**spoiler alert** I really shouldn't give this book four stars, because the violent rape of the heroine Bettina by the hero Tristan really disturbed m...more**spoiler alert** I really shouldn't give this book four stars, because the violent rape of the heroine Bettina by the hero Tristan really disturbed me. However I liked the pirate setting and the vivid descriptions of the Caribbean settings. I am a pirate romance fiend, and since this is one of the first ones I read, and it was good other than the above issues, it's a keeper for me. Plus this is part of my original collection of books that I've had for over twenty years.
I thought Bettina was an interesting heroine, and had Tristan treated her more kindly, I would have liked him as well. She was very young and innocent. Certainly not old enough to handle an unscrupulous hero like Tristan. Also it was unfortunately that she was treated as a possession instead of a human being with feelings and needs and aspirations. During the time period, a well-bred virgin of good family was a highly prized commodity, so that is realistic for the time period. I have to take this book into the perspective of the time it was written in. Rightly or wrongly, it was very common to have hero rape of the heroine in romances, hence the term 'bodice ripper.' That certainly doesn't justify it. This book has scenes that you can't even say are forced seduction. They are fairly violent rape. And this is the kind of story that non-romance readers like to use to justify their belief that romance is trashy and has no redeeming value. However they neglect to see that a fair amount of these books are very well-researched and provide an eye into history that informs and entertains the reader.
I'm hardly the person to get on a moral soapbox about this. If I was that morally offended, I probably wouldn't own the book. To me, it is what it is. But I do feel very disturbed when I read those scenes. If I could erase them from the book, I'd probably give it five stars. But I cannot in good conscience make this a five star book for the reason of those scenes.(less)
Good book but it comes with a red level shovel alert. I don't know what happened to Blake. He was a nice guy before he got his own book. And then he m...moreGood book but it comes with a red level shovel alert. I don't know what happened to Blake. He was a nice guy before he got his own book. And then he metamorphosized into a big, huge jerk. If I was Violet, I would have told him to take a long walk off a short pier. Luckily I am not, so we get the happy ending. I wish that DP didn't feel it was necessary to make Violet lose weight. It would be nice to have a cuddly heroine in Jacobsville. Loved the Siamese cats. (less)
The hero in this book is a hard man and is on the cruel side to the heroine, blackmailing her for sex. But man was it a book that was hard to put down...moreThe hero in this book is a hard man and is on the cruel side to the heroine, blackmailing her for sex. But man was it a book that was hard to put down. (less)
I totally see this movie as one of those elegant, posh romantic movies that came out in the early 60s. I can hear the lush full orchestra and see the...moreI totally see this movie as one of those elegant, posh romantic movies that came out in the early 60s. I can hear the lush full orchestra and see the beautiful panoramic shots, the sharply-dressed men and the beautifully-dressed woman. Mod furniture and 60s elegant cars everywhere.
This book is set in the 80s, but in my mind, I felt like it was the 60s, except for some of the descriptions of the more over the top 80s disco fashions (yeesh)! I picture Clive Owen as Max and Kate Walsh as Sarah. That's how vivid this book was.
I do admit that Max was a tad too cruel for my tastes. He's one of those people who know just what words to employ to rip you to shreds. I don't like to be around people like that in real life and I find myself flinching when characters in books are like this. Even near the end, he said a few ugly things that I think he deserved a slap for. I don't think falling in love and not wanting to be in love is really an excuse for bad behavior, but there you have it.
Sarah was repressed by her overbearing, possessive artist husband's obsessive jealousy. Now that he's gone, she's retired into a widow's half-life, dressing poorly and not dating. She's good at her job as a personal assistant, and most of her energies are focused there.
When Max, the son of the great fashion designer Sir Richard Wilde, and the lead executive of their family firm, comes down to New Zealand to work for a month and to facilitate the takeover of the magazine, Rags to Riches, it's like a spark on dry kindling.
Max is an alpha hero who happens to be a suave businessman. He's a predator in the boardroom and the bedroom. He's described as drop dead gorgeous, muscular, with an angular face, and intense hazel eyes. He wears his clothes well and is definitely a ladies man. But beneath the fashionable facade, he's sharp as a tack. He hides an inner turmoil after his brush with death in a plane crash. His father sends him to New Zealand to recover emotionally before he gains the chairman of the board position Max covets. I pictured Sean Connery or Rod Taylor as they were in the 60s movies, although Clive Owen is perfect physically and in his demeanor (and also because Max is British).
Max does a lot of needling of Sarah that I felt was downright mean. It seems to bring her out of her shell, there's no question, but it still bothered me. They seem to mix like oil and water. He's used to polished, well-dressed beauties that are sophisticated and conversational. Sarah's very intelligent and perceptive, but is quiet and withdrawn and isn't anything like his usual arm-candy. It makes it all the surprising that they would fall in love with each other (or maybe not). I think from the beginning Max was drawn to her and didn't like it. She wasn't his type, and he didn't want to fall in love or feel intense emotions for a woman who wasn't disposable to him. It's not hard to believe that Sarah would fall for him. He's a ladykiller, and she's a vulnerable widow who's hidden herself away from love and sex for far too long. Sarah falls prey but he gets caught in the trap he sets for her.
Slowly you see the tension building, and this book is really quite sensual in its descriptions of their attraction that heats up to combustible levels, and also in the discussions of art, clothing and food. It's writing that is a feast for the senses. You are totally drawn into this world of high fashion, wining and dining, and beautiful people and clothing. Better yet, you want Sarah to take the plunge back into love and passion with Max, although at the same time, you want Max to get handed his trump card, and to fall deeply in love with Sarah, despite a lack of intentions on his part to do more than to bring the inner passion out and entice her into his bed for his brief stay in New Zealand. Love happens, and it's a painful process for both of them. Yet it's a beautifully-written journey.
This is the way books used to be. Full of passion and descriptions that holds your interest. I was an armchair traveler growing up, reading my Harlequin Romances and Presents, going around the world and seeing the sights, seeing people fall in love. This book brings home all the nostalgia of the old days of romance.
This book illustrates the magic of Susan Napier's writing. I have a feeling that she probably watched all the 60s romance movies and soaked up the delicious atmosphere to fill this book with. In some ways, it sort of reminds me of Marnie with Sean Connery and Tipi Hedren. The adversarial relationship that is ripe with chemistry. Some don't view this movie as romantic, but I find it romantic in an unconventional, albeit dark way. This book is not dark, but it does have an edge in that Max is definitely a cruel hero. His words cut and he does handle Sarah roughly. The ending was very well-down, driving home the 60s romance impression in my brain. It was so vividly written when the couple reunite due to matchmaking by Max's dad. Right out of one of Hitchcock's more romantic movies. Or perhaps a Doris Day movie in one of the more serious moments. It was just gorgeous.
You are probably wondering why I gave it five stars with Max being so mean most of the time. It was so well-written that you wanted them to be together, and when you see this hard as steel, angry man fall at Sarah's feet, and you are not at all surprised.
If you find yourself reading the newer series contemporary romances and feeling that the inner fire of books published by Harlequin long ago is gone, I think you'd like this book.
This is a wonderful book, with the following caveat: Gabriel is a very cruel hero. He is a bitter man. So full of anger at his father that he often us...moreThis is a wonderful book, with the following caveat: Gabriel is a very cruel hero. He is a bitter man. So full of anger at his father that he often uses Cassie as a verbal punching bag. His father is after him to marry, so he picks a bride that he is absolutely sure will aggravate his father. Cassie is a poor, overworked tavern maid that he finds on the docks in America. He thinks she isn't virtuous, but it turns out that she is. He doesn't make her over or clean her up, but delivers her to his father in the condition he finds her. Then he abandons her.
At first, his father is pretty mean to Cassie. But Cassie's wonderful and kind heart wins his regard. He is also impressed with her determination to better herself by reading and learning how to be a wife of a noblemen. When Gabriel comes back, he realized what a gem he's married.
