Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Book Reviews: Romance Novels

So now all the smugness I felt about reading Jane Eyre has faded as I reveal that I read four romance novels in between reading the classic. Hey man, it’s midterm time. I have a history of this.

To Desire A Devil by Elizabeth Hoyt
I was pretty disappointed by this book. The hero returns from the dead (actually he just returns from North America where he’d been held captive by Indians for the past seven years but believed dead by those back home) and asserts his right to his family title, which had passed to the heroine’s uncle.

The romance in this was too much too fast. This guy was held captive for seven years and, at some point, tortured. And although he has some mental health issues from the ordeal, they didn’t really seem too bad. He was ready to jump into bed and into love with the heroine. It just felt like a ruse to me. If an author is going to make the readers anticipate a book (this is the final in a four-part series) because of the whole back-from-the-dead ploy, then she’d better be genuine about how she’s going to resolve it. Any real person that went through what the hero went through would be pretty fucked up in the head, and a pretty little Englishwoman would not be a panacea.

This Duchess of Mine by Eloisa James
I quit reading Eloisa James after the first book in this six-part series, Desperate Duchesses. I intensely disliked that book. But after a few years I caved and read her again. Overall I liked this book even though I totally called the ending about a quarter of the way through. I like the hero and heroine, who are a married couple trying to reconcile after a nine year estrangement. (He’s a duke and needs an heir, hence the reconciliation.)

What I didn’t like was what took the couple so freakin’ long! She loves him, he appears to love her, they have open communication, but for at least half the book they’re just circling around each other. It felt forced to me.

A Duke of Her Own by Eloisa James
I liked this one better than its predecessor. It was a pretty standard romance. I don’t recall there being anything that really jumped out at me, good or bad. Oh yeah, except the fact that the hero was a blockhead about a certain matter. The hero has been a fixture in all six books in the series, and even though I’ve only read two of the previous books, it just seemed like his thought processes in this one did not match the man he appeared to be in the earlier books. That felt forced, too.

By Love Undone by Suzanne Enoch
I thought this was a cute little book. I really believed the affection between the hero and heroine, and I believed the conflict that posed a barrier to their happiness. It’s not an earth shattering piece of literature, but it was good enough for me.

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