Historical romance was what first brought me into reading romance so I have a special place in my reading heart for the genre. Add in the element of it also including an interracial couple and I am all for giving it a try. ZOE being an interracial historical romance is definitely a story that would catch my attention. However, I have to admit that I didn't love the story as much as I had anticipated.
The biggest problem that I had with ZOE is the dubious and coerced consent between Zoe and La Roque. La Roque is an older and much more worldly man while Zoe is inexperienced and most definitely in a position that would put her at the mercy of La Roque's whims. La Roque takes full advantage of his higher station and willfully and earnestly runs roughshod over Zoe. He overwhelms Zoe the first night that she is under his roof and she honestly doesn't stand a chance against him. Zoe has no defenses against him. Yes, she could have fought back harder and made demands of him but in her position as a mulatto woman with no power, no protector other than her father who isn't even there at the time, her choices were limited. Zoe knows that her future prospects will be few and far between so it wasn't a huge surprise when she makes some of the decisions that she made.
I would have probably enjoyed ZOE more if there were a better sense of La Roque not only desiring Zoe physically but appreciating her as a person as well. Yes, La Roque had a somewhat shaky reason for not wanting to love a woman; but him wanting so much from Zoe and offering so little in return just wasn't enjoyable for me. It seems as though all of their physical interactions were at Zoe's expense and there was no real sense of romance to me. Also, with Zoe being as innocent as she was I found her first sexual encounter with La Roque to be a bit far fetched. I can't imagine a young woman during this era embracing and accepting so calmly and robustly what La Roque does to her.
My dislike of La Roque is more than likely why I couldn't enjoy the story as much as I wanted. The relationship between Zoe and her sister Marianne is sweet and realistic with jealousies and insecurities on both girl's parts. Their relationship is probably my favorite part of the story. Despite their differences in station and futures they loved each other even when being connected to the same man could have split them. All in all ZOE was a pretty good read for me. I am a fan of Sienna Mynx (T.A. Ford) so I am a little surprised that I didn't enjoy this one more but I will continue on working my way through her list of stories.
I read this as a buddy read with a few fellow bloggers and you can read their reviews of ZOE via the links below!
Marcia at Bookswagger
Sharonda at Brazen Book Babes
Patrice at Musing of an IR Junkie
A Cinderella fairytale for all time, Zoe takes the reader beyond color and shares the true nature of humanity and passion in a page-turning tale that will keep you reading-and believing that true love knows no bounds.