This is one of those books that I loved for the heroine, and for the beauty of the storytelling. Gabriel could use a hard knock upside his head with a shovel. That what I use as code for an uber-alpha hero who needs to be taken down a peg. The sensuality is steaming, although it seems whenever Gabriel makes love with his wife, he is driven by angry passion and rarely by tenderness. Gabriel does everything he can to drive his wife away, and finally he succeeds. It is then that realizes how much she means to him and goes to get her back. The ending of this book is so poignant that it is another reason I love it so much. I definitely recommend this book if you can handle a hero with a serious chip on his shoulder who has a tendency to be mean to the heroine. If so, it's worth reading, and I consider it a keeper.(less)
Michelle Reid's books are usually very readable. This one is not an exception. However, I found Dane very unlikeable. He was mean and judgmental towar...moreMichelle Reid's books are usually very readable. This one is not an exception. However, I found Dane very unlikeable. He was mean and judgmental towards Lily from the get-go. He didn't like that he felt so strongly for her, and made her pay for it, especially since she was marrying his brother. Also, he didn't seem to see very well, as Lily told him. I figured out the truth very early on. I think Dane was caught up in his ideas of masculinity and machismo, and didn't see his brother for who he really was. His reaction to his brother's secret was somewhat distasteful. It didn't endear him to me. Also, I think his susceptibiilty to Lily made him want to blame her for everything, when she was really a victim, or a secondary accomplice to the dark secret that Daniel was keeping from his family. The only reason I didn't end up totally hating him was because he really did love Lily, although I think he did a lousy job of showing it. He doesn't really change much by the end of this story. He's still a hard-headed, 'stone-cold' alpha man type. I hope that his love for Lily softens him, and he becomes a more emotionally available man as the time passes. Well-written, but not a favorite by this author.(less)
**spoiler alert** The hero in this book was too cruel to the heroine. He was a mean drunk and he didn't deserve her. I have read and liked books with...more**spoiler alert** The hero in this book was too cruel to the heroine. He was a mean drunk and he didn't deserve her. I have read and liked books with heroes who were on the cruel side, but there is a point where I turned off. Also he committed the no-no of sleeping with another woman after they were married. Granted, he married her to get revenge, picking a scrubby, uneducated tavern maid as his bride. But he showed her no kindness and abandoned her to his mean-spirited family. I could not like this hero and that ruined the book for me. It's unfortunate, because it was well-written otherwise.(less)
This is a really intense older series romance by Sandra Brown that she released as Erin St. Clair. The hero is Lucas, a Navajo activist who was indire...moreThis is a really intense older series romance by Sandra Brown that she released as Erin St. Clair. The hero is Lucas, a Navajo activist who was indirectly involved in a violent demonstration and incarcerated. He breaks out to see his grandfather who is dying. He breaks into sheltered White Aislin's condo and kidnaps her on his run from the authorites, taking her to the Navajo reservation with him. They end up making love and he ends up getting recaptured to serve out the rest of his sentence.
When Lucas gets out to look up Aislinn to thank her for not telling the authorities that he kidnapped her, it turns out that she has his baby. He finds out when he gets out of prison and pretty much forces her to marry him. They have a blistering sexual attraction that turns into love.
At first I wasn't sure I liked this book enough to keep it. I actually read it and than gave it away to my friend. Lucas was so bitter and not that nice to Aislinn. He really held her being Anglo against her. I understood his anger at the system that had disenfranchised his people, but Aislinn didn't deserve to be his punching bag. But somehow, I ended up feeling compelled to get another copy. On reread, Lucas was easier to take, and I could see past his anger to the good man he was inside, as Aislinn does.
This book has some great sexual chemistry, because of the fire that burns between Lucas and Aislinn. But they have to build a marriage on more than that, learning to love each other and to accept each other's differences. Aislinn comes from money and privilege, and Lucas lost his when he went to prison (he was a famous civil rights lawyer). He is very old world and wants to support his wife and for them to live on the Navajo reservation, even though their standard of living is really poor on what he can afford. Although the whole kidnapping part is not as real-life, the second half of the book is, because these two very different people who made a baby together have to learn to live together and get past their differences to form a family.
This is a very good, oldie romance with some valuable life lessons and a great romance.(less)
I don't know quite what to say about this book. I read it years ago when I read just about every book I got my hands on. I probably wouldn't read it t...moreI don't know quite what to say about this book. I read it years ago when I read just about every book I got my hands on. I probably wouldn't read it today because of how cruel the people are in this book.
I certainly don't think Sean is a model hero. He's a very angry, obsessed, bedeviled man and did some awful things to the heroine because of it.
I'm a bit of a sexist. I think men should fight their wars and leave women and children out of it, unless the women are warriors too. If they are civilians, I think only a coward would hurt them. Well the hero and Catherine (the heroine)'s father don't subscribe to this point of view.
It was an ugly situation and a lot of wrong things were done. Having said that, it was a very well-written book, if you could stomach it. I remember not being able to put it down. Let me say that I started reading historical romances for the history and the adventure. I was twelve and I didn't care about the mushy stuff. I think I read this when I was fourteen. This book is from the heydey of the bodice ripper era where all bets were off as far as what a hero could do to a heroine. I remember being pretty wide-eyed when I read this book. Nowadays I care about the love relationship and the history and the adventure. My tastes have changed where I have ideas about what I will tolerate in a hero and a heroine, and what they do and my feelings about it depend highly upon the execution and how their behavior is dealt with.
I wouldn't judge anyone who wanted to read it, and I certainly wouldn't judge a person who didn't want to read it. But I'd say if you have heard lots of things about it, but are not sure what to think, you can read it for yourself and make up your own mind. But go into this book prepared. It's very, very dark!(less)
My goodness, the hero in this book is the biggest jerk in Harlequin Presentsland, and that's saying a lot. He pretty much seduced the heroine into an...moreMy goodness, the hero in this book is the biggest jerk in Harlequin Presentsland, and that's saying a lot. He pretty much seduced the heroine into an affair and dropped her like a hot potato when someone lied and said she stole some valuable artifacts from the museum that she worked at supported by his mom. Did he not know what kind of person she was? It was fairly obvious she wouldn't have done this.
So she ends up having his baby and goes to make a life for herself, her loser sister, and her baby back in England. Jackass comes to England, sees her at work in a Museum party, and decides to look her up for some sex on tap. For some reason, she has no resistance to this jerk, don't ask me why, so she ends up being tempted to have an affair with him again, although it is clear that he neither likes or respects her.
While this is going on, her lowlife sister is doing drugs and bringing her fellow lowlives around her young child. Mind you, this is a heroine with a postgraduate education. I have to respect her unconditional love for her sister (who was sexually abused and has had problems ever since) and the hero, but I wanted her to tell them both to get lost. Her priority was to watch out for her daughter. So sister ends up getting the daughter hurt, and ex-boyfriend now knows about his child and is going to take the child away from the heroine unless she comes back to Greece as his mistress.
I have to say that my hatred for the hero of this book only grew as it progressed. He is a real piece of work. Determined to think the worst of the heroine for no good reason. The fact that she is sweet and malleable makes it all the more unpalatable. I believe that the author wanted to show that she had a tremendous capacity for unconditional love. I got that. But I also got that she needed to learn to stand up for herself and cut her losses.
When it came to her sister, she should have told her, get out of my house until you get off the drugs. She ended up taking money from the ex to put her sister in a rehab program. Of course he just thought it was gold-digging, and she didn't want to tell him.
Suffice it to say that this was a frustrating book to read, and certainly not a keeper for me, not when I wanted to give the hero a very swift kick in the pants and shake the heroine and tell her to get a clue.(less)
This is a book that would probably not get published today because of the un-PC content. There is a (in my opinion) fairly violent rape scene, because...moreThis is a book that would probably not get published today because of the un-PC content. There is a (in my opinion) fairly violent rape scene, because the heroine was being flirty and the hero didn't like it, and because he thinks she is a spy for her native French countrymen, which are his enemies. I cringe when I think about it.
I enjoyed this book as a fiction book because it's really a great adventure book, and it really immerses you in the history of that time. It's been so long since I read it, so I'm not sure it's a great romance, from what I remember. I think it's more of a saga in which you see a spoiled young woman go through some really tough circumstances and mature into a woman who can take care of herself, no matter what life throws at her. Because I love reading about different parts of the world in a fiction setting, this book also found favor with its vivid descriptions of traveling/living aboard ship and on the various Caribbean islands. The villain (who is the heroine's stepbrother and is completely lusting after her the whole book) was memorable and I felt a little sympathy for him in some parts, although at the same time he deserved what he got.
I don't think I liked the hero very much (probably because of his actions toward the heroine), and the fact that they spend a good amount of time apart.
So I give this a higher rating because it was a very interesting historical book. The romance wasn't the highlight in this one.(less)
This book was almost a wallbanger at certain parts. The hero and heroine were acting way too hormonal for me. They had some serious imbalances in thei...moreThis book was almost a wallbanger at certain parts. The hero and heroine were acting way too hormonal for me. They had some serious imbalances in their brain chemistry causing them to act like idiots. But then it would settle down and I'd like it again.
Alex is a jerk. He's very macho and tough, and judgmental. He has decided that Cara is a skanky ho because he believes she is the ex-mistress of a crime lord. Even though he says he doesn't have an issue with a woman being sexually experienced. Whatever dude. This from the guy who picks up women in bars for sex. I thought he treated Cara pretty bad for too much of the book, although he's caring in other parts. This is part of the hormonal imbalance issue.
Cara is typical for Sandra Marton. She's way too soft with the hero. She lets him get away with too much crap. She gets snarky a few times, but most of the time, he can kiss her into submission. That really gets on my nerves when the hero can kiss the heroine and she turns into a pile of jello. Sometimes it's okay, but it's overused, especially by this author.
Don't get me wrong. I really enjoy Sandra Marton's books. But I think she has borderline uber-alphas in some of her books. Uber-alpha means bad alpha to me. Not the tough, possessive loving type of hero. But the testosterone toxicity hero. Alex definitely falls into this category. He really didn't use his brain as much as he should have. I figured out pretty early just what Cara's connection was to the crime lord. I don't mean to stereotype, but it was fairly obvious that Cara wasn't mistress-material. All he could see was how hot she was, and that made her skanky, crimelord guy's ho in his mind.
