Sunday, May 23, 2010

Love in a Stranger's Arms

Arabel wakes in a Spanish hospital with total amnesia. She is told that she is married to Cortez Ildefonso de la Dura. After being arrested in Venezuela for sheltering two arsonists, Cortez married her in order to take her away from prison and safely to Spain.

Yes, this is yet another amnesia/forced marriage story. I found it very difficult to relate to Arabel. She spends much of her time being alternating between being hysterical, childishly cruel, and terrified. She doesn't remember anything but she has a gut feeling that she hates Cortez and would never have willingly married him, so ends up being very nasty to him. For some reason, she doesn't ask him the obvious questions that I would ask, such as , "How long have we known each other?" His family hate Arabel for being a foreigner, and for not loving and revering him as they feel she ought. They end up being very nasty to her, telling lies about her and try to persuade Cortez to get rid her of. When he is sick in bed and asking for her, they confine her to her room and tell him that she doesn't want to see him although she is actually begging to be by his side. At the end, she regains her memory and everybody gets to live happily ever after. I found it quite unbelievable that Cortez's family never seem to get their comeuppance and magically accept her once she realises that she loves him. Furthermore, the return of her memory was just too convenient. It happens all in a rush and then everything is all right. It would have been more realistic if small pieces had gradually come back to her, giving tantalising hints as the story progressed. Instead, she suddenly remembers how she knew Cortez and everything is resolved. I did enjoy reading this book, but I was left feeling a little unsatisfied.

The Honey is Bitter

Domini Dane agrees to marry Paul Stephanos in return for not having her cousin Douglas jailed for stealing from him. Domini was mentioned in By Love Bewitched and I was intrigued by her story. This book opens just after Paul and Domini's wedding (and before they have consummated their marriage). Domini is bitter at being blackmailed into marriage whilst Paul is quite frank in admitting that he intended to have her since they met no matter what the cost; the opportunity to blackmail her presented itself, so he took it. I really liked this book. Paul was generally very gentle and treated Domini with respect. He really didn't act like he just wanted her for her body though she seems convinced of that. I guess I just didn't really understand Domini. It was her own choice to marry Paul yet she can't seem to accept that and keeps wanting him to let her go. Her uncle discovered what his son had done and suspected she was being blackmailed. Paul prevents Domini from speaking to her uncle until after they have consummated their marriage, and she hates him for it. Why? How could her uncle's suspicions change anything anyway? It still wouldn't change what Douglas had done or keep him from prison. Anyway, they stay together and their relationship gradually progresses in spite of Domini's objections. At the end we have two climactic events which cause Paul and Domini to reveal their love for each other and live happily ever after. I'm never fond of these sort of "forced" endings. I'd much rather something more natural, where they act like adults and just love each other. Nevertheless, this was a very enjoyable book and I recommend it for your reading list.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Lissa is a sweet 20 year old happily living a comfortable life until she meets Luc Ferrier, also known as Lucifer. He stirs up a passion in her that she has never felt before and reveals shocking facts about her long-term fiancé and childhood friend, Chris. Lissa finally realises the truth about Chris and realises she needs help to get away from him. Luc rescues her, but at what cost?

This was great, although it took me a moment to get past the stupid nickname of "Lucifer". The relationship between Luc and Lissa progresses at a nice pace. Lissa knows that Chris is dangerous and that she can't stay with him, but she also doesn't want to swap from one user to another. Unfortunately she does need to accept Luc's offer of help or she won't be able to leave Chris and start a new life for herself, but she has more self respect than to just go ahead and jump into bed with him. The final declarations of undying never-ending love are somewhat sudden, but I suppose that's not uncommon in category romances with limited pages. Overall I recommend this if you want a nice read.

