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Lynne Graham

REVIEW:  The Spanish Billionaire’s Pregnant Wife by Lynne Graham

REVIEW: The Spanish Billionaire’s Pregnant Wife by Lynne Graham

Dear Ms. Graham:

This book was re-released by Harlequin Presents to look less Harlequin Presents-y and more upscale contemporary romance. The inside however, is classic Harlequin Presents. A young, down on her luck waitress slash potter spends a torrid evening with a wealthy Spanish billionaire only to find herself pregnant because neither of them use birth control during their one night of stranger sex.  Given that Leandro Carrera Marquez, Duque de Sandoval, needs an heir, he quickly decides that Molly the waitress will be his next wife.

The Spanish Billionaire's Pregnant WifeThe opening of the story slides from interesting to embarrassing. Leandro is presented as a near god in his life, the patriarch of his venerable family. His clothes are laid out for him, fresh towels are brought to his toilette every morning, and as he descends the castillo stairs, he is greeted by no less than three of his servants.

Having been greeted by Basilio, his major-domo, and two maidservants at the foot of the stairs with much the same pomp and ceremony that the first duque would have received in the fifteenth century, Leandro was ushered into breakfast.

Yet when we move to London where Leandro meets our intrepid heroine, we are presented with clumsy head hops from character to character as well as rather forced physical attraction between the heroine and Leandro at a wedding reception that Molly is working. Consider the rather cliched line that closes chapter one after Leandro has been ushered out onto the balcony after interceding between Molly and three drunken wedding guests.

‘There were three of them and only one of you.’ Molly stretched up on tiptoe to brush her fingertips very gently over the darkening bruise forming on his olive skin. ‘You could have got really badly hurt and I feel guilty enough. I’ve brought you some food. Please eat something.’

‘I’m not hungry for anything but you,’ Leandro breathed thickly.

This was one book that I felt would have been better served if we started at the pregnancy than try to watch these two rather mismatched pair try to convince we readers that their lust was too strong to resist after a few glances across the canape tray, particularly given that Molly was a virgin.  Moreover, the invitation issued by Leandro after their one night together to become his mistress didn’t really match up with the cool headed, but bored banker presented in the opening pages.  Leandro, in particular, is kind of a bland HP hero.  He has some anxiety over his previous poor marriage and his wife’s subsequent death.

Molly was more interesting than the standard HP heroine.  She waitressed to pay for the bills but she wasn’t destitute.  Her pottery was something she was passionate about.  While she didn’t have family, she did have a few friends. In other words, turning down the mistress position didn’t mean she went without food and companionship.   Further, she’s always challenging Leandro, taking vocal issue with his presumptuousness, and refusing to simply be ordered about by him or intimidated by his wealth and title.

Leandro isn’t much of an asshole either; just someone used to getting his own way and being catered to. That part was set up nicely with just a few paragraphs in the opening of the book.  My major issue with this book was that the overly sexual tones of the book didn’t work for me because I wasn’t entirely convinced that these two were in lust.  In HP world, there is a fairly low doormat to asshole ratio and a high sensuality content. I can see why it was chosen for reissue even if the coupling of these two didn’t work for me. C

Best regards,

Jane

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GUEST REVIEW: Harlequin Treasury Crime of Passion by Lynne Graham

GUEST REVIEW: Harlequin Treasury Crime of Passion by Lynne Graham

Fifteen years ago, I wasn’t reading category romances, so all the books that have recently been released in the Harlequin Treasury are new to me. I’m not reading with the rose-tinted spectacles of nostalgia. What I am doing is glomming backlists for some of my current favourite authors. Or, I thought I would be. But what I’m mostly doing is being disappointed that Old Skool category romances are, well, Old Skool. There have been some I didn’t finish (Sandra Marton’s ‘The Divorcee Said Yes‘) and some I wished I hadn’t bothered finishing (Anne McAllister’s ‘A Baby For Christmas‘). But then I started on your books. For me Graham’s books epitomize Harlequin Presents, complete with too-stupid-to-live heroines, alphole heroes, ludicrous plots and overwrought emotions. I know, I know, that Graham’s books ought to offend and irritate me in all sorts of ways. And yet I can’t stop reading them.

Crime of Passion Lynne GrahamSo it was very reassuring to find that 15 year old Lynne Graham books are no different from the newer ones. ‘Crime of Passion‘ begins with our TSTL heroine, Georgie, in a police cell in Bolivia with no money, no passport and no way of communicating with the Spanish-speaking police officer. Seriously, even in 1995 it wasn’t hard to pick up a Rough Guide before you got on the plane. Fortunately, she does know one person in Bolivia: Rafael Berganza. Unfortunately, he’s the man who broke her heart four years earlier.

If you’ve ever read a Lynne Graham (or indeed any HP), you don’t need me to fill in the rest of the plot. But just in case you haven’t, this is how it plays out: he calls her a whore, then abducts her to exact his revenge; she turns out to be a virgin so he is overcome with remorse and insists on marrying her. Then it turns out that they’ve both been in love with each other all along.

Part of me wishes that Lynne Graham would actually start looking up words in the dictionary before she uses them at random in her books. The other part of me loves giggling at expressions such as ‘plunging upright’ and ‘obliging the information’. That’s the same part of me that loves it when heroines have baths without locking the door. Oh, by the way, the cover depicts an actual scene from the story, with the right colour hair on the heroine. That would never happen in a modern HP. Other things that don’t happen in modern HPs: the hero smokes.

I don’t think this book will make it into my top ten Lynne Grahams. There’s just a little bit too much bogglement, even for me. Rafael is really very unpleasant indeed for the first half of the book and Georgie behaves like an irrational child for most of the book. There’s also a scene which I thought was heading towards forced seduction but was fortunately stopped by a phone call. But there are some things about it that I did like. I especially liked the way Georgie and Rafael fight. Their insults are never generic, instead they show just how well these two know how to hurt each other the most. I did wish that their fights could sometimes end without him kissing her, particularly since Georgie suffers from an unfortunate syndrome whereby a single touch from Rafael renders her body wholly beyond her control.

There are scanning errors in the book. My favourite was Rafael’s aunt, Tia Paola, who often appears to be called Ha. I don’t think the errors are much worse than current HP’s and they didn’t particularly drag me out of the story.
I can’t give this book more than a C- but I’ll be checking the other books of yours from the Treasury. I can’t stop myself.

Ros at theoldshed.me

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