I was disappointed with the adventure plot. It could have been a little better executed. He did some covert spy stuff, but mainly it consisted of breaking into Cara's apartment, accosting her in the shower, and sexually intimidating her. And then at the end, he and his two brothers break into the crime lord guy's mansion to get 'closure' with Cara. The Desert Virgin (the 1st book in this series that I read) had much better action. This one really wrapped up way to easily and it was very anti-climactic.
I have to say this is probably my least favorite Sandra Marton book although some parts were okay. I am keeping it because it's part of a series with The Desert Virgin, and I hate to break up a series in my collection.(less)
**spoiler alert** Curry isn't quite a Hero I Can't Stand. But he's close. He was very mean to Eleanor in some of the things he said. He was afraid to...more**spoiler alert** Curry isn't quite a Hero I Can't Stand. But he's close. He was very mean to Eleanor in some of the things he said. He was afraid to let her get close and was hurtful to her. He didn't value her the way he should have, even though she enriched his life tremendously. That's why I was glad that Eleanor did leave him and he had to earn her love. Curry came to the realization of what he had let slip away from him. I guess that's why I liked the book a lot despite Curry being jerky. The one thing I wish was that Ms. Palmer had given Eleanor a male suitor that could have really given Curry a run for his money. It was pretty obvious that her friend wasn't going to stand up very well against Curry. That's one of the reasons I love Lawless. Cash Grier was a more than worthy rival for Crissy's affections.(less)
It's been so long since I read this. I won't rate it since I probably need to reread it to rate it fairly. One thing for sure, I despise the hero in t...moreIt's been so long since I read this. I won't rate it since I probably need to reread it to rate it fairly. One thing for sure, I despise the hero in this book. I wanted him to die...painfully. Evil thing to say, but he was evil. (less)
**spoiler alert** I do not deny that I enjoy the rather unrealistic for the real world, and campy in a very 'this is real to the people participating'...more**spoiler alert** I do not deny that I enjoy the rather unrealistic for the real world, and campy in a very 'this is real to the people participating' way, storylines of the Harlequin Presents line.
This story has the marriage for revenge plot. Simon is a writer whose sister is paralyzed in a car accident caused by a bimbo his brother-in-law was having an affair with. When he goes to investigate, he finds out that Maggie was driving the car. But it turns out, she wasn't. Her younger sister was.
He sets out to get revenge on the little tramp who ruined his sister's life. He is going to get her to fall in love with him, marry her and take her off to a secluded cabin in the mountains and make her pay for what she did to his sister and her marriage. That's probably the worst plan for revenge I've ever heard. Yet this book is a great story.
Maggie is of course a really good, decent woman, who would never have an affair with a married man. She's never had an affair at all. She's too busy working and trying to make ends meet and taking care of her ungrateful 'Lolita-esque' sister. In fact, she is terrified of cars ever since her mother died in a car accident and she was driving.
Instead of seeing that Maggie is a good and decent human being, Simon persists in believing her to be an amoral trampy gold-digger, but finds himself attracted to her air of innocence all the same. He hires her to be his secretary to help him transcribe his book, and romances her into marriage.
Poor Maggie is none the wiser until they get to Simon's little cabin in the mountains where he takes her for their honeymoon, when he reveals his true colors. He hates her guts and he wants to make her pay by making her his slave and taking her away from the glamorous world she lives in so she cannot seduce and destroy any other men. Maggie protests her innocence on deaf ears. He doesn't listen. After all this, he still expects Maggie to help him with his book, and to do all the cooking and cleaning.
This is not a book that you like for the hero, clearly. I liked it for Maggie. I could sympathize with her, and I hoped she made it out of this crazy situation with her sanity intact. Of course, things change where Simon finds he wants to make her his real wife in every way. Things heat up in the bedroom, although Maggie doesn't get why she would fall in love with a crazy, cruel man like Simon.
All along, Maggie is showing her true colors. That she is a good person, and she would never do what Simon has accused him of. Of course, she turns out to be a real homemaker (turning the sparsely furnished cabin into a home, cooking great meals on the antiquated stove, and taking up quilting). He sees this, but thinks it's just an act. Suddenly, the younger sister shows up, just when things sort of settle into an uneasy truce. She has decided that she wants to take her sister's husband, since he's a rich man who can keep her in style. The good news is that she is kind of dumb. She says way too much, and pretty soon it's clear who the culprit was in his sister's hit and run accident, affirming Simon's doubts about Maggie's innocence.
