This time, the Mills and Boon cover is so much better than the HP cover. Lookit the heroine all held eAnother day, another revenge plot to be hatched.
This time, the Mills and Boon cover is so much better than the HP cover. Lookit the heroine all held enthralled by the guy, and looking like she could pass for a giraffe with that long neck. Seriously, her neck is the same length as his entire head.
In-Depth Summary All kidding aside, one has to seriously admire Sally Wentworth for her revenge plots, and this one was no less a doozy. At the start of the book, Abby is just getting off from a play that has totally tanked. She's approached by a posh-looking older man (Charles) who proposes corporate espionage on a totally unscrupulous man (Lance, our hero), who's the rat of the highest order and has done something terrible to his daughter, but Charles won't speak in detail. The pay is terrifically awesome, 1000 pounds for one week's work and 1000 pounds for wardrobe to match, plus additional expenses...and you figure that the amount is worth twice that now.
Abby negates this suspicious-sounding work (she's no fool) and goes off to her own life and auditions for work actress gigs. Over the next few weeks, however, she's getting no hits and one gig was even cancelled right when she thought she had gotten it. When Charles meets up with her again, she reluctantly goes with him to see his daughter, now bedridden at a clinic because of drugs and apparently apathetic to the world. When Abby sees this evidence of Lance's cruelty, she agrees to corporate espionage on this unethical businessman.
First, she arranges with Charles a sighting visit to look over Lance, which happens at a stockholder meeting in which she wears a hat and glasses. Then, she arranges to meet him subtle-like, you see, at a silver auction, since Lance collects silver. She happens to bump into him and mistakes him for one of the auctioneers there. They make small talk, she bids on a bracelet (funded by Charles to uphold her rich background story), he asks her out that evening but she turns him down b/c she has plans. They then meet again at an opera (another of Lance's hobbies) with Abby's good-looking actor friend, Ross, decked out in a rented suit to play Abby's boyfriend. They laugh until Ross, notified of the gig, sees Lance and Abby then lets down her hair, literally, and Lance is taken aback by the sight of Abby's beautiful locks, so like his dead fiancee's.
He makes a dead set for Abby, but she's still playing it cool, and she sees she has aroused his predator instincts when she sees his car parked outside her flat on nights she has "dates" with Ross.
Eventually, they start "seeing" each other, and Charles is ecstatic, giving her a bugged fountain pen to give Lance as a gift. Charles gradually ups the ante, but giving her sticker bugs to place in Lance's apartment and office. Eventually Lance is involved in a takeover deal and Charles wants details, so Abby has to find ways inside Lance's office and look for the files. All this time, Lance is seemingly falling for Abby, and Abby is getting more and more frazzled as Lance showers her with gifts and eventually proposes to her. She wants out of the gig, but Charles then informs her she was acting illegally with the bugging devices.
(view spoiler)[ Then, one day when Abby goes to Lance's flat (Lance is conveniently out of town) using the key he has given her and opens his safe with the code he conveniently told her the day before to access the files that he has been haphazardly placing around her (only she didn't know -- she kept going straight for the safe), the SHOWDOWN occurs. (You knew this was coming; this is why it's an HP.) Lance opens the door. It turns out that he wasn't out of town after all. It was all a trick, because he's known since the pen she gave him. Also, Charles is kind of an idiot because apparently Abby wasn't even the first actress that looked like his dead fiancee he's tried to sic on Lance.
At this point, he's so enraged that he's bound and determined to have her. It is a frantic scene, because rape seems incredibly imminent. Lance even slaps her across the face at one point. They're tussling on the bed (the safe is conveniently in his bedroom and not in his study), and she's so panicked that she reaches for an ashtray and hurls it at him, and the sharp edge of it hits him across the temple. (Somehow, in romance novels, the hero always gets hit like this, glanced across the skin of the head. The bad guys get it full in the face and dies conveniently.) Abby is so freaked out that she runs out of the flat, not taking her bag but conveniently taking his car keys.
Oh, did I mention it? His dead fiancee took his car on a joyride and crashed. She tears out of the building and then decides to head to the clinic to see Charles's daughter. Lance, in his fury, accused Abby of sleeping with Charles and told her Charles wasn't even married. When she emerges, Lance takes her back to the apartment (he had borrowed his neighbor's Jag), and she knows now that the girl wasn't even Charles's relation.
