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Harlequin Lightning Reviews

Mistress to the TycoonMistress to the Tycoon by Nicola Marsh. Ariel Wallace is an artist struggling to fulfill her aunt’s dream of sponsoring young troubled locals into launching an art career. The dream is in jeopardy due to the plans of a rich real estate developer. The straight laced dude v. the free form spirit is a worn trope and there is nothing new to see in this book.

The one thing that elevated this story, however, was the relationship that the hero had with his dad. Cooper Vance wants to close this real estate buy because it is his ticket out of his dad’s firm. The relationship between his father and Cooper has become increasingly strained over the years due to Cooper’s successes. The reader gets glimpses that both cooper and his dad regret the way their relationship has disintegrated but neither really is brave enough to speak out and try to mend it. C+.

This book can be purchased in mass market or ebook format.

Book CoverThe Mediterranean Rebel’s Bride by Lucy Gordon. This book was recommended by Sherry Thomas who read it judging her RITA books. I bought it because I am easy. As Thomas said, some of the writing is awkward. Gordon has a specific stylistic way of writing and it takes a couple of chapters to get into the rhythm of it. Having said that, this is a very emotional story.

The rebel is one Ruggiero Rinucci who has very bittersweet emotions watching his twin brother marry. Ruggiero found his true love in London a couple of years ago. He and “Sapphire” spent two weeks together and then she disappeared. He thinks that she was the “one”. The twist in this book is that Sapphire’s cousin, a plain and pale imitation named Polly shows up to share with Ruggiero the true story behind his and Sapphire’s relationship. Essentially it was all a fraud. Ruggiero has to come to grips with the past deceit and his future without Sapphire. Ultimately, Ruggiero would have to convince Polly, and by extension the reader, that his love for Polly was not an extension of his feelings for Sapphire. B-.

This book can be purchased in mass market or ebook format.

The Italian's Wife by SunsetThe Italian’s Wife by Sunset by Lucy Gordon. I had to buy this one because the short references to Ruggiero’s twin’s romance was really intriguing. To wit: Carlo marries a woman 7 years his senior who is in very frail health.

I liked this one better that The Mediterranean Rebel’s Bride because it was so unusual both in the emotional arc and the ultimate happy resolution. Della is a 38 year old, twice divorced, mother of an adult son, and successful television producer. She wants to do a series of shows and wants Carlo Ruggiero to front the shows. She and Carlo meet up, sparks fly and they fall in love only Carlo believes it is a forever love and Della believes it is a ‘for right now’ love.

Della has made mistakes marrying in the past and while a fling with a much younger man is wonderful and she does truly love him, she believes that the relationship can’t be one that continues. Carlo is insistent that her age is of no matter and after some pressing, Della concedes until she is confronted with the fact that she will be a grandmother. Carlo is unable to sway Della and they part. Della and Carlo are eventually reuninted and without spoiling the story, Carlo makes some hard decisions about their future when confronted with the fact that Della will have a shortened life span. It was the ending that really made this book for me. B.

This book can be purchased in mass market or ebook format.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Sandra Schwab
    Mar 07, 2008 @ 17:59:41

    This book was recommended by Sherry Thomas who read it judging her RITA books.

    Sherry Thomas got a Lucy Gordon book in her RITA package??? Grrr …. I’m sure this was supposed to be my package and the people at the RWA offices simply put the wrong address label on it! *g*

    I’ve wanted to blog about THE ITALIAN’S WIFE BY SUNSET for a while now (but haven’t yet managed to do so because one of the cats was ill): isn’t it a most unusual book? All in all, it was a bit too melancholic for my liking. Nevertheless, I loved how Gordon subverted a number of genre conventions, e.g. the older heroine / younger hero (who looks even younger than he is), the passages that consist of pure dialogue (no speech tags, no descriptions), the ending that wasn’t completely happily-ever-after.

    Lucy Gordon often writes somewhat unusual category romances — THE PREGNANCY BOND is another nice example. It’s one of my favourite M&B novels.

  2. Sherry Thomas
    Mar 07, 2008 @ 18:17:04

    I bought it because I am easy.

    You are. It takes practically universal acclaim b/f I’d give a book a look. ::proudly shines bitchy reader badge::

    Here’s another Harlequin (Silhouette Special Edition) you might want to try: Lynda Sandoval’s The Other Sister. Once I got past the first chapter, I was either smiling, laughing, or crying.

    Its one fault was a little too much kindness and human understanding toward the end. A little too much for my taste, another reader might very well love every bit of it. Still, a great read with a most likable cast.

    It remind me at times of Northern Exposure, which I loved, