Seduction At Whispering Lakes
by Linda Hudson-Smith, contemporary (2011)
Kimani, $6.25, ISBN 978-0-373-86230-6


Linda Hudson-Smith's Seduction At Whispering Lakes is supposed to be a romance novel, but it reads more like a transcript of a reality TV show. Lucky me, I get to follow China Braxton, a nurse on vacation, as she arrives at Whispering Lakes Resorts, a beautiful rustic Texan paradise of a place. I get to follow her as she gawks at the hero Zaire Kingdom's awesome physique, sighs at how everyone else except the designated couple of the next book is so in love with each other, and predictably falls in love with Zaire. Conflict? Plot? What's that? This story is all about following China on a day-to-day basis as she frolics in the land of smelly cattle. I guess the characters occasionally moaning about how they will continue to deal after China's vacation is over counts as a "conflict", but it's a tedious one. There is a really bizarre and pointless development involving Zane's insane girlfriend later in the story, but it's resolved so quickly that it may as well not be there.

And if this is a reality TV show, it's one that is most likely going to be canceled after two episodes for boring the audience silly. The only thing mildly amusing about this story is the names of the hero and his brothers - Zurich, Zaire, and Zane. Zane's lucky - his name could have been Zimbabwe Kingdom, which would make a pretty awkward mouthful. The author for some reason had developed an allergy to personal pronouns while writing this book, so the names of the characters are repeated every single paragraph, especially during a conversation. Therefore, when the three brothers are in the same scene, things can become unintentionally hilarious as every sentence where all three brothers' names are present becomes a tongue-twister.

The rest of the story is blandness personified. Zaire has once been hurt by love before, but he has no problems falling in love with China here. He's so perfect and devoted and loving that, in a story that is without any decent conflict, he becomes one-dimensional and boring. Yes, he'd make a great husband, especially once he shows you his bank account, but as a romance hero, he's just dull. China is equally dull, which is a pity because she does the one thing here that very few romance heroines have the nerve to do - telling the hero's intrusive family members to stop interfering in the relationship between her and Zaire. However, it's not like Zaire's family members are intrusive - they don't intrude as much as they float happily in and out of the story to show off how happily married and fecund they are, with heroines of previous book happily pregnant while their men cherish them like queens. It's nice to know that there are so many happy people in Whispering Lakes Resort, but over 200 pages of people gushing about how happy they are and demonstrating how much in love they are - ugh. There is more compelling drama in the first 10 minutes of an episode of Barney than in the entire book.

Still, this book is not a total loss. Sure, it's utterly bland and devoid of any memorable feature, but at only $6.25, this is probably one of the cheapest sleep aids in the market at the moment.

Rating: 51


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