Back at the flat, Abby dully informs Lance of her complicity and takes out the parcel she had for him, in which she warned him to leave the country before he's jailed, and all the expensive jewelry he's given her. And it was quite a hoard too. He forgives her because he's been falling for her anyway (nothing to do with the fact she could be a double for his dead fiancee), and THE END. (hide spoiler)]
Notes This book is the reason that I like these old Harlequins. Crazy action-packed plot aside, the lack of a male perspective is actually quite refreshing, because you know they're going to end up together...the mystery is dissecting the moment in which you think the hero has fallen for the heroine. It's like a mystery novel, really.
I think that's the allure of these old-time books. That's the beauty of Austen's books, the attraction of Jane Eyre, the guilty pleasure behind Georgette Heyer. There are oh-so-few moments where the hero expresses his love and the few that there are, are interspersed with glints of coldness or amusement the heroine sees in his face. Is he or is he really falling for her? It's all a mystery. Like in real life, I suppose. You can't know what the other person is thinking. And when you have such few moments of true affectionate candor, those moments can be pored over at length and given more depth than they would otherwise have in a book in which the guy is gaga over the girl from the beginning.
That's why there are entire websites dedicated to Betty Neels. I've read her books before and am not a fan. But the small moments in which the hero thinks to himself, hmm, she's got fine eyes. How is that any different from that moment readers love in Pride and Prejudice? There's no other outward sign of anything. Does he even know she's alive? That living on the edge of the emotional unknown is what is tantalizing about these older books.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This book is the reason that I feel like Charlotte Lamb writes a lot like Sally Wentworth. The way that she writes is very...matter-of-fact, somehow,This book is the reason that I feel like Charlotte Lamb writes a lot like Sally Wentworth. The way that she writes is very...matter-of-fact, somehow, and the writing is not excessively weighed down by unnecessary descriptions of feelings and minute details. Later on in her books, I think Charlotte Lamb puts in some third-person omniscient generalizations that I find amusing when I read, such as "she ordered her around quite naturally, but it was because she was her older sister and had gotten into the habit of it." I wondered if Charlotte Lamb had an older sister, because I noticed this "older sister" business popping up in several of her books.
Some of the reviews on here say that they didn't think Charlotte Lamb had it in her, but honestly, reading a lot of her older ones, I feel like this woman can write just as crazy as the vintage authors. Take Seduction, for example. That book had pseudo-incest and the daughter runs away from her stepfather, only to be tracked down and tricked by the hero's friend and becoming a prisoner in his apartment. I mean, literally. She locks herself in that room, and there he is, picking at the lock in order to try to get in and assuage his fantastic lust-o-mania for her. It's craziness! Or Vampire Lover, which was a newer one, but also chock full of old-time crazies, where the woman is certain that the hero is a lover with vampire-like abilities (what? in an HP?) and waiting to suck her younger sister dry. So she tricks him into viewing this house, and then she handcuffs him to the bed "just until her sister has left the country." But then at one point, she gets on top of him and arouses him to no end and then suddenly leaves the poor bedeviled guy. Ridiculousness!
So, this book is sort of beautifully written at the beginning. Linden has grown up sort of set aside from the world, as she was raised in a convent and only been allowed to live with her recluse father, who basically hates all people, because she's still a child. The beautiful part was one description of her day, and even though it should have been inutterably boring, as she really does nothing, she goes and lies in the field and watches a butterfly flitting around. But somehow, there was a sort of beauty and simplicity in that part, and in how young she was, and she was quite content to stay in that role.
A lot of the reviews hated this crazy heroine, but I felt for her, because she really had no problem with not growing up. She was truly content with herself and living with her father in a sort of weird, hermit-surroundings, and at 17, she's not ready to grow up either. But the guy obviously has his eyes on her and sort of forces her to recognize him as a man. I find this so terrible, as he is married at the time. Of course, it makes it seem all better when it's explained that his wife is a cripple and he can't marry Linden even though he wants to, yadda yadda yadda. Oh, spare me. Then keep your pants on, sonny! So he leaves the day after he basically corners her swimming in the nearby secluded lake and has his way with her. She's totally in love with him, obviously, being 17 and made to fall in love with him, and completely devastated, to the point she tries to commit suicide and is only rescued by her father, who's then jerked out of his antisocial regime.
After this (and I am a huge fan of how old skool books do segue, because it's done so subtly and beautifully that you don't even realize you've been transitioned, in the span of a couple of lines, into a new time), she goes off to school in London, and one day she sees that same car Joss was driving and nearly passes out. Turns out, it belongs to some young stud; they start dating, and it's pretty great until she goes home with him for the holidays one day and finds out that Joss is the young stud's father and is drinking himself to an early grave. Oh, yes, and he also lied about his name. He's Sir Joshua.
Linden is every bit as shocked as Sir Josh is, and would be devastated had she not noticed his reaction. So then she begins to "torture" this poor sob, but unlike other reviewers, I am totally on her side. I mean, the girl was 17 when he used his wiles to attract her, sleep with her, and then take off. What kind of a sick @#$% does something like that, intentionally! when he knows he can't offer her a future? The girl tried to swim away and is trying to escape him, but he's just so overtaken by her nekkedness that he overpowers her.
I mean, I find his actions totally irresponsible and reprehensible. Like, he does this AFTER he has stayed with them for a while and knows her situation and knows she grew up in a convent. And she certainly wasn't heading off to local pubs and dancing on tabletops in a slinky top either. What if she had gotten pregnant? I mean, young girls are so impressionable, they really are. It's one thing to mutually fall in love with some young guy, who's just as unknowing as you are, but it's another to be made to fall in love with a guy twice your age, who's been around the block, and I'm sorry -- does this ON PURPOSE to "awaken her." Like he's so happy in his life he feels like he can jolt her into really "living"?
This is terrible to me, and for me, I felt her "torture" of him was totally reasonable, and the book is only good because he actually does love her (in his clearly selfish way) -- even though I find this a bit grossish as well because of how old he was when he met her. Because what was not to like about Linden? Anyone who was anyone would be enchanted by her, so what makes him so special?? She was just a really calm, sweet, fun and considerate young girl who's somehow also a bit old for her age just because she's always been with older people. Like a person who's innocent in the world, but content in her life, and not self-righteous at all. But in no way a doormat. Any guy would have liked her. I would have wanted to be her friend. I actually really wanted her to end up with the son, and they both agreed at the end that if she hadn't met Joss first, she could have been happy with the son.
In HP land, the book is quite satisfying. But in real life, were I any sort of relation to this young girl, I would pummel the hell out of Joss (seriously, I would devise worse than what she did) and advise her to go for the son, who was also just head over heels gaga for her, and honestly, not that bad of a catch. So at the end, I feel like Joss ended up getting what he wanted (her) and she got, what, an old fogie with a drinking problem. Yay for Linden.
As for the "revenge" bit...well, I would have wanted a lot more torture and for a lot longer as well. Sorry. People need to take responsibility for their actions. That rat bastard....more
On the quest for vengeful females, one cannot overlook the most vengeful scorned woman of all time: Medea.
I read this as required reading in high schoOn the quest for vengeful females, one cannot overlook the most vengeful scorned woman of all time: Medea.
I read this as required reading in high school; the English lit teachers in my program had an affinity for feminist literature, thus lots of Sylvia Plath and Adrienne Rich. And of course, my favorite, Medea.
At that time, I read Medea in one go, and one could not but be touched by the emotions Medea undergoes, the stages of grief. Alas for humanity, acceptance of her fate comes at a terrible and homicidal cost.
This version definitely isn't the one I read in high school, but I found the foreword very interesting. Medea has apparently been utilized to further misogynistic theories, and the foreword would not have been borne by my feminist teachers. Gilbert Murray seems to think that Medea was always a monster, and that Jason may have loved her "once," the implication being he must have been utterly fooled. He grants that Jason isn't the hero that everyone seems to think he was, but I was disturbed by the image of Medea being a monster, just because she, what, sought revenge? Revenge that would have made a man heroic had he been in the same situation. Or is revenge only heroic only when it's somehow sanctified by society? That is, when it doesn't involve the killing of children? (Note: I am not condoning the slaughter of innocent children.) Is killing of one's family member for love worse than if it's due to a drunken rage? Or is it heroic only when it is at a level equal to the perceived outrageousness of the betrayal?
Not that I think of Medea as a hero, but rather an antihero, but of course, few men would perceive her as thus. But as a person who had a goal to attain, one cannot say she failed to attain said goal, even at the cost of her own children, because it is resoundingly clear that it was a sacrifice to kill them.
In modern cinema, there is only one simplistic route for scorned woman turned killer -- death by horrific means. But is there no punishment for those who failed to live up to their end of the bargain? Why should Jason have reaped all the benefits of being married Medea, being helped by Medea, having beautiful children, and later on, telling her, "Sorry, it's just not convenient for us to be together anymore?" It's the ancient tale of the husband attaining all he has gotten through the hard work of his wife, being put through school by his working wife, and then deciding that he wants to marry the boss's daughter.
And that's not a gender specific role anymore. I now know women who are put through school by their husbands, who sacrificed their careers to raise the children and then are abandoned by the wives. One woman who specifically was my very good friend, who married her husband at a time when her life was very crappy, who didn't love her husband, but thought it expedient. It was expedient for her, all the time she didn't have a high school diploma, when her husband supported her full-time and encouraged her to go back to school, and eventually medical school, and all the time taking care of the kids full-time, and even relocating so that she could be closer to her school. He did it not because he wanted her to be a doctor; he did it because he loved her, because that was her dream, and so he wanted it to be his dream. I knew just how crappy her life was at the time they got married; she told me in detail of her upbringing that she would play a game with her younger brother, where they imagined a big refrigerator and filled it up with imaginary food that they wanted to eat. This they played at night when they couldn't sleep on an empty stomach. She is a survivor, definitely. But people are seldom selfless; she married him when it was expedient, and when it was no longer expedient, she regretted her decision. People always regret their decisions, but that is only in hindsight, because later, you are in possession of information and decisions which were not available at the time. At the time, however, nobody makes decisions that are detrimental to them. Regrets, then, are an exercise in futility.
In my mind, this play is a big holla to those people who are thrown away when they are no longer expedient. A sort of Quent Tarantino form of excessive revenge. But a much more beautiful version in rhythmic form....more
On my "revenge by heroine" HP book search, I came across this book. It looked right up my alley, despite the fact thI hate this book so freakin' much.
On my "revenge by heroine" HP book search, I came across this book. It looked right up my alley, despite the fact that it's a "newer" HP, rather than being vintage (70s-90s, which is what I prefer). The heroine hates her father, with good reasons (he's an a-hole), and now that she's a rich self-made woman who owns her own IT software firm, she's going to ruin him but good. She's going to ruin his company, except the H is standing in the way, and despite a meeting to request that he step aside and refuse to fund the father's ailing business, he refuses. Damn him. So, the only thing to do is to kidnap the man on the day he's supposed to do something important, vote on something or sign something, and voila! Problem solved.
That sounds fun, right?
Except I hate how it was written. Chapter 1 opens up with a small useless encounter/blurb of the h/H one year ago when they bump into each other at a party. Somehow the H notices the girl and how she trembles and looks out of place in a (I'm supposing) mannish t-shirt inside a dress suit while everyone's wearing sequins. He catches her arm just when she's about to trip, they have a "moment," she disappears.
The next scene opens up with her appearing at his office, asking him to step aside. She's again, "trembling" in his presence. Again, he's wondering if she's a lesbian.
Excessive Male Perspective So That He Seems to be the Heroine There are several reasons that I hate this writing, and most of it is due to the times we live in. Cryptic, I know. It's now a "thing" for romance novels to get the male perspective. Some authors do it really well. Some go way overboard. Naturally, most women (I hope) realize that there's no way in hell romance novel males are anything like their real-life counterpart. No man thinks about that much undertones and nuances of stuff going around beneath the surface. Yes, even the girly men. But it's a big movement in romance to have the guy's minute perspective on every moment that sweeps by, the flutter of the girl's eyelashes, the slight shakiness as she pushes her hair back, the tremble of her lips...etc. Tedious. Absolutely tedious to me. I really don't need the guy's every emotion and thought spelled out for me, what he's thinking when she's looking at him with those big pansy eyes, biting her lip, blinking away like a candle in the wind. Furthermore, I just don't believe that people are all that invested in that "first" moment. And in that first moment, if you've noticed that someone's a lesbian, and you're a horny sort of male, you're not really going to notice her trembling, unless you're thinking that she's on drugs or something. I don't know. It's too overdramatic and tedious. Yes, I'm being redundant, but that's how this book felt to me. REPETITIVE. I read the word "tremble" about five times before I started to skim the book. I couldn't take it anymore.
Heroine With Muscle Deterioration Another thing is: why the hell is the heroine trembling so much? Did she, or did she not freaking build her own company from the ground up and is now a cold, ruthless businesswoman? Is she or is she not planning a monumental revenge on her @#$% father? Then, why is she trembling all over the place like a frightened chihuahua? GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF, WOMAN! (<-- That really was what I wanted to shout at the heroine.)
Excessive, Tedious, Redundant, Redundant, Redundant Descriptions Lastly, and this is an offshoot of the first reason. Excessive description. I know not everyone agrees with me on this, but I admire older HP writers, first, because they churn out these books like crazy, and some of them, even when I read them ten years later, still work as literary fiction (not exalted literary fiction, but an entertaining, enjoyable and smooth read). I recently discovered Anne Hampson, and that woman's books don't feel dated at all. They're fast-moving, and each line makes you want to read ahead to the next line. This book made me feel like I was wading in mud. No, quicksand. There were so many adjectives and adverbs that I felt like this author had never heard of Stephen King's "beware the adverb" motto. And yet, her verb usage was banal. Lots of "went" and "thought" and repetitive, unnecessary motion described. All the thoughts were endlessly detailed by the author spelling them out for you. Instead of "what was going on?" it was "she wondered what was happening."
Sorry to all those people who like this author's books. They're not for me.
Edit: More stuff that annoyed me. The girl in the book was supposed to be a "lesbian" looking girl with short hair. What the hell is she doing with long, flowing, takes-three-years-to-grow locks? And that shaggy guy in the back? I can't buy that he owns his own company AT ALL. He looks like he's more interested in where his next beer is coming from.
Another thing: the absolute BEST part of the book would have been the heroine plotting how to get what she wanted, ie, kidnapping the dude. It was completely glossed over. The guy woke up, and he was in this other plane, landing he knew-not-where. Where are my plotting details??? If it were that easy to kidnap and move a 6'4 construction worker muscle man, I want to know details! STUPID BOOK....more
I am always on the lookout for a good retelling. For a debut novel, this author shows promise. But I still didn't like the book.
First, the good.
The woI am always on the lookout for a good retelling. For a debut novel, this author shows promise. But I still didn't like the book.
First, the good.
The work of an author that does her homework before embarking on the magical journey of storytelling always shines through. The author clearly spent a lot of time thinking about her magical world and she even knows quite a bit of Greek mythology, aside from the mundane that everyone knows, growing up in the Western Hemisphere. (Seriously, isn't it sad how we know everything there is to know about history, that is, Roman and Greek culture (a bit on Egypt and a little bit on Alexander, because we think of him as white, of course), and then the Western world, and...that's it? US schools never teach about ancient Persia or Turkey or Mongolia or India.)
The world in this book is a cursed country that's been split off from the mainland and sealed under a parchment sky. They are all under the reign of one Gentle Lord (irony) who rules the demons that make people crazy if they look at them too long. The GL is also one sorta omniscient being who grants wishes. Sorta. He grants them in the form of bargains that never pan out right. Say, like the main character's dad. Your wife is super-duper depressed because she's barren, so you go and bargain with this god who likes to play jokes on people. He promises that your wife will bear, not a son like you requested, but twin girls, and you have to betroth one of those daughters to him 17 years later. If not, he'll take one and kill the other. If you do, he'll let the other one live. So basically, you get one daughter on loan, and he'll give you a free girl. Kind of a crappy deal, but the dad takes it, and then the wife dies in childbirth. Gee, with these sorts of deals, one wonders why people still do business with the GL.
