**spoiler alert** This has been sitting in my virtual reading pile since HQN first introduced their free holiday reads program at the end of the year.**spoiler alert** This has been sitting in my virtual reading pile since HQN first introduced their free holiday reads program at the end of the year. I finished this recently and although Harlequin Presents book titles bring me into fits of giggles, I thought I'd take a looksie to see why this is the bestselling series imprint under the Harlequin name.
The blurb describes the heroine, a "self-described plain Jane" as a defiant woman and the hero set on marrying her against all odds. He banked on a bride but not a baby!
Well, I don't know what book the blurb writer was talking about 'cause it sure wasn't this one. There's a pretty interesting plotline focusing our heroine Arlene Russell trying to learn viticulture in order to care for the Northern California wine vineyard she inherited from her Great Uncle. She goes to Sardinia, Italy to study under billionaire Domenico Silvaggio d'Avalos's family vineyard. She pushes herself a little bit too much in order to prove that she can take care of herself under the watchful eyes of the hard working Domenico. Despite being a longtime bachelor, he's attracted to her and plans on indulging a little while she's there. Soon he finds himself becoming more enamored with her as he cares for her heat exhaustion then takes her to meet his (very large) family. The scenes with his family are heartwarming and we see how much Arlene (coming from a not so good family background) wishes to identify with such warmth and comfort of her own.
Domenico, being the huge billionaire he is, wines and dines Arlene across Europe as he takes her to extravagant bistros and his various homes. The descriptions of France and Italy are lush and like a vacation for the reader. This was one of my favorite parts of the novel and I can see why most of the heroes in Harlequin Presents are millionaires, billionaires and CEOs. It offers lots of room for that 'spared no expense' romance factor.
The great breakup-to-makeup scene that's inevitable in most books of the romance genre happens, naturally, toward the end of the book. I almost knocked off a star because it's due to a character who seems to come out of nowhere late in the story. She's also one that neither the hero or heroine like much but yet still tears them apart. It's one of those situations that could have been fixed if the the h/h talked to each other rather than the heroine running out and returning back to Northern California.
At the same time I'm grateful for it because we wouldn't have had a chance to meet one of the awesome side characters introduced in this book. An old gentlemen by the name of Cal. I loved Cal! He was a bit crochety, always saying what's on his mind as he helps the heroine focus on what's really important in life. The last few chapters where Arlene returns to her vineyard is probably one of the best because of her interactions with Cal and the realizations of her actions. Not to mention the sweeping romantic gestures from our guy Domenico.
The last few pages are literally where the baby situation comes in as apart of the HEA. The blurb was way off in alluding to her pregnancy being apart of the overall plot, but considering it's 90% off anyway...
Overall, I liked this book and would definitely check out another Presents. Unfortunately, it may not be for a long time unless it's another free eread. The blurb situation puts me off and since that's what I go by in purchasing books, I can't really trust another Presents blurb to be representative of the book rather than sounding like every other one in the series.
This one will probably go on my keeper shelf because I love the family scenes, the cultures, the landscape and the sweet yet sexy romance between the hero and heroine. I wouldn't mind re-reading this one again in the future. ...more
I dove into this book after I read Bad Bettie by Layne Blacque a few weeks ago. I loved her voice and the way she captured the time. She presented herI dove into this book after I read Bad Bettie by Layne Blacque a few weeks ago. I loved her voice and the way she captured the time. She presented her characters as if they lived and breathed off the page and I couldn't wait to get my hands on more of her work.
Worth Her Wait did not disappoint. I actually like this better than Bad Bettie and if it were released this year, this would definitely go on my Best of (or favorites, if you will) list of 2009.
Worth Her Wait isn't merely a romance. It's a drama with some heavy issues within it's pages. The heroine of the story is Belinda Ashbury, a woman who has recently lost in her husband, Jackon, due to mysterious circumstances. Matthew Ashbury, Jackson's younger brother, returns to their home of to investigate his brother's death. Sparks are reignited once again. Simple enough story, no?
Ah but that's not all. Belinda and Matthew used to be involved until she married Jackson at a young age and ended up bearing two of his kids, twin girls named Lisa and Melody. It turns out Jackson is exactly the kind of man he always presented to the outside world (yes, you read that right lol). Secrets come out that Belinda has been hiding since she married Jackson and truths are even revealed to her in the wake of her husbands death. All the while Matthew and Belinda try to fight the attraction that burns even after the amount of years they've been apart.
This was a fabulous story and would make a fabulous movie in itself. The characters are sympathetic and the plot is seamless as it unfolds through the actions of the characters. I found myself really attached to most of the characters (and repulsed by others). Ms. Blacque has a wonderful way with characterization. It's a short read in number only. I stretched it out a bit since I couldn't only read a few each evening but the content makes up the heart and soul of the story. I'm definitely adding this to my keeper shelf and will keep an eye out for any other books Ms. Blacque releases....more
My last read was Hibiscus Bay by the awesome editor of the Romance eBooks Newsletter, Debby Allen.
This was a gorgeous contemporary read with a heroineMy last read was Hibiscus Bay by the awesome editor of the Romance eBooks Newsletter, Debby Allen.
This was a gorgeous contemporary read with a heroine and hero a reader can follow for days. The hero was especially gorgeous with a sexy accent and an interesting Egyptian background. The story kind of reminded me of a Harlequin Presents in shorter version which I think is it's strength. It's a nice light read that is easy to fall into if you're looking for a great love story with some fabulous characters. I loved the setting where the hero loved to get lost in and the way the characters found solace within each other despite the hurt they received in the past.
The beautiful cover, might I add, is spot on for presenting the scenery that is described for the book. A reader may have a hard time identifying with the heroine at first who has a sort of shifty background not usual in romance stories, but still her reluctance to trust again is sympathetic as is the hero's.
If this was a series, I'd definitely be interested in checking out the next in line!...more