By Love Bewitched

Dinah has been Jason Devrel's ward since she became an orphan at nine years old. Once she finished college they ended up getting engaged but one night she overhears two women speculating on Jason's reasons for marrying her; the women believe that the only reason a rich, attractive man like Jason would marry the quiet and plain Dinah is to avoid gossip about their guardian/ward relationship. At this point I started to actively dislike Dinah. She is incredibly immature. She just goes ahead and believes what she has heard and decides to run away with a broken heart without even confronting Jason. The whole thing doesn't even make sense. If he's worried about his reputation, he could always marry someone else, or encourage Dinah to get a job and move out. Anyway, Jason finds Dinah madly packing her bags to leave and they get into an argument concluding with Jason raping her. Yes, he rapes her. This is no "forced seduction" but straight out violent rape. It was at this point that I started to actively dislike Jason. Not surprisingly, in the morning Dinah runs away. Two months later, Jason manages to track her down only to discover that she is pregnant. He persuades her to marry him and give the baby to him, after which he will give her a divorce with a healthy settlement.

This book was incredibly disturbing. Jason himself says that he has tried to be a father to Dinah, and he is constantly calling her "child" or "my girl". In fact he addresses her using those terms right before he rapes her. Dinah is naturally quite traumatised by this; bad enough to be raped, but to have it done by the man who raised her whom she loved and trusted is obviously much worse. Also, keeping in mind that this book was written in a time when girls who had illegitimate children were ostracised and you can see Dinah's turmoil and the reason why she agrees to marry Jason. Both of them are quite frank that he raped her, though Jason tries to imply at one point that he suspects she enjoyed some of it. This just made me sick. It's common for child abusers to claim the complicity of their victims. Dinah is not a child, but she is about 17 years younger than Jason and obviously sees him as an authority figure. Jason concedes that Dinah has every reason to hate him now and claims to accept it, yet he then goes on to reprimand her for her bitterness and lack of joie de vie. Gee, you think being raped and impregnated by your father figure then forced to marry and live with him might just spoil your mood? As for Dinah, she gets all caught up in "dealing" with now having to see Jason as her husband instead of her father. I found this quite odd considering they were actually planning on getting married before he raped her anyway. Surely she would already have worked through those conflicts? Apparently not. Generally speaking, I found Dinah's responses reasonable, even her conflicted emotions regarding Jason. She is simultaneously attracted to and revolted by him. She feels used and dirty and wants to feel attractive, but he's the only man around. I actually found her quite realistic, but then before you know it she's happily jumping into bed with him and declaring her love. That's about when I wanted to throw up. This relationship was sick. Don't bother reading this unless you want an interesting psychological study.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mistress to Her Husband

Five years ago Sean suddenly told Kate he wanted a divorce. She found out later that she was pregnant but decided not to let him know. Now Kate has a new boss who turns out to be her ex-husband.

First of all, let me say that this is not the sleazy story the title implies. In fact, the title has absolutely nothing to do with the plot. At no point does Sean ask Kate to be his mistress. What actually happens, is that five years ago Sean discovered that he has a low sperm count and would be highly unlikely to father any children. He does the macho thing and decides all on his own that he has to set his wife free to have children with someone else. Instead of telling her the truth, he tells her that he has been sleeping with someone else and has no interest in having children with Kate; in fact, he only acted like he wanted to have a family with her to get in her pants. Obviously this is so much better than telling her the truth (rolls eyes). As for Kate, she keeps trying to tell herself how much she hates Sean for what he did to her, but keeps trying to jump his bones. Every time they get together they get it on. I couldn't help but wonder if they talked as much as they made out, they may have been able to sort out their marital problems long ago. I got so sick of all the make out sessions that I started skimming through them. The author seems to have gotten a little carried away with being able to use the word "erection" (instead of all those other euphemisms we have seen so much of through the years). I counted it 9 times; in other words there are at least 9 separate sex scenes (though very few of them end up with actual intercourse), which is a lot for a wee little book.