Maggie sees any dreams she had of a happy marriage going down the drain. She had tried to get away initially, but to no avail. This time she succeeds and ends up getting a nearby neighbor to take her to town on his snowmobile.
Of course, Simon shows up to claim his runaway wife. Repentant and ready to declare his love, having sent the younger sister on her way. And Maggie with her forgiving heart, is only to happy to take him back.
This is a story that you can find only in a Harlequin Presents. But, just like some people will sit and watch B movies and enjoy them for the entertainment they provide, that is how I take Harlequin Presents. And I do not mean to put down any of the writers of these books. I think there are some fine writers in this line. But the storylines are what make them seem like B movies to me. I think they have some very over the top elements, but they succeed in what they were designed for, to captivate and to entertain, and this book served its purpose. For that reason, it's one of my vintage Harlequin Presents keepers.(less)
Oh, Drama! This was just what the doctor ordered. Sometimes I crave these older Harlequin chock full of drama. The hero is a real b*stard in this book...moreOh, Drama! This was just what the doctor ordered. Sometimes I crave these older Harlequin chock full of drama. The hero is a real b*stard in this book. He needed a slap or two, to be honest. I can't imagine why he thinks that being mean to a woman shows his love and devotion. I didn't really like Mark at all. He was just a bully in my opinion. But, there is something about Lillian Cheatham's writing that keeps me reading and enjoying her books, even if the hero is a putz. I did like Juliet. She had some gumption, although she turned a little weak-kneed at Mark's punishing kisses.
I can't explain why these oldies appeal to me. They are like my soap operas, but even better. The whole, "I hate you but I want you, and you will be mine." And the "Oh, you are such a brute! Stay away from me, but I can't help seeing that you are very sexy!" storylines make for great reads. And then there's Mark's geeky (that part was cool) but spineless brother (not cool) who throws temper tantrums when he doesn't get his way. He even lies and says Juliet has been sleeping with him because he's jealous of Mark taking her away from him (although she's only his assistant and doesn't have any romantic feelings for him). Throw in an evil ex-mistress (also the island nurse) who wants to get back her short-lived status in Mark's revolving bed. And then there is a scheming teen who has been promised by her overbearing mother that she will net Mark as her husband. Classic!
Great scenery with the Caribbean island setting, and a heroine who is a skilled editor and knows her subject (her stepfather was an expert in cetaceans and she actually wrote his book for him although she didn't take credit). There are a couple of scenes with the dolphins, which add to this book's appeal.
Really, Juliet was a lovely heroine. She was worth fifty of Mark. He was a real jerk, who didn't know a good woman when he saw one. He needed his mouth washed out for some of the nasty things he said to Juliet. Just when I was starting to think he might be a decent person (when he saves a local boy after a near-fatal stingray bite), he turns into Mr. Octopus Hands with a bad mouth. Sigh. The fool was very much in love with Juliet, but he was very clueless on how to show it. And, somehow Juliet fell in love with this creep. It was fun to read.
This really gave me my needed Vintage Harlequin drama fix. If you like this sort of thing, I think you'd enjoy this book, because it was very well written. Too bad Lillian Cheatham wasn't a very prolific Harlequin author. Her books always satisfy.(less)
Fire of Spring has some beautiful, descriptive writing, and it hooked me emotionally. The imagery was very vivid, with the descriptions of the Colorad...moreFire of Spring has some beautiful, descriptive writing, and it hooked me emotionally. The imagery was very vivid, with the descriptions of the Colorado landscape under the grip of a cold spring in which snow is still on the group, and the promise of a warm Spring lurks around the corner. The title of this book really ties into the storyline in a number of ways, relating to the weather, the emotional intensity between the characters, and the tapestry that Dawn is working on that reflects her hopes for her relationship with Logan. Additionally, anyone who has read Elizabeth Lowell’s romances knows how well she writes sensuality. She never gets too explicit, but there is a fire and a power in her descriptions of the attraction between her characters, and their eventual lovemaking.
Both Dawn and Logan have suffered in their lives, and the cause of their suffering is in part due to the same woman. However, Dawn chose to put that pain behind her and get on with her life. In contrast, Logan hangs onto the hurt of seeing his brother kill himself with alcohol, and after years of feeding him full of nonsense about how bad women are and how they will destroy you, because his brother fell for the wrong woman---Dawn’s mother.
Logan hurt Dawn very badly by taking her young love and turning it into something dirty, offering her the position as his mistress until he tired of her. Instead of taking him up on that, she left and moved on with her life. Three years later, Dawn’s friend Kathy, Logan’s sister begs her to come and take care of Logan, who is sick with walking pneumonia. Dawn doesn’t want to go back down that painful path, but she owes Logan a debt, and she intends to pay him back. She hopes that she can keep herself from loving him again, knowing that he will only break her heart.