The GL dwells in the ruins of a castle atop a hill (of course), but the castle is sort of cool. From the outside, it looks old and shabby, but the inside is immense and filled with rooms that are locked, and the rooms revolve around itself. Is there a pattern? No, and you don't need to understand how the castle works, because you'll go mad thinking about it. (I do like this sort of out. Simplistic.)
Nyx is sent there after having been trained a lifetime -- not with swords or anything, with a sort of martial art -- but not for combat, for tracing magical patterns in the air with her eyes closed. If you're hoping that she turns into some karate kid with those crappy skills, don't bother. It doesn't happen, and she loses that knife her sister gives her on the first day to the GL. Her mission: to find the four Hearts that sustain the castle, draw the hermetic patterns on the Hearts to undo the "knot" and collapse the castle on the GL and herself. Yay for the rest of humanity.
It doesn't work, of course. Because there's a weird catch. You find out there's a model of the country inside a dome in a room in the castle -- that's the country. So if the castle collapses, the entire country dies. Bah for that plan.
So the entire back story is sort of awesome, and makes me want to bump up the rating to 3 stars. I'm a fan of how the king of the land 900 years ago was the awesome King Claudius, who struck a deal with the gods to save the land from barbarians and died the entire monarchy into a deal with the devil that eventually led to the country's curse. The hermetic Hearts? Also a sort of awesomeness. Kudos for all the creativity and the Greek setting. The entire story was a sort of Bluebeard + Eros & Psyche (which is the Greek version of Beauty and the Beast). I do really like the story of Bluebeard. There's also some oddity with Nyx having to guess her husband's name every single night -- if she guesses wrong, she dies; if she guesses right, she gets her freedom. Is that a bit of Rumpelstiltskin thrown in?
The Bad What I didn't like about this story is the characters, the flow, the resolution.
First, the characters. When we're first introduced to Nyx, we get that she resents her sister for being chosen to "live." She's in between loving her sister and hating her. We get it. I like how it's not a self-righteous "I'm doing this for the good of my family and the world, o noble person that I am." However, this is repeated ad nauseum and hit over your head and then back to punch you in the guts. Enough already. Move on to explore another emotion.
There's Ignifex (the GL's pseudonym) and his Shadow that moves independently of him. (view spoiler)[They're the same person!!! This should really be obvious as THEY LOOK ALIKE. Somehow, Nyx assumes from the very beginning that they're two different people locked together, and I don't get the basis of this assumption. It's SO OBVIOUS that they're the same person, just split up. She doesn't even consider that they're the same person, which is what's annoying. (hide spoiler)] Nyx loves the Shadow, then she loves Ignifex, and then, then she's not sure. Make up your mind already. Or, might I suggest a new solution? Here's something that'll blow your mind: You don't have to be in love with anyone!
Also, Ignifex is sort of a lightweight. He's about as intimidating as a bunny. Sure, a bunny may accidentally scratch you when they're skittering across your lap. And if you're chasing the bunny through a gate, you may accidentally hit your head on the fencepost since you're not as small as the bunny. The only cool part was when he was enraged with her and locked her in the room with all his dead wives. But even that scene wasn't as cool as it should have been. When I'm told of a scary Gentle Lord who controls the demons, I want to see someone super freakin' scary, not someone who gets nauseated by darkness. C'mon!! Seriously, people.
The Shadow. At first you think he might become a main character, since he's all coming onto Nyx, who kisses him for whatever reason. This enables him to talk, which I feel is a cop out. Much more interesting if he hadn't been able to talk. And I thought his talking ability would fade out, since a kiss is like...well, doesn't that also fade. But no, he talks and at one point, he shows her the Heart of Fire, and Nyx is tortured by the fire because it's killed five of the wives before, and she thinks she's been betrayed by him, even though, durr, didn't she want to find the 4 Hearts?? I mean, she goes on at length about this "betrayal," and then the Shadow is then conveniently locked into the Pit of Demons or whatever for the length of time that it took Nyx to get it on with Ignifex. Oops, too much detail? Never mind, it's all less than fade to black. This book is very PG.