Am I giving the impression that I didn't like this book? Actually I found it all right, but the premise of the plot really annoyed me. Sean's whole self-sacrificing rubbish was so annoying. He loves Kate so much that he can't allow her to stay with him and never have children, even though he knows that he will never want anyone else. It doesn't occur to him that she might feel the same way about him? Then when he finds out that she has a son, he gets mad at her for "betraying" him by sleeping with another man after they were divorced. This, after he told her that he was cheating on her. To add insult to injury, he also tells her that the other woman was just a meaningless fling... so he divorced her and broke her heart over a meaningless fling? He gets brownie points from me for not having another woman over the past five years, but it doesn't make up for his high-handed decision to divorce he due to his low sperm count. Kate's lack of self-control around Sean was really annoying, too. We see this kind of thing a lot in category romances; the heroine is so overcome with passion that she forgets all common sense. It's supposedly a sign of love. I personally see it as a sign of lack of character development. Kate was especially annoying in this aspect because she has a five year old son to protect. I would expect her to be more careful of not letting her son form attachments or get his hopes up, but Kate is too busy jumping Sean's bones. All in all this was not one of Penny Jordan's better works.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Twelve-Month Mistress

Joaquin Alcolar has never been in a relationship with a woman that lasted more than 12 months. With their 1st anniversary rapidly approaching, Cassandra is fearfully awaiting her marching orders.

This is the first book of the Alcolar family series and it certainly hasn't encouraged me to read the others. I could barely force myself to finish reading it. Cassandra has got to be one of the dumbest heroines I have ever seen. Joaquin has made no indication that he wants to break up with her, yet she is in such a mess of nerves that she seems determined to end their relationship in a self-fuliflling prophecy. She's moody and snappish, continuously rejecting him. She complains over him working instead of staying with her all day long. We're not talking about workaholic long hours here; Joaquin gets up in the morning to go to the office and she throws a tantrum. She decides to leave him and doesn't even bother talking to him first or giving him the courtesy of saying goodbye. To top it all off, Cassandra moves in with Joaquin's illegitimate half-brother. When Joaquin finds out where she has gone, he naturally jumps to the obvious conclusion, aided by her telling him that his brother gives her something Joaquin never could. Then she has the gall to be mad at him for his assumptions. Finally, Joaquin falls down the stairs and conveniently gets amnesia. He forgets about Cassandra leaving him and the doctors advise against telling him, so she moves back in with him. Then we get to have the first half of the book all over again, with Cassandra acting like an idiot and Joaquin being totally clueless. Yuck, yuck, yuck. This was simply terrible. My advice is to pass this book by.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Wife for Real

Katherine agreed to a marriage of convenience to Jordan James in exchange for his help in rescuing her father from bankruptcy. Unfortunately their marriage has not turned out to be as amicable as planned and they have spent the past year seeing as little of each other as possible, only making the occasional public appearance together to avoid gossip. Now he's back and wanting to change the status quo. Katherine's brother has landed himself in major financial difficulty and Jordan offers to bail him out only if Katherine agrees to make their marriage real and have a child together.

Katherine's mother had numerous extra-marital affairs until finally leaving her family when Katherine was fifteen. Due to this, Katherine has a fear of letting herself give in to physical desire. She knows that she wants Jordan, but feels that enjoying sex with him would destroy her. This is the sole reason she has been rejecting Jordan. I would have enjoyed this book if the cause for Katherine's conflict weren't so ridiculous. She acts like a rape victim and has no real reason for it. It would even be more understandable if she had grown up in the shadow of her father or community members constantly vilifying her mother or something, but she didn't. Jordan was nice enough, but I spent all my time being annoyed with Katherine for being such an idiot that I just couldn't enjoy the read.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Latin Passion

Penny Kennedy approaches Lucas Darien to try to persuade him not to evict her father. When she arrives at his office, Lucas and his secretary assume that she is Mildred Bancroft, the new personal assistant they have been waiting for (even though Mildred should be in her 50s and Penny is only 28). Lucas reveals that he is looking for some important papers that he needs in order to evict an old man (who happens to be Penny's father); if the papers can't be found, the eviction will not be able to go ahead. Penny decides to pretend to be Mildred and take the opportunity to locate the papers in order to hide them. Instead, she ends up falling into bed (and in love) with Lucas. What will her father do when he finds out she is sleeping with the enemy? What will Lucas do when the real Mildred shows up?

