by Robyn Donald, contemporary (2008)
Harlequin Mills & Boon, £2.99, ISBN 978-0-263-86412-0
On the bright side, His Majesty's Mistress is a much better title than the author's previous book, Virgin Bought And Paid For, don't you think? I don't blame anyone who takes a look at this author's titles and immediately assumes that Robyn Donald writes stories of sleazy white slavery though.
This one is a familiar story. New Zealander heroine Giselle Foster is forced to go on a vacation in Coconut Beach in the Pacific island of Fala'isi (not to be confused with the drow stronghold in Menzoberranzan) because like every other romance heroine out there, she can work her fingers to the bone but she's not saving the family farm any time soon. Romance heroines - they work hard, they have the enthusiasm, but bless them, they don't have a bloody clue and never have. So, here she is, reading and basking in the sun when she realizes that she has accidentally intruded in the neighboring island that is the private property of Prince Roman Magnati. He's a Mediterranean Prince - I guess the quota for Greek tycoons has been filled up by other authors for this month - and before I know it, he's deflowering Giselle like nobody's business.
I have no problems with Roman because for a cliché of an arrogant prince whose "seductiveness" usually translates to whacking the woman figuratively with his caveman club until she succumbs because he's so hot and sexy that way, he's not too annoying. At least, not as annoying as the heroine because oh my goodness, Giselle is born to be annoying.
From the get go, this braindead creature is actively finding reasons to believe that Roman can never love her. It's ridiculous. First it's because she's a "farm laborer" - she actually manages the farm, and badly if I may add, but hey, let's not stop a heroine from wearing the hair suit. Then it's because she's not beautiful. Then it's because... oh, she has many reasons, most of which are pulled out of her shapely behind. The problem here is, Giselle isn't playing hard to get in a "Pshaw, did you call me sexy? I don't believe it, sirrah, so please tell me how sexy I am again!" manner. She's actively sabotaging herself by leaping to conclusions about how apparently disgusting she is just so that there is a "conflict" constantly going on in this story. Even close to the last page, she's going, "Oh, I love him! But I know he doesn't love me!" even when I could have screamed that she really doesn't know as I grab her head and bash it against the wall again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and boy does that feel good to type all that out!
I don't know what kind of complex Giselle has or whether the complex is congenital or due to spending too long among the sheep in her farm, but the entire "conflict" in this story is Giselle again and again jumping to bizarre conclusions that Roman is just using her. It's ridiculous because she's actually drop dead gorgeous even as she insists repetitively that she's not pretty enough for Roman. It's insane that if she really believes that he doesn't love her, she still goes back to him all the while playing that same old song on her tiny violin. Where's her bloody self-esteem?
I don't care if the rest of the book is pure gold - which it isn't - because the heroine is a certified nutbar who needs to take her precious so-easily-given-away virginity and choke on it.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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