Monday! Columbus Day! And SBD!
Also, belated Thanksgiving wishes to my friends in Canada. Hope your turkey wasn’t dry, your family didn’t make you crazy, and that there were no scary surprises dropped when everyone gathered around the table. (Whew, that probably tells you something about my family’s Thanx, doesn’t it?)
This weekend I read Robyn Donald’s October Harlequin Presents, His Majesty’s Mistress. <sigh> Hate the title. Hate it. There’s no mistressing going on within the book, so I’m guessing that particular title was selected because it had to contain a certain number of the HP good sale buzz words. Y’know, billionaire, virgin, tycoon, mistress, pregnant, royal title of some sort.
Anyhow, HMM was not a bad book at all. In fact, I rather enjoyed it. As I’ve repeated ad nauseum, Robyn Donald’s older HPs are favorites. Her more recent releases have become typical HPs, which disappoints me a bit. The made up kingdom of Illyria, and all of the ancillary royals, don’t come across on the page as well as New Zealand (her typical older setting), I think. They seem rather generic, while Donald’s details about New Zealand are concrete enough to ground the story with a very particular sense of place. In HMM, the hero is an Illyrian prince (must have royalty to sell HPs today!) but the book itself is set almost entirely in New Zealand, on the heroine’s farm/station on the North Island. The two meet on holiday and have a fling there, but then the plot move into their real lives. Although the mechanism used for the Big Misunderstanding is kind of irritating — could the heroine not talk to the hero? confront the Other Woman? Of course not, because communicating instead of jumping to conclusions would end the story too soon — the story itself was alright. [Meet on holiday, fall in lust, have Big Mis, hiss and spit at each other for awhile, finally break tension and make up.] As Jane might say, the ass to doormat ratio was fairly good. The hero, while very alpha, wasn’t painfully overbearing, and the heroine had no problem whatsoever standing up to him. In fact, one of the things that intrigued him about her most was that she gave him his walking papers, rather than being clingy. B /B-from me.
It’s a good thing that I bought a copy automatically when I saw Donald’s name on the cover, because reading the back blurb would’ve had me dropping the book like a hot potato:
The prince’s bride — by royal decree!
On the idyllic Pacific island of Fala’isi, Giselle Foster is swept off her feet and into the bed of a devastatingly gorgeous stranger — only to discover she’s given away her purity to renowned playboy Prince Roman Magnati!
Giselle knows she can never be part of Roman’s glamorous existence, and decides to end their torrid affair. But her inexperience and refusal to succumb to his touch make Roman more determined to claim her — as his royal bride!
Oh, where to start.
+ There was no sweeping. Giselle was attracted and decided to have a vacation fling.
+ He wasn’t a total stranger by the time they made sheet music.
+ Purity? The idea that a woman’s value or innocence or whatever lies between her legs drives me insane. Please.
+ In the story, Roman didn’t come across as a playboy, for all that he had appeared in tabloids.
+ The torrid affair was scheduled to last only 4 days, while they were on vacation. There was no angst about lifestyles or big drama when the fling ended. (That all came later.)
The very last sentence about the hero being attracted to the heroine’s backbone is true…but even he wasn’t sure what he wanted from her (other than sex) until nearly the end of the book.
The writing of a back blurb is an art — how does one condense >180 pages of plot into <100 words, and use certain buzz words at the same time? But it is also an exercise in salesmanship — how can this book be dressed up to appeal to the highest number of consumers? Sometimes, though, it seems like in the effort to appeal to the average HP reader (whoever that is), the blurb writers lose the actual plot of the book at hand. Or exaggerate it out of existence.
The blurb I would paste onto the back of this book? Well, something like this:
On the idyllic Pacific island of Fala’isi, Giselle and Roman are swept off their feet and into a passionate holiday relationship — only to discover that conflicting business interests put them on separate sides of a bargaining table.
Disturbed by hints of a personal conflict for Roman, not just a business one, Giselle ends their tryst early and returns home to clean up the aftermath of a family disaster. Roman, attracted by Giselle’s strong will and work ethic, refuses to accept her dismissal, and sparks fly.
No, I’m not a writer of any sort, so feel free to savage that suggestion. But the first sentence makes the attraction seem less one-sided, and the second paragraph is less about social status and more about their actual conflict than the original version.
But what do I know? I just read the books…although fewer now than I used to.