Reviewed by Lori Perkins
Ruined by Sarah Vaughn, Sarah Winifred Smith, Niki Smith
I received an advance copy of this exquisitely printed graphic novel in book form when I attended New York Comic Con in October. It was destined for publication in November, which was just in time for holiday gift-giving, but I didn’t have an opportunity to actually read it until the Christmas break, when I had planned to dive into my TBR list of Spare, Julia and My Name is Barbara.
I grabbed Ruined first because I was genuinely interested in how this gorgeously illustrated historical romance, which had explicit sex scenes (which reminded me of the French graphic novels of the 70’s and 80’s which I collected – there is a French illustrated Story of O) was going to read. The P.R. for the book touted it as a kind of graphic novel Bridgerton, which is certainly one way of describing it, but it is actually quite a lot more than that.
I read the entire 320-page book in one sitting, and when I was done, I wished there was more, or a volume 2, so you can see that it worked for me. I was totally enveloped by the story and the imagery, which is what a book like this is supposed to do.
The basic plot is a marriage of convenience between a wealthy almost-spinster of a tarnished reputation and an impoverished member of the upper class who has a family estate in disrepair and his own spinster sister he must care for. They both have broken hearts and feel unlovable, so their vulnerability and true inner goodness wins out and there is a very pleasing happy ending in all senses of the words.
The book is beautifully printed with lovely interior endpapers and interior illustrations. The book took eight years to come to fruition, so I hope it does fabulously well and that the team that put it together is already under contract for another.
Needless to say, it is also a great gift for a romance-loving reader.