This is definitely a well-written story, and I zoomed through it. However, Logan is a mean bastard. He is deliberately cruel to Dawn, and I think most women would probably have beaten him to death with a frying pan. Dawn takes a lot off this guy, probably too much, out of her love for him. She tries to break down the corrosive wall of anger and bitterness that Logan has around his heart so that he can be free, even if she won’t be able to claim his love for her own. Part of me wondered that he was even worth the effort. But deep down, Dawn knows that Logan does love her. He just has to overcome that bad programming that his brother entrenched into his mind and spirit. She tries her best to help him, even though she weeps from the wounds that Logan’s ugly words inflict on her vulnerable heart, and she stays until he tells her to leave. She was a strong woman to put up with that. Strong in that yielding and standing sort of way that is underappreciated. I really liked Dawn. Logan, not so much, especially after he humiliates Dawn in front of the ranch hands. He comes around, realizing how much he loves Dawn, but I would have preferred some extended groveling and an epilogue in which Logan shows how much he adores Dawn. Because these essential elements weren’t on offer, this couldn’t be a five star read for me. However, this is a very good book, if you can tolerate a jerky, cruel hero who needs some remedial lessons in love and groveling. (less)
I am really glad someone recommended Goodreads to me. I used to keep a writing journal, but I think I missed a few entries. This is the third book wit...moreI am really glad someone recommended Goodreads to me. I used to keep a writing journal, but I think I missed a few entries. This is the third book within a few months that I accidentally reread because I hadn't written down that I read it. I realized on the first page that I had already read it, but it was involving, so I thought, "What the heck."
Substitute Bride was published in 1981 (I was eight when it came out!), and that's apparent when you read it. However, it isn't trite and dated in my opinion. I was drawn into this story of Emma, who is a Cinderella. Her father died and she had to go live with his sister and her promiscuous, scheming daughter, who is engaged to be married to cold and dangerous Rick Conway, a rich plantation owner from Barbados. She's running around with another man behind his back, and makes Emma cover up for her.
When Emma meets Rick, it's instant dislike. Rick isn't a very nice guy, and he's very dismissive of Emma. Also, Blanche has been telling untrue tales of Emma, who is too busy running the farm to do all the running around and partying that Blanche has told Rick that she's up to. Because of working so hard all the time, she's pale and thin, and not looking her best. For a man who with an eye for beautiful women like Rick, she's easy to look through (or so he acts).
Blanche has gown out with her in-town squeeze, Rex, and told Emma to lie about it. But Rick shows up unexpectedly, and Blanche brings Rex home with her. Blanche makes it seem like the sleazy nightclub owner Rex is dating Emma, and Emma is forced to play along with it. This contributes to Rick's poor opinion of her. He says some rude things to her and kisses her brutally, then he stalks off with Blanche. Emma has decided that she wants nothing to do with this guy again, and talked her aunt out of being invited to the wedding (rather easily since her aunt wants to save the money anyway).
Rick is supposed to be in Australia for an extended time, so Blanche goes off to Paris with Rex, and threatens Emma into lying that she's off with their sick and dying relative. However, Rick shows up and spanks (yes he does, hard to believe as it is) the truth out of Emma. Let me tell you, nothing annoys me more than a hero spanking the heroine like she's a child. Emma is too scared of Rick to give him the butt-kicking he deserves. He railroads her into marrying him and going to Paris with him to show Blanche what she gave up. Emma decides that her bridges are burned with her family and uses this marriage of convenience as an opportunity to escape from the farm and start a life for herself. She knows that Rick holds her in comtempt, but she's not too fond of him either. As long as he keeps his distance, she can handle it until he divorces her.
Rick drags Emma to Paris for the confrontation (and a mini-makeover and shopping spree), and then off to Barbados. Emma's health and looks improve as she is able to rest and eat good food, even though Rick ignores her and she's contantly digged at by his mother and sister. He goes out of town a lot for business, as well. Rick's younger brother Ben takes a liking to Emma, which provides some friendship. The trouble is Ben starts to develop feelings for her, which she doesn't return, since she has started to fall in love with her husband. Soon Miles, who is the brother of one of Rick's flames, also takes a shine to her. Rick shows up to see the two men fighting over his wife, and he decides to take her to his remote island for revenge, although Emma likes it there. He also decides to make their marriage a real one, discovering some truths about Emma and his feelings for along the way.
