Saturday, February 19, 2011

Still Waiting to Like This Heroine

Provocative in Pearls
By Madeline Hunter

Really, where to begin?

Basic plot premise: Arranged marriage between penniless earl and ironworks heiress. Heiress has evil, greedy guardian with social-climbing wife; both earl and heiress wronged. Heiress runs away. Earl finds her two years later. Heiress wants to return to hometown and ironworks and right some wrongs; earl needs her money to take care of his estates and starving tenants. Passion ensues. After much tedium, so does teamwork, so wrongs are righted and all live happily ever after, with the exception of the evil guardian and wife.

The plot certainly has potential. The hero, though rather high-handed, at least shows some degree of introspection and willingness to compromise. The heroine is a sef-righteous twit with the maturity and single-mindedness of a tweenybopper trying to get to a Justin Bieber concert. Granted, she's been very badly treated, but the fact that I didn't feel more sympathy for her (and I wanted to, just as I wanted to actually like her) makes it clear that the character was just too wooden to engage me. By the time her full back story came out, I really didn't care.

This book does have some things going for it though. The relationship between the male characters was both realistic and entertaining. I would actually pick up another book in this series of it featured one of the secondary characters here.

And therein lies the problem: when the best thing about a romance novel is the male bonding, something is very, very wrong.

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