared the passion.

So I was beyond excited to see this being offered on NetGalley. A Regency romance graphic novel?!? GIMME!!!

And then I got to 5% of the way into the book and DNF. I did flip a few more pages into it and oh my goodness NO!!!

If you want ANYthing even CLOSE to resembling historical accuracy, do NOT pick this up. My major beefs with this book, by 5% of the way in.

MC h was getting married at 27 years old due to a scandal where she was caught with her lover in the garden or some such. He abandoned her, she ended up with a poor lord who needed her dowry to fix up his estate. Her sister was PISSED she wasn't getting married for love. MC h was like, "I turned down multiple marriage offers before the scandal because they only wanted me for my money. I had to get married now to avoid the scandal that would have tainted the entire family." This sister, who was old enough to know better was still furious. First of all, at 27, she was an ape-leader, beyond any prayer of marriage until this happened. Back then, as icky as it may seem to our modern sensibilities, the well-to-do women wed in their late teens early twenties, as quickly and as well off as they could. Getting married wasn't for love, it was for money, power, a title. Or due to a scandal as is the case here, but it was done YOUNG. And her sister and family would have understood that.

At the reception after the ceremony, the MC h's parents and she were out in the open talking, anyone could have heard them. The father BRINGS UP THE TOPIC OF THE SCANDAL and his daughter says something and he says something along the lines of, "Your mother and I canoodled months before our wedding." Then the mom says to her daughter that she was lucky and married a dish of cream and that she was going to be unwrapping a great present later that night.

No. Absolutely NOT. Neither of them would have spoken to their daughter in that way and IF they would, which they wouldn't, it wouldn't have been in public where ANYone could have overheard them!!

That is the point where I just flipped pages while trying to fight the urge to fling my reading device across the room and then I came to the FULL FRONTAL NUDITY of the MC H as he and the MC h were to engage in marital activities and then she stops him and admits she had a lover and wasn't a virgin and couldn't have sex with a man she didn't love and she couldn't love a man who didn't love her. And he was completely cool with the fact that she wasn't a virgin.

blink blink blink

Excuse me, what? How is that even CLOSE to how they would have spoken and reacted in that time??! She would have laid back and thought of England while he did his duty and that would have been the end of it!!

Ironically, they weren't historically accurate AT ALL about mores, speech, etc., but they SURE did make sure they drew hair under the arms of the MC h and that they showed the genital hair of BOTH of them.

Now, none of this might bother someone who isn't into historical accuracy and yeah, I'm sure the Regencies I read weren't 100% accurate, but they were a HECK of a lot closer than this could ever hope to be. Also, some people might be into seeing pictures of a semi-decently drawn couple get busy, but I am not one of them.

This book made me very angry and I disliked it greatly. I wouldn't recommend it, but if someone wanted to read it I wouldn't stop them.

1, this has the honor of being my first one star book of 2024, star.

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Thanks NetGalley and First Second Books for this arc

4/5 stars

This was a sweet and light Regency romance. A quick read, this is perfect for when you just need something a little cute with low stakes for entertainment (ie for everyone working retail over the holiday craziness lol). This has a good story, engaging without being stressful. Perfect for Bridgerton fans!

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This was such a fun and sweet historical romance! This was simple, straightforward, and heartfelt, and would be perfect for anyone who is wondering if the next season of Bridgerton will ever come out... I hadn't read a graphic novel historical romance before, and I really enjoyed this one. I will say I wasn't expecting the explicit sex scene, so I think this could use more warnings - something about the art style misled me to think this would be more YA / fade to black style. There were also a couple moments where it wasn't clear who was talking or it felt like there were some pages or panels missing? The plot begins with a marriage of convenience, and I liked how our main characters follow a friends-to-lovers arc and each have their own personal conflicts to face when it comes to their families, reputations, and money. The ending in particular was really sweet. More historical romance graphic novels, please!

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We have a lovely regency-era romance with a whole lot of "Pride & Prejudice" and "Bridgerton" feels!
Marriage of convenience.
MMC never meant to inherit.
"Ruined" FMC.
LGBTQ+ characters who seem to be accepted without question or judgement.

Ruined is a cosy, soft graphic novel, sure to leave you with a smile and a longing for more graphic novels about the group of characters you’ve met throughout this one. I loved how we could see others come to terms with their wishes and dreams and the limitations of having or not having the "right" place in society or the right "title" or "funds".
I enjoyed reading and disappearing in this era, It gives you hope and dreams and leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy.

I must say that I was surprised by the amount of nakedness. I had suspected some "delicately placed nudeness" but not the full on "pornographic" nakedness. Loved it. It surprised me but I loved it.

Also, who invented that woman have to shave their armpits, legs, etc...
I mean, I just loved the pureness of this comic and I have been wondering ever since....

The publisher kindly provided this arc through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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This was a wonderful graphic novel. It gave me gorgeous art, a compelling storyline, and it pulled out my emotions as I read it. I was invested in the characters and their story. You get to see the lives of the main characters but also get peeks into the lives of their family and the help. This was a turbulent love story, but I loved reading it.

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Ruined is a Regency-era romance with a nice graphic art style. While it manages to encapsulate the overall "vibes" of Bridgerton and other Regency-era pieces, it falls short at story telling. The characters and romance weren't engaging, if anything, the side characters were more interesting than the main couple!