The whole premise of this plot was ludicrous. Lucas is expecting a woman in her 50s to show up, but when someone in her 20s appears he assumes it's her? He then assumes that she must have lied on her resume, but he's fine with hiring her anyway?  He doesn't find it odd that she doesn't want to give him her personal details so that he can pay her? Lucas can't go ahead with the eviction without his copy of the deed to the property? Lucas knows that permission for redevelopment of the property was obtained illegally which is why he's in a rush to start, but he's supposedly an honest businessman. Penny spends all her time conflicted over lying to Lucas, but just can't bring herself to telling him the truth. Every time she wants to spill the beans, she gets too distracted by his hot body. If you don't care about sill plots and characters, you may be able to enjoy this book. Lucas is nice enough and isn't an arrogant womaniser, so typical of Harlequin Presents heroes. Nevertheless, this book is basically a trashy romance. There's no depth and you won't get any more enjoyment out of reading this than reading a magazine article.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thirty-Day Fiancé

Olivia Polnecek is a twenty-six year old college freshman who seems to like stripping naked in front of her open window to apply oil after her showers. When her apartment catches on fire one evening, she is rescued by her sexy neighbour, Nick Nolan. Nick is a member of the Bad Boys Club which we met in The You-Can't-Make-Me-Bride. He also happens to be Olivia's childhood saviour who sustained a broken nose protecting her and her barbie dolls from her bullying brother, Butch. Nick suggests Olivia move in with him until she can find a new place to stay. One day a society reporter decides to announce in a newspaper that Nick and Olivia are engaged.

The way Nick and Olivia handle the erroneous engagement announcement is simply ludicrous. For some reason, Nick decides that they must now pretend to be madly in love with each other and engaged to each other for a month before they can pretend to break up. I tried not to think too deeply about this and just accept it in the spirit of enjoying a trashy romance, but I really couldn't understand why Olivia feels pressured to act like she loves him in public. If they're going to break up in a month's time, it would actually make more sense for them to be a little cool with each other. Anyway, they obviously end up falling in love and into bed, even though Olivia was determined not to get involved with anyone for her first semester of college and Nick is a confirmed bachelor. Nick suggests they continue with their current living arrangement and fake engagement for longer than the thirty days, to which Olivia realises that she is in love with him and must therefore behave in the typical non-sensical romance heroine way by packing her bags and running away whilst Nick is at work. This sort of thing just annoys me. She doesn't try to talk to Nick. She doesn't give him any chance at all to respond to her feelings. Olivia just packs her bags with no warning and leaves a pathetic terse note on the kitchen table. This wasn't a bad book, but I don't like characters who make absolutely no effort to fight for their love. Nick's a nice enough guy but I just couldn't make myself like Olivia.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Brazilian Millionaire's Love-child

Alejandro Cabral and Isobel meet at a party one night and immediately have the hots for each other. After many protestations from Isobel that she isn't interested in casual sex and Alejandro responding that he isn't looking for or offering it, they end up having unprotected sex. While lying in post-coital bliss, Alejandro receives an urgent call from his father in Brazil begging him to return as soon as possible to handle an emergency concerning Alejandro's unofficial fiancée, Miranda. He leaves immediately, promising Isobel that he will be in touch. Naturally, Isobel isn't convinced; they've just had sex and now he's running off without even having time to have a shower. Skipping ahead three years, Alejandro has never been in touch with Isobel again and she is now a single mother. She goes to Brazil on a work assignment only to discover that Alejandro engineered the whole thing so that he could meet her again now that he has somehow found out about their daughter.

