Dear Ms. Winston:
This book features Rennie Piccabea, a 19 year old woman, who dreams of a better life than being a beautician (the career her mother wants her to pursue). Juan Allistair is a half French, half Argentian (sp?) polo player who plays for a Palm Springs backer. One day when Rennie is walking home from getting groceries, she is overwhelmed by the seeming futility of life and her inability to obtain “fame and fortune” “a house with a real garden” and a “job she’d like.” She stops at a church to rest and poor her heart out to St. Francis because she likes the way the statue looks.
Juan comes along to the same church to light candles for his dead mother and brother. He sees Rennie there and chases after her when she forgets her groceries. Juan mentions that his polo team is in need of a groom and Rennie begs for the opportunity. Juan’s inability to wash his clothes, cook for himself, or do anything of a household nature leads him to Rennie and into her arms despite Juan’s engagement to a childhood sweetheart in Argentina.
The polo parts of the book were very good. You gave a lot of detail that made this book read like a real sports novel. You had either researched polo yourself or you have a love for it. Those parts of the story seemed authentic and genuine.
The problem was when the story strayed off the polo field. The heroine is 19 years old and I was uncertain how old the hero was. In my advancing years, 19 year old heroines, outside the fantasy and historical genres, have little appeal to me. Rennie acts like a 19 year old most of the time. She’s a hard worker but she’s implusive, naive and uneducated.
I felt that the relationship of Juan and Rennie had the feel of a Harlequin Presents novel. The naive, beautiful, penniless heroine and the experienced, older, glamorous (foreign born) hero. What was jarring were the explicit sex scenes that peppered the story. Nearly every sexual situation can be found in this book: toys, menage a trois, voyeurism, anal sex, mild bondage, but the scenes rarely seemed to advance the story.
There were a number of characters who had internal monologues but had no other scenes in the book. I was confused as to why I was inside these people’s heads when they weren’t integral to the plot other than one scene.
Overall, this book was simply not to my taste. The heroine was too young. The sex, while explicit, seemed out of place. There was a secondary romance that was tacked onto the end for no other reason, it seemed to me, but to add more sex to the story. The polo details were interesting and for the right reader, this book may be a winner. C- for me though.