Stephanie's Reviews > The Creed Legacy

The Creed Legacy by Linda Lael Miller
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Jul 21, 11

bookshelves: romance
Read on July 22, 2011 — I own a copy

This book originally appeared at www.readinasinglesitting.com

Okay, I admit it, despite the fact that I live in the inner suburbs of a major city and spend my days anchored to a computer I have a soft spot for tree changes, simple livin’, and cow rustlin’. Perhaps it’s nostalgia for my family’s farming background, or just the fact that it’s bloody cold here in Melbourne right now and I’m yearning for some sunshine, but Lael Miller’s The Creed Legacy hit the spot for me.

My first encounter with Lael Miller was with A Creed in Stone Creek, a by-the-numbers cowboy romance that trotted along nicely enough to begin with, but came a little unstuck with its emphasis on old-school, pre-feminist ideals and its slightly creepily inbred characters. But although The Creed Legacy relies heavily on the tropes of night-and-day twin brothers, dead parents, mysterious pasts, and poorly timed pregnancies, it’s a solid enough read that delivers exactly the sort of tug-of-war romantic shenanigans you’d expect from a small-town romance–and with some bonus humour and lovable small-town types thrown in to boot.

Brody Creed is the stubble-toting, lasoo-tossing, bronco-riding twin brother of Conner Creed, but unlike sweet-as-pie (but still acceptably manly) Conner, Brody bears the scars of his past mistakes. Brooding and introspective, he has quite the knack for getting people offside. Not least, of course, Carolyn Simmons, around whom he’s liable to witness more sparks than Nicholas Tesla. But Carolyn’s been burnt by bad-boy Brody before, and like all good romance heroines she finds herself more than a little ambivalent about getting into the ring again with this bronco.

The romance in The Creed Legacy is fairly par for the course, with the two main characters flitting regularly between loathing and loving, and the author milking every opportunity for miscommunication for all it’s worth. Admittedly, this does get a mite ridiculous at times, particularly given that Brody and Carolyn spend so much time navel gazing–simply voicing some of those thoughts would help move things along with far less pain, boys and girls! But Lael Miller stops all of this from becoming too much of a drudge with her surprisingly likeable cast of secondary characters–bonus points in particular for Winston the cat, who manages to be surprisingly articulate for someone with a vocabulary limited to “Mreow”.

Lael Miller also does a solid job of fleshing out her setting, and though everything is seen through rose-coloured lenses, it’s easy enough to suspend disbelief. I did find that the pacing was a little erratic, with constant flashbacks dragging things down somewhat, and roughly a hundred pages spent describing Carolyn’s much-loved “gypsy skirt”…all of which is followed up by a wham-bam ending of some hot sex, a couple of ”I love you”s and the inevitable marriage. Goodness, these cowboys move fast–particularly given that Brody and Carolyn hadn’t seen each other for seven years before this, and they end up going out on a total of two dates. I know that an HEA involving marriage is essential for a romance novel, but this all moved along something akin to a hooning teenager on the freeway. It all happens so quickly, in fact, that the marriage is rather randomly appended into the epilogue.

There are a few other quirks that may be romance genre standards, or that may be Lael Miller’s own idiosyncracies (I’m not familiar enough with either to say for certain). Brody seems to like the idea of an independently minded woman (as does Carolyn), yet both spend plenty of time dreamily fantasising about home-cooked meals and foot rubs and so on; we similarly get a weird contrast between Brody’s desire to “make love” with Carolyn and then his subsequent pressuring of her, something which never sits well with me. There’s one scene in particular that I’d chalk up as sexual harassment, too–and the fact that Carolyn laughs it off with an “oh, you!” is a bit teeth-gritting. I would also love to see a heroine who didn’t constantly struggle with issues of self-worth. While Lael Miller tries to depict Carolyn as strong and independent, all of this is somewhat undercut by Carolyn’s tragic past and what seems like a need to be rescued. (And as an aside, why can’t beautiful women ever see that they’re beautiful?)

In all, though, The Creed Legacy is a solid read, and Lael Miller does a fine job of fleshing out her characters, making the most of that romantic tension, and in giving us a setting that we want to return to. Ah, those cowboys. They really are hard to resist, aren’t they?
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