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Penny Jordan

Dear Author

BOOK REVIEW: The Sicilian's Baby Bargain by Penny Jordan

Dear Ms. Jordan:

Oh, how I wanted to like this book. You are one of my favorite HP authors but I’ll be the first to admit that when you miss, it’s spectacular.

At the funeral of his youngest half brother, Falcon Leopardi learns of a terrible act perpetrated on a young woman. His deceased brother took it upon himself to drug a shy girl who refused his advances, raped her, impregnated her, and then refused to support the child once it was born.

Falcon immediately sets off to find the mother and the child to bring honor back to the Leopardi name. It is not easy to find Annie (whose last name apparently was so unimportant that I wonder if it was included. I could not find it for the review). Annie had taken her baby and ran away, fearing that her stepbrother would bring some harm upon Ollie. Falcon did find them and gave Annie a choice. Stay in London and live hand to mouth or come to Sicily and allow your child to be given every opportunity. Annie realizes there is no choice and goes to Sicily with Falcon.

Annie’s stepbrother had shown an unnatural interest in Annie since their parents were married. When she had complained about it to her mother, the mother chastised Annie and suggested that perhaps it was Annie’s way of dressing (too short of skirts) or her actions (too flirtatious) was bringing on untoward reaction. The years of disapproval from her mother; the constant inspection by her stepbrother; the rape all conspired to overwhelm Annie with a sense of shame and hatred toward her body.

I thought that you did a fantastic job of setting this story up. When Annie anguishes over the fact that Leopardi family knows of her situation, Falcon corrects her:

"You speak as though you fear being shamed,’ he told her evenly. "But it was Antonio who should have borne that shame. It is we who bear it now, as his family. Not you. It is for us-’for me as the eldest-’to see to it that Antonio’s shame does not contaminate either you or Oliver. You have my word that my brothers feel exactly as I do.’

‘…I suppose you think secretly that I encouraged Antonio-’that I deserved what happened to me?’

‘I think no such thing. I know that you were totally blameless.’

The problem is how the setup is resolved. The characters are forced to get married in order to maintain Annie’s right to parenting of Ollie. Falcon is more than willing to tie himself to Annie, after all the boy looks like he could be Falcon’s biological son; plus, he feels a strong sense of responsibility toward Annie.

Falcon convinces Annie that marriage is the right solution because he can heal her sexually. If you heard a low moaning noise that was my groan echoing across the Atlantic. (and not just because I then had Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye running through my mind for the rest of the book and now again as I write the review).

Annie was so traumatized, first by her stepbrother, then by the abandonment of her mother, and finally by the rape and subsequent pregnancy resulting from that rape, the idea that all this could go away in the fierce passionate embrace of a Leonardi was far fetched to say the least.

This overriding storyline diminished the otherwise lovely Harlequin Presents. At its core, TSBB becomes a story of perceived unrequited love on both sides. Annie falls in love with Falcon but is afraid to divulge this because he has taken on so much for her and Oliver. Falcon cannot tell Annie he loves her because it would add to her burden. The two dance around each other making careful moves which are misinterpreted by the other to somewhat comedic but poignant effect for the reader who is omniscient.

I was simply could not overcome my incredulity at the idea that Annie’s emotional trauma could be overcome with a simple good rogering. I get that these Harlequin Presents heroes are supposed to be godlike in the bedroom but I don’t think even Marvin Gaye could bring on that kind of sexual healing. C-

Best regards

Jane

This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.

REVIEW:  Captive at the Sicillian Billionaire’s Command by Penny Jordan

REVIEW: Captive at the Sicillian Billionaire’s Command by Penny Jordan

Dear Ms. Jordan:

160236e1-4872-4175-be52-cbc5999db2b1img100I’m an admitted fan of the HP line. I think its the length of the book, the emotion impact you get in a short time, and, well, for the lulz. Julie Simmonds is accosted in the street by an expensively clad man standing next to an expensive car. He claims that the child she has been taking care of was fathered by his brother.

Julie is your standard self sacrificing HP heroine. She uses all her money to pay off her dead sister’s debts. She leaves her good job to take on a new one that allows her to parent Josh. She is so close to the edge of poverty that she cannot even eat properly. She even let go of her lover, James, when he fell in love with her sister. James, her sister and their parents all head off to view a place in Scotland that might be the perfect locale for a wedding. The sister’s baby, Josh, is left in Julie’s car. The entire family is killed in a freak accident leaving Julie with tons of debt, little money, and Josh.

Rocco Leopardi does as his family requests. In this instance, he is directed to make contact with Julie, determine the child’s parentage. Rocco obtains Julie’s agreement to bring the child to Siciliy and submit to a DNA test. Apparently staying in London to obtain test results is not an option.

Rocco believes that Julie is Josh’s mother and that she a) is a neglectful one and b) a woman without morals. After all, that she is morally suspect can be the only reason that there is a need for DNA testing. But Rocco finds himself attracted to Julie, particularly when Julie is often ill and frail. Because ill and frail women can’t also be morally suspect.

This is standard HP fare that has a mildly assholic hero and a very doormat heroine (but not a virginal one). If one likes HPs, this story won’t disappoint but the lack of fire to either the characters left me hungry. C.

Best regards,

Jane

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or ebook format from the Sony Store and other etailers.