Anyway, the rest is all pretty boring. At one point, she gets to go back home, because her telling her sister that she hates her has been weighing down on her mind (what, she can't send a letter?) and so, armed with Ignifex's magical ring, she goes back, and there is persuaded to betray Ignifex. Yadda yadda yadda, she goes back and "betrays" him, which I don't even know if it's a betrayal. That whole thing was sort of weird to me, because essentially she (view spoiler)[rejoins Ignifex with his Shadow and returns them all to the day the country was cursed and sundered from the mainland and when the Last King had to past his test with the gods...which Ignifex at the time failed. (hide spoiler)]
So, yeah. In recounting the book, I have to say, I didn't like it. And good golly, I hated the romance. Some other reviewer thought the romance was too much, and I have to say I agree. It was just done so badly. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I was on a kick from the heroine gets vengeful trope, and found this book. The revenge doesn't take up but a pAgain with the revenge HP! Yes, indeedy.
I was on a kick from the heroine gets vengeful trope, and found this book. The revenge doesn't take up but a portion of the book before the heroine realizes that it's a case of mistaken identity, but as always, Sally Wentworth does a worthy corporate revenge.
Miranda is a successful corporate headhunter consultant and gets a phone call from her younger 18 y/o sister, who tearfully informs her that she's getting an abortion at one of London's clinics. Miranda rushes over there to find that it's already been performed and is enraged at the thought of a love 'em and leave 'em man who did this to her younger sister. She bribes a nurse at the front desk in order to look at her sister's file and finds that a Warren Hunter paid for the abortion by credit card.
She questions her sister only slightly on this issue, not wanting to risk hurting her sister more, and finds out that he's some owner of a computer company. She gets her company investigator to track down a Warren Hunter and finds that there indeed is such a man who is the head of a small but successful computer consultancy firm. I'm thinking it's probably software, but it's not described explicitly. She then double checks that this indeed is the man that her sister met, and then gets down to work:
Over the next few weeks, she finds jobs for people within Warren Hunter's firm, and recruits 7 of them to go work elsewhere, with them all tendering their resignation on the same day, Dec. 1. And then she decides to recruit WH's righthand man, and sets up a meeting with the antagonistic man. It falls apart, of course, because the man who meets up with her is Warren Hunter himself, not the righthand man, but Miranda isn't above embarrassing him at the restaurant, and shouts out at the end, "He's paying for the meal. By credit card. That's how he pays for the abortions of his girlfriends!" and stalks out.
And that's the end of the revenge, because WH comes back to find her and doesn't own up to defiling her sister. He vows to go up to York to find her sister, and Miranda goes along, because she doesn't want him upsetting her sister. She takes along a "portable phone" just in case something happens, and calls up her sister at a rest stop, and asks if the man she was involved with was called "Warren Hunter." But the sister replies, "How did you know!" Well, it turns out that the man was Piers Warren-Hunter (har-har) and not this man, and on the way back, they run into a blizzard and their car overturns when Miranda confesses the extent of her crime (headhunting 7 people from the same company). They find shelter, get it on under the influence of alcohol, and the next day part with some misunderstandings and head back to London.
Yadda yadda yadda, Miranda after a while decides to call it quits from her boyfriend/boss of the headhunting company, who gets angry with her and attempts rape which WH interrupts. Meanwhile, Graham (boyfriend/boss) promised a free headhunting of a sales manager and hands it over to Miranda who handles it until she's made to quit the company. WH offers her a job at his company, and she takes it given that it is temporary since she has since found out she's preggers. At some point, they're made to get married bc of the baby, but Miranda is unable to get it on with WH because of the one night they spent together, after which he woke up and looked at her and said, "Hell, no!!" in a horrified voice. Note to men: don't say this on the morning after. Guaranteed to cancel out all future nooky.
She stumbles one day on her way to get it on with WH and loses the baby. They talk and get it out of the open.
The baby-marriage plot is a common plot device in HP books, and this is the first time I've seen Sally Wentworth use it. Apparently, there's not much you can do with such a trope, but at least in this book, she utilized 2 tropes instead of one. The revenge made the book noteworthy. Now I want to see the movie, Headhunters....more
Nobody does a vengeful heroine like Sally Wentworth. I tracked down this book just to read about some awesome vengeance a la 90s style.
