by Susanne James, contemporary (2008)
Harlequin Mills & Boon, £2.99, ISBN 978-0-263-86421-2
I don't know what the author is thinking to name her heroine Candida. On the bright side, at least her name is Candida Greenway and not, say, Candida Albicans, because that will be really unfortunate indeed. No, I don't know whether the sequels featuring her sisters Salmonella and Trypanosoma are forthcoming - you have best ask the author about that.
On the bright side, this Candida does not irritate as much as her yeast counterpart. In fact, I may even go as far as to say that Candida is actually, for once, "modern" like the imprint would suggest, since she says more than once here that her life will go on and she will be fine without the hero. Candida has all the trappings for a familiar Harlequin heroine - she is in her late twenties, her job is actually more like an accessory to accentuate the other stereotypical aspects of her character, and she is not socially or sexually active. However, she also displays a pretty level head when it comes to her relationship with the hero. She is not one of those horribly spineless twits who will just die without a man to love her, and I really like that aspect of Candida.
The story, however, isn't much as it is a very slow-moving story about how she and Maximus Seymour get to know each other and eventually fall in love. There are not much here in terms of actual conflicts, just small little moments as those two spend more time in each other's company. Max is a very rich man who is also a successful writer while Candida is an aspiring writer whose day job is interior decorating. They get to meet because his sister hires her. That's pretty much it, really.
Max is a stereotypical arrogant type with more bluster than sense. Normally I'd say this guy is insufferable, but while Candida is not exactly confrontational when he's being a jackass, she does not take his nonsense lying down too often. This makes a potentially lop-sided relationship more palatable to me.
The writing can be on the clunky side though, with constant abrupt head-hopping and too many sentences that end with an exclamation mark.
Rather unpolished at times, The British Billionaire Affair is still a pretty readable story. At the very least, it doesn't try too hard to make the hero an alpha male or the heroine a spineless doormat like too many other books in the Harlequin Mills & Boon Modern line, and for that alone, Ms James should get at least one thumbs up gesture from me. It's really a shame about the heroine's name though.
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