Evanston Public Library's Reviews > Deadly Valentine: Her Un-Valentine/The February 14th Secret

Deadly Valentine by Justine Davis
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's review
Mar 01, 2012

bookshelves: fiction, romance

After half a life avoiding romance fiction I picked up Flowers from the Storm at the suggestion of a DePaul professor—he said it’s a good example that follows many of the tropes of the romance genre, but in an assured and literate style. Unlike “series” romances (e.g. Deadly Valentine, from Silhouette), Flowers from the Storm is a “single-title” romance and thus less conformist.

Kinsale creates two memorable nineteenth-century characters: Christian, a brilliant mathematician (and irrepressible rake), and Maddy, a very repressible Quaker spinster. Predictably, there’s chemistry. Unpredictably, the sparks ignite only after Christian has suffered a stroke, which disables him greatly (though not in Maddy’s eyes). Infuriated and virtually mute, he clings to Maddy as the one person with the insight and patience to help him recover—and she sees how the disability humanizes him. Kinsale does a fine job feeding the reader’s cravings without writing down to her (or him).

In Deadly Valentine (a pair of novellas), Davis and Dees offer a much more formulaic approach. The heroes, though wounded or disguised, are studly. The ladies, though vulnerable, are perky. The passion is against-all-odds and over-the-top. (As you read, you can't help but offer silent comebacks like "her lips said No, but her eyes said Absolutely Not.") The marriage proposals are borderline hilarious. There's a place for this, but not on my bookshelf. I'd sooner spend an evening curled up with Kinsale.

(Jeff B., Reader's Services)


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