Zara and HeathNobody does a vengeful heroine like Sally Wentworth. I tracked down this book just to read about some awesome vengeance a la 90s style.
Zara and Heath met at a New Year's Eve party when Zara was 18, and Heath around 26, but of course Zara pretended she was older. They fall in love and the reader genuinely believes that Heath is also. Because of this, Zara is ready to forego her promising college education, even though she has very good grades in school and can get into a good program. At one point, Heath is going to go off to America (as ppl called it in the pre-PC 90s) for some advertising opportunity (he's an ad exec) and asks her to come along with him. She would throw away her entire future to follow him, and waits around for his phone call after having a humongous row with her parents on this issue. But he never calls. Like a normal 18 y/o, she mopes and broods and is completely depressed about this, and later on, she forsakes her college education entirely and goes to work and marries this other boy she grew up with but doesn't love. It turns into a disastrous marriage, with some raping(?) hinted at. We're not completely sure or care.*
*Not that rape is something to be glossed over or made fun of, just that it's not emphasized or clear, and the reader just really wants to get into some awesome revenge storytelling.
Cue present-day, and Zara is now a high-powered woman and rich owner of a very successful textile company, later named Panache. It is unbelievable until you realize that she was a general gopher in the company at first and then worked her way up when the owner was depressed over the death of his wife. Eventually, she becomes manager and then owner when the previous owner remarries and retires. She gets her chance at revenge when Heath Masterson, as owner of advertising company Masterads (get it?), bids on their project.
She then gets an idea for revenge, cue Sally Wentworth's brilliant revenge plots. Here's how it worked:
First, she planned on dangling the lucrative project in front of Masterads, but not planning on giving them the end contract, just enough to make their company suffer as a lot of their people spend time working on this project that will eventually go to another ad company. Then, Zara realizes, no, I've got a better plan. So she gives them the contract, stipulating that Heath has to be hands-on at all times, and if he can't, that the contract will be canceled. (She planned this to take him off other contracts his company would undoubtedly have.)
Next, she attempts a hostile takeover, by telephoning her stockbroker and finding out about his companyMasterads and that he's a 51% shareholder. She then attempts to find out how much stock she can buy of his company, which is owned by his relatives. But of course, at 51%, he'll always be majority stockholder.
No problem! Sally Wentworth has a way out of that. Zara then tells Heath that Panache is planning on heavy expansion and requests Masterads to handle the feasibility studies, with the understanding that the new expansion advertising will be handled by Masterads. Huge contract and incentive. However, because Zara's company will be giving them so much control over their PR, Zara wants the contract to stipulate that Panache will own 10% of Masterads' stock to ensure their continued cooperation. Heath agrees, after requesting an exchange of stock. Zara is unflustered -- she owns 100% of Panache.
While her stockbroker is busy getting her stock for her, Zara takes Heath out of country and away from his relatives contacting him to tell him about selling their stock. She buys them above the standard price. (I'm assuming that Masterads isn't publicly traded, but there should be more SEC regulations on this sort of thing anyway.) Even though Heath is getting all hot and bothered about rekindling the past with her, she flies back, leaving him in the Bahamas with their photoshoot entourage, when she hears that she now owns 55% of Masterads.
At that point, she decides to cancel the contract with Masterads, telling them that Panache doesn't want them to handle their adverts anymore, after discussing with an attorney on the stipulated "Heath must be personally available to handle the contract" clause. Meanwhile, she holds a shareholder meeting to vote Heath Masterson out of his own company (in which case, he would be unable to personally handle the contract, see?). Brilliant!
Anyway, I am a huge, HUGE fan of Sally Wentworth and how her heroines never do the run of the mill "I'll make him fall for me and then jilt him" revenge. Groan. Seriously, how full are you of yourself that you believe you can just make someone fall for you like this? Hit him where it hurts! (In his career balls.)
Not a fan of the ending, which is a bit prolonged, after she realizes that he never left her without a phone call, and that it was her parents (of course) who intercepted his calls and letters. There's some resolution to her terrors over her previous marriage, and an eventual HEA....more