Saturday, December 31, 2011

What Love Endures

What Love Endures

by Elizabeth Glenn


This is a very old Harlequin Superromance (1983), by the same secret dev author who wrote Taste for Love, one of Devo Girl's favorite romances. All of Elizabeth Glenn/Marcy Gray's books are set in small towns in Texas, and all feature heroes with various disabilities. In this one, psychiatrist Mark Bradford is an amputee, having lost his right arm at the shoulder when a psychotic patient shot him. Now a year later, he's returned to the small town where he spent his teen years, working in a mental health clinic alongside JC, who had a huge crush on him as a girl. Now that she's all grown up, can she finally get him to notice her?

The story seems to have such promise, but no, it's an ugly story of a nasty, abusive relationship passed off as romance. Mark is an asshole, the kind of guy who even in the 80s would have been labeled a male chauvinist pig. He says outright that he hates women, and even when he's sweet talking JC, he manages to insult her, calling her "little witch." He's dark and brooding, while she's tiny, waif-like, and the whole childhood crush thing gets played up to a creepy degree, including the oft-mentioned fact that even as an adult she still looks like a child. A lot of romances feature this kind of bitter, angry hero, with the idea that the right woman makes him open up about his feelings and show her his tender side. But in this story, Mark just gets more angry and controlling toward JC as the story goes along.

Early in the story, before they can admit their love for each other, Mark talks JC into a marriage of convenience, he says to keep his many admirers from bothering him. His one condition is that JC never ask him any questions about his family, his past, anything at all. He's also extremely paranoid that the unnamed person who shot him will return. None of this makes any sense, but JC just goes along with it, even as Mark stops speaking to her, and flies into a rage whenever she tries to ask what the hell is going on. Eventually she does try to leave, but he brings her back by force and makes her a prisoner in his house. This is not love, it's abuse. Mark's behavior is excused and condoned, while JC is the one at fault for daring to ask, who is this crazy person I married. Ugh. No "love" should have to endure this kind of behavior.

This was so disappointing, because Glenn is a good writer--she really knows how to linger over the devvy details-- and there are so few romances with amputee heroes. It's really an opportunity missed.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bid for a Wife

Bid for a Wife
by Ann Ruth Nordin


review by Aubrey

Circumstances leave Lucy all alone in a strange town in the 18th Century. Keen not to have to return home to her evil twin sister the towns folks marry her off to Brian, who is blind and therefore they recon doesn't have too many options. He turns out to be incredibly sweet and loving and is far from second best. All the characters are very likeable. Brian copes very well with his blindness and the Dev factor isn't too bad, in fact great in some places. There is a thriller edge to the book towards the end. It is ok, not one to read and re read like I do with Taste of Love.

Blind with Love

Blind With Love, by Becca Jameson

review by Aubrey

I really enjoyed this book but the ending let me down. It is the sort that you cannot wait to bedtime to read it. All the characters are very distinctive from each other, their backstories slipped in so smoothly a real lesson to any authors in learning. The dialogue is natural and not cheesy. The male lead is very sexy and complete, the female lead is easy to identify with. They both are set up by his sister (her best friend). We get straight to the punch, no messing around. The leads are meeting each other in a pivotal moment in their lives where the following day everything will change for them forever. That in itself is a very interesting angle. Their emotions so split between the happiness of finding a soul mate but then the grief that it is too late. What I really hated was the ending. From a Dev point of view the guy gains his sight which didn't need to happen for the story and there is a really annoying twist. The sex scene, although really steamy and originally written was about 20 pages too long for me (or 20% as I read it on my kindle). This probably is just me as it is for the erotic market so it is part and parcel for that genre for the characters to take to their bed of months (or it just feels like that for me.)

But ultimately this book held a fantastic promise that included absolutely everything I would want in a gripping romance story. If I reread it I will just stop at about 80%.