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I recommend Ruined for fans of Bridgerton who are looking for the same type of modernized historical aesthetic and steamy content.

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Sarah Vaughn and Sarah Winifred Searle? Yes, please! Both of these comics creators working together on the same story is perfection. The art perfectly matches the story, both in pacing/feel and character interpretation. Just lovely.

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I enjoyed this graphic novel and found it rather charming. It reminded me a little bit of Bridgerton but for a younger audience. A very sweet story and beautiful illustrations.

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What a lovely romance story! I enjoyed the sweet unfolding between Mr. and Mrs. Davener. The side characters were enjoyable, too!

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The basic plot of this book was really cute. It gave Mr. Darcy meets a marriage of convenience. The romantic scenes of the second half of the book were really cute, especially whenever they consoled each other. I also thought the ending was really sweet!

I guess my issue with this book was how disjointed it felt. I really didn’t like the gossipy dialogue that Catherine overheads, because it’s not clear that it’s by random characters. I also thought that the jumping from the main plot to Mary’s plot to Lee’s plot didn’t flow that well. I think the jumpiest moment was when I just flipped the page on page 69 and was not expecting that since there was literally no lead up to it (iykyk).

I also think there were multiple moments that we were supposed to be able to read Catherine or Andrew’s thoughts and I just wasn’t able to. Like those random flashbacks didn’t really make any sense and felt very out of place until many pages later with more context.

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A very sweet historical romance in the style of Bridgerton show, which is to say Black and queer people are as much of society as they are now. I love Sarah Winiferd Searle's soft lines and round characters. A lot of understanding the characters through their reactions and they are finely drawn to at to the story. I thought the writing overall was slight on plot and a bit slow moving. The supporting characters get a bit of a character arc. Also, this is a graphic novel for adults and there is nudity and sex.

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I really enjoyed this graphic novel. I loved that it was a time piece and loved the costumes. It was easy to read and visually pleasing. The story was good too, and I was hooked wanting to know what would happen next. I love marriage of convenience and this novel gave me the opportunity to experience it a different way and it was great. I wasn’t super crazy about how the ending played out but love that they got there. Overall. I would read something similar to this again, in plot, style and visual.

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This was a really seeet story! I loved seeing them fall in love, especially his realization of what love is.

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Ruined is a regency-era graphic novel romance. The story follows a marriage of convenience between Andrew, a landholder who needs money, and Catherine, a wealthy woman whose reputation has been ruined. Their story does move along in a standard manner to the genre. The two begin without knowing a lot about each other, they begin to explore each other, and then complications ensue. The story does go through the third act break up, which I expected based on the style, but I did think it needed more lead-up, so it seems less out of the blue.

The story could have been spread out into a series as there are tons of subplots in addition to the main romance. Andrew’s sister is agoraphobic, there is a rough history with Andrew’s family, some romance for Catherine’s sister, plus other secondary characters all have their own elements in the various subplots. Together it made too much complexity for the novel. There was too much going on at a given time, so I do wish that the story narrowed the focus. The main plot with the romance and the backstories of the characters needed more time. As-is, there are still some unanswered questions for the characters. The artistry is nicely done as it depicts the emotions and a new layer of understanding for the characters. Overall, this story had a lot of potential and I loved the idea of the story in graphic novel form, but it did not quite become a perfect read for me.

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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Included as a top pick in weekly November New Releases post, which highlights and promotes upcoming releases of the month (link attached)

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“Ruined” invites readers into a Bridgerton-esque period romance, serving up a delightful concoction for fans of historical dramas, particularly those who relish the charm of “marriage of convenience” tropes.

If you’re a sucker for the elegance and societal intricacies of period dramas, this graphic novel might just be your cup of tea. The narrative weaves a tale of romance set against the backdrop of a bygone era, echoing the allure of Regency romance akin to the beloved Bridgerton series.

However, let’s talk about the artwork. While “Ruined” captures the essence of the story adequately, it falls short in terms of vibrancy and sophistication. The illustrations may come off as a bit amateurish, lacking the polished finesse seen in other graphic novels. If you’re accustomed to more visually striking artwork, this might be a bit of a letdown.

Yet, “Ruined” has its own charm, especially if you’re in the mood for a sweet and simple read. It might not boast the most vibrant visuals, but the story’s heartwarming elements and classic romance themes make it a comfortable, easy-going choice for a cozy afternoon.

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Not a big fan of the art style and it distracted me enough to take away from the enjoyment of the story. A sweet enough story as is, but maybe these types of regency romances belong better in written word.

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Andrew and Catherine enter an arranged marriage in regency era England in this romantic graphic novel. They both carry their own luggage and have a past that haunts them, but slowly they develop a connection, physical at first and emotional afterwards.
I enjoyed reading this novel, it was quite easy to follow. I’m not a big fan of the art style (it felt sloppy sometimes) and the story was kind of cliché, which is not always a bad thing (chiché is cliché for a reason after all). It’s a book I’d read again, but it was a pleasant company to have at night.

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I LOVED the idea of a regency graphic novel, and it was such a fun read. Light and quick and contained good leads and great supporting characters. But while I loved the story, I wish it had more room to breath. The setup was so intriguing, and I wanted more of the middle of this couple in a marriage of convenience learning how to act around each other and slowly find their footing. The beginning and the end were great, but I could have read pages and pages of more of the middle of their relationship. I guess that's the main issue - you'll read it and want more, because the potential is all there.

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