If you can't tell from my tone thus far, I didn't like this book. It turns out that Alejandro was seriously injured in a car accident two months after he left Isobel and that is his excuse for never getting in contact with her. He was worried that his injuries would put her off, so instead he marries Miranda. Talk about lame excuses. The accident occurred two months after he slept with Isobel; as far as I am concerned, if he really cared about her, he would have been in touch with her already especially considering she could have been pregnant (the possibility of which Alejandro acknowledged when he left her). He is bitter that Isobel didn't somehow get in touch with him to tell him that she was pregnant, in spite of the fact that he left her the way he did and didn't even give her his contact details. He figures she could have contacted him via his company's website. Ughh. As for Isobel, she has every reason to be bitter. She was basically left pregnant after a one-night stand with a guy who made all sorts of promises to her. Now she finds out that he pretty much got married straight after, and she realises that Alejandro and Miranda were obviously already involved when he slept with her. Yet what does she do? She is so concerned about Alejandro's manly pride that instead of calling him to account for his actions, she grabs the chance to have unprotected sex with him yet again. To be fair, this time Alejandro believes that he is sterile because the doctors told him after his accident that he may never  be able to have children. The reader of course realises that this means one of two possibilities: Isobel will get pregnant forcing a reconciliation between them, or; Isobel will get pregnant in the epilogue. The final reconciliation between Isobel and Alejandro was simply unbelievable, which pretty much sums up their whole relationship I suppose. Alejandro explains why he didn't get in touch with Isobel and she tearily tells him that she has always loved him far too much to ever turn him away even three years ago. It just didn't gel for me. They had a one-night stand. Actually not even that, and yet I am supposed to believe that they were in love? I am not even convinced about the so-called emergency that made Alejandro leave. Miranda was a drug addict and nothing her family did or said could make her see reason, so they wanted Alejandro to come talk to her. Doesn't sound like something he had to get out of bed and fly home immediately for. Definitely not something so urgent that he couldn't take the time to leave his contact details with Isobel. Ughh, I really didn't like this book at all. Alejandro and Isobel are just pathetic.

Italian Marriage: In Name Only

Antonio Cavelli's father has agreed to retire and hand over the family company to him when he produces a wife and child. Victoria Heart owns a restaurant on property that Antonio is trying to purchase. He agrees to pay for her to relocate her restaurant if she will agree to marry him, thus providing him with a ready made family.

The innumerable reasons category romance heros come up with to persuade women to marry them will never cease to amaze me. Why don't handsome millionaires ever offer me marriages of convenience? I swear I wouldn't be offended the way most heroines are. Victoria is angry at the proposal, and deeply suspicious of Antonio's motives (which he does not disclose to her) even after his assurances that he doesn't expect the marriage to be consummated. Well, no woman wants to be told with absolute assurance by a hunky man that she doesn't need to worry about him wanting to have sex with her so I guess that's fair enough.

Antonio is very bitter towards his father who was a serial adulterer. He knows his father wants him to have a son to carry on the family name and genes, so he decides to meet his requirement of producing a wife and child by presenting a wife with a son who is no blood relation to himself. He genuinely sees the marriage as a simple business deal and doesn't want to confuse things with actually getting involved with Victoria. Nevertheless he does promise her that he won't be unfaithful to her for as long as their marriage lasts, which I found very honourable. Considering the fact that he doesn't intend to have sex with her, many other heros would continue sleeping with other women and merely promise to be "discreet" about it. Not Antonio, and this alone raised him so high in my estimation that I would have forgiven him much.  There wasn't really anything to forgive though. He's generally a nice guy who is wary of commitment. He saw how much his father hurt his mother and himself and he doesn't want to do that to anyone. What a refreshing hero! He's not bitter and cynical about women and he's never cruel to Victoria. I really, really liked him.

