by Candace Camp, historical (1999)
Mira, $5.99, ISBN 1-55166-508-5
Maybe I have a most skewed notion of good and bad, but I love my family. And if someone accuses my brother - falsely, I'm sure of it - of corruption, driving my brother to suicide, I may just vow revenge and I will attempt to clear his name, just like the heroine Julia Armiger in this book. But when Julia just plain bungles up the whole scheme thanks to her incompetence and hormones, I find it hard to respect her. That hinders my enjoyment of this otherwise readable book. A lot.
First off, it's just creepy that she would find the man she professes to hate utterly devastatingly attractive. Secondly, this woman doesn't just forget about her vows of revenge and clearing her brother's name every time she falls into Deverel Grey's arms, she practically gets amnesia. I don't find woman like this noble, virtuous (after all, she can't go through her heinous revenge plan, etc, etc) or even likeable. She's just fickle. Incompetent. A slave to her hormones. I respect a woman who sticks to her resolutions and promises. A woman bent on revenge falling for her target has been done more plausibly - and more importantly, realistically - by authors like Mary Jo Putney. Those heroines demonstrate an attraction to the hero in a most realistic manner - they sees the goodness in the man they want to destroy. The heroines abandon their plans only after they realize they are wrong or if the hero is wrong, they stick to it until he apologizes and begs for forgiveness. Now that is what I admire. Not Julia who gives up everything after just one kiss. Coward. Half-hearted traitor to her brother. Ooh, someone put her in a motivation seminar! You do not give up your plans to redeem your family name because he makes your body all a-quiver with desire.
Anyway, I must say while this book has a heroine that makes me see red, the writing glows. Deverel Grey, when he's not being annoyingly high-handed, is a rather likable hero. He has the sense to admit that he may be a bit hasty in his judgment of Julia's brother, his best friend, although he doesn't show enough remorse for my liking.
I'm sure others will enjoy this book. Only that I get really irritated by stereotypical heroines who just lose all perspective and good sense in the hero's manly embrace. That's not romantic demonstration of attraction. That's an inability to control one's baser instincts.
This book at Amazon.com
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