This is standard vintage Harlequin Presents fare. These books entertain me. I feel no shame about it. The writing is good, and the characters are well-developed. I like the sights and scenes, with the exotic locales. These are my soap operas--good drama doses. I thought that Rick was a real jerk initially. He did come around by the end of the book, but he needed someone who was tougher than him to show him how a bullied person feels. It makes you wonder why people can't see what's right in front of their faces. But a proud, hard man like him wouldn't want to fall in love with a simple girl like Emma, and he fought it pretty hard. Emma was a nice person, too nice for him. The good thing is he figures that out before it's too late, and determines to show her that he can love her the way she deserves.
Aura loves her fiance Paul, but she doesn't love him that way that she feels for Flint. To Aura, Paul is comfort and safety. Flint is danger, white ho...moreAura loves her fiance Paul, but she doesn't love him that way that she feels for Flint. To Aura, Paul is comfort and safety. Flint is danger, white hot passion, and as far from 'safe' as possible. But Flint keeps pushing at her, tormenting her with the desire she feels for him, and the fact that he thinks she's nothing but a gold digger. That makes Flint a big jerk in my opinion. Even if he is right and Aura is making a mistake marrying Paul. He might try to deceive himself into thinking he's doing it for his friend's own good, but the truth is he wanted Aura for himself.
I felt bad for Aura. She really did want to do the right thing, and she knew she wouldn't marry Paul when it became clear that she was so blatantly in lust with his friend. If only Flint had trusted Aura to do the right thing.
I can't remember if I've read this before. Chances are I did, but I still enjoyed it. The passion and the emotional intensity are all there in this story. Aura's situation tugged on my heart, and I think with her emotional integrity, she deserved her happy ending. I wasn't 100% convinced that was with Flint until the end, and then I was satisfied that he truly did love her. I loved the epilogue, because it showed how they were meant to be together, and also things are resolved with Paul and Flint and Paul and Aura.
I think this is one of Robyn Donald's best books. Flint is definitely her style of cruel hero, but I saw some things in him that redeems him in my eyes. I enjoyed this book.(less)
Intense Vintage Harlequin Romance that reads like a Harlequin Presents. It certainly has all the trappings: incredibly beautiful but cold and unawaken...moreIntense Vintage Harlequin Romance that reads like a Harlequin Presents. It certainly has all the trappings: incredibly beautiful but cold and unawakened heroine, dark, brooding, and scary hero. Revenge, oh the revenge. Leo, the hero calls himself "The Eagle", and he tells Sabrina that he's her enemy. Actually, her father is his enemy. But he died before Leo could exact his revenge. Sabrina wasn't that fond of her father, either. In fact, she hated him for who cruel he was to her and her mother. But Daddy Dearest left all his holdings to Sabrina, and she's not going to sit idly by and let the board do all the dirty dealings her father was known for. I was very impressed with Sabrina in how she went into the board meeting, and showed the good old boys that she knew her stuff. She made them well aware that she wasn't going to stand for their old way of doing things, while they were willing to put a thousand people out of work, and maintain their high expense accounts and corporate cars. She got a bravo for that.
In her dealings with Leo, Sabrina was in over her head. Leo is definitely on the cruel hero side. He's a take no prisoners hero. Very ruthless in his dealings with her business and with her. When the big reveal comes about how he loved her since he first saw her, it's a bit hard to believe, based on how he treats her (although he doesn't ever hit or harm her physically and doesn't rape her). When he makes her believe he filed for a quicky divorce, I thought that was fairly cruel. But, he maintains he did it so that she'd admit her feelings for him. Sabrina doesn't get off the hook. She says some pretty cruel things to Leo as well. I tried to remind myself that as far as she knew, they were truly enemies, and Leo married her for revenge alone.
So why the four stars? The drama, the intensity, the good writing. The climax was written to make both characters well aware of what they were at risk for losing, and Leo comes through wonderfully when Sabrina's life is in jeopardy. I probably read some of Madeleine Ker's books when I was a kid. I read pretty much every Harlequin and Harlequin Presents I could get my hand on growing up. Unfortunately, I forgot many of those books. But, Ms. Ker's writing is excellent. She paints vivid pictures, and they are quite iconic. The drama level is built through every interaction between the characters. It's never garish, but has a natural intensity. I could see Leo as the Eagle, and Sabrina as the Ice Maiden. Even though the love scenes weren't descriptive, you could see the passion there. So, I was very impressed with this story.
If you want a good old school Harlequin that will bring on the drama, but in a very elegant fashion, I'd recommend this one. Reading this book makes me long for more new books in these lines that have this same level of intensity, passion and risk. It's why I search long and hard for these oldies to enjoy. I hope to find more of Ms. Ker's books to read.(less)