Victoria plays the Ugly Duckling heroine, starting out plain in dumpy clothes and overlarge glasses, and miraculously transforming into a swan with the assistance of designer clothing and contact lenses. Of course Antonio suspected from the beginning that her shapeless clothes and unflattering hairstyle were hiding a hottie. What I liked about Victoria's transformation is that she does it herself and not even deliberately. She gets the opportunity to dress up for a party, so she does. That's all there is to it.

Overall I enjoyed this book. It wasn't mind-blowingly fabulous, but it was definitely a nice read.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Greek's Virgin Bride

Nikos Vassilis has clawed his way up from the gutter to become a successful (and very wealthy) businessman. Acquiring Coustakis Inudstries will be the pinnacle of his achievements, but in order to do this he must marry Yiorgos Coustakis' grand-daughter. Andrea Fraser has never met her grandfather who cast her mother aside when his son made her pregnant, until she receives a letter summoning her to his home. Andrea decides to see him in the hopes of getting enough money to pay off her family debts and to move her sick mother to a better home.

Yes, this is indeed yet another "Blackmailed Into Marriage" plot, but it's a good one. Nikos is very annoying at the beginning: arrogantly accepting marriage to a woman he has never even seen or heard of; contemplating the need to be more discreet with his mistresses once he is married so as not to shame his wife etc. He does intend to be a good husband in his own way, but he's obviously completely clueless as to what lies ahead for him.

Yiorgos is simply awful. He is a horrid man who finally gets his comeuppance; no cheesy happy ending with him suddenly realising the error of his ways. He actually hits Andrea twice in front of Nikos, who unfortunately doesn't do anything about it apart from reprimanding Andrea for provoking her grandfather. It takes Nikos a whole day to finally get mad about Andrea being struck which really didn't endear him to me. Sure it's a different culture, but for a man to allow someone to beat on his fiancée in front of him is just not on, and I think most cultures would not find this acceptable (even if they would find it all right for the husband/fiancé to be doing the hitting). Nikos assumes that Andrea has been brought up with her grandfather's wealth, and is simply wilful and spoilt. He can't comprehend how she can be so unappreciative of her good fortune and so disrespectful to Yiorgos even if he is an ass. Once he finds out the truth of her background and Yiorgos' treatment of her and her mother, everything changes, and I found myself cheering him on.

Andrea was great. She actually plans ahead. She knows that she can't trust Yiorgos, and smartly makes plans to ensure her own well-being. She's not afraid to stand up to him. It's great to have a heroine with some brains. Of course she does the usual, "I've just realised I'm in love with my husband! He must never know!" trick which I have never understood, and runs away as soon as Nikos turns his back on her. I kind of understand that it was difficult for her to talk to him since she was fully aware that he married her to get her grandfather's business, but the way she leaves him is kind of odd and forced. It's clearly done to force the resolution of the story and get everyone declaring their undying love for each other. I would have found it much more natural if Andrea had just opened up and explained everything to Nikos before running away, or at the very least explaining it in her farewell letter. It probably wouldn't have been as exciting, but it would have been a lot more natural and still give Nikos his chance to shine.

I loved this book. It doesn't quite make my Must read pile, but it is definitely worth taking a look at.

The Wealthy Greek's Contract Wife

Ilios Manos, the wealthy greek of the title, needs a wife to prevent his cousin Tino from claiming their ancestral home. English interior designer Elizabeth (Lizzie) Wareham has looked after her two younger sisters and her two nephews after the death of her parents six years ago. Ilios offers to ignore the debt Lizzie inadvertently owes him, as well as give her £100,000 if she agrees to marry him for as long as it takes for Tino to back off.

