The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James. Audiobook.
Too-bored-to-write-a synopsis: Newlywed earl behaves badly, is thrown out by his wife, becomes a freaking pirate.
I might have thought more highly of this if I’d read it instead of listening to it, because it was simply an excruciating audio. Not that the narration was bad — though Duerden seems to recycle voices a lot — but there was a long period of major suspense interspersed with descriptions of nothing actually happening that made me want to claw my face off. (Since I mostly switched to ebooks, I’d forgotten how much of a read-aheader I used to be.) However, I suspect that even if I’d read this, it would have seemed like a hot mess.
I did think there was a lot of genuine feeling to it — listening might have intensified that aspect — but after so much torment, I demand considerably more resolution and satisfaction. The hero was selfish and unthinkingly cruel; some could be excused on the basis of his youth and bereavement, but when he returned supposedly mature and continued being an utter asshole, I was not a happy reader. The story became about how rigid and stuffy his wife had become in his absence, which could have been an interesting side issue but as the primary conflict was just offensive.