Ahh yes, another "Blackmailed Into Marriage" story. It never ceases to amaze me how many reasons wealthy men can come up with to blackmail women into marrying them, and how easily the women in question are coerced. I guess the idea is that these women have too much integrity to be seduced by the men's billions or undeniable sex appeal, and therefore need some other inducement. It's generally imperative for the reader to not look too deeply into the reason for the marriage or the blackmail employed, because they are flimsy and not really believable. The Wealthy Greek Contract's Wife is no exception. Apparently Tino wishes to challenge Ilios' right to inherit the family home due to the fact that he isn't married and has no heirs. I seriously doubt Tino has any hope at all of winning, and Ilios' lawyers agree, though they warn Ilios against a lengthy drawn out legal battle. Considering the fact that Ilios is a billionaire whilst his cousin is practically bankrupt, I think it's clear that Tino is the one who can't afford the dispute, not Ilios. Lizzie gets mixed up with Ilios when a client offers her 20% ownership of an apartment block she was hired to decorate, in lieu of payment. Unbeknownst to her, not only was this apartment block built illegally and fraudulently, but under the partnership agreement she is also liable for the debts of the whole partnership. I find it hard to believe that Lizzie's solicitor would have advised her to accept an agreement like this; who accepts 100% liability for only 20% ownership? Ilios sends a threatening legal letter to Lizzie demanding her presence in Thessalonica to deal with undisclosed legal and financial matters. Instead of calling her lawyer, or calling Ilios or his lawyer, she flies out with no idea what is going on... I wondered if she had ever heard of a telephone, but it turns out she has a mobile. Lizzie and Ilios agree to marry, yet there's no mention of a pre-nuptial agreement which I find hard to swallow considering how deliberate and calculating Ilios is. Anyway, if you can suspend your disbelief over the setup of the plot, this was a good read.

Ilios grew up without any love but with a strong sense of duty. Unlike many heroes, he is not cruel and arrogant, and he isn't a serial womaniser. In fact, he hasn't had sex in over a year. It's so refreshing to have a Greek tycoon hero who doesn't have a string of mistresses to make the heroine's life hell. The only time Ilios is cruel is right at the end when he says some nasty things in the heat of the moment to create the conflict that makes him admit his love. Cheesy yes, but acceptable under the circumstances, and he regrets it almost immediately.

Lizzie was nice, too. She is a genuinely loving person and doesn't play any weird games with Ilios. She does have a couple clichéd romance heroine responses to things namely

  1. Upon realising her love for Ilios, Lizzie "realises" that she must never let him know;
  2. Upon finding out she is pregnant, Lizzie decides she wants to go from the "Blackmailed Into Marriage" plot to the "Secret Baby" plot. She doesn't want to tell Ilios that she is pregnant, but would rather go home to her sisters and raise her baby secretly.
Nevertheless, I actually liked Lizzie. She's just nice and refreshingly honest with Ilios about her desire for him and we have none of that annoying, "I hate him but I want him" angst so often seen in other heroines.

Overall, I recommend this book. I liked the characters and it was an enjoyable way to pass the time.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Yesterday's Echoes

Rosie was raped by Ritchie when she was 16. Ritchie's cousin, 23 year old Jake Lucas, found them just after the deed was done, and assumed that Rosie had been a willing participant and exploring her own sexuality. Jake had been in love with Rosie and was already despising himself for falling in love with a teenager. Upon finding her postcoitus with his cousin, he is insanely jealous and hates himself even more for it. Rosie saw his derision and assumed it was directed at herself. Jake's condemnation combines with her guilt and shame to make her unable to ever tell anyone what really happened, and the story begins 15 years later with Rosie still suffering from the trauma of her rape; she has never been able to have a relationship with a man because she can't face the possibility that they will blame her for the rape. Jake and Rosie meet up, she finally tells him what happened and he realises how much he inadvertently hurt her and why she has always hated him.

I found Rosie's trauma quite realistic. What wasn't realistic was the almost instant sexual healing at Jake's hands. Of course this is a common theme in category romances; the sexually frigid heroine who has never been able to respond to any man magically comes alive and orgasms with the studly hero. This is naturally because she loves him. No reason is ever given for Rosie and Jakes feelings for each other and the reader just has to accept the fact that they have always been in love with each other. If you can accept these things without delving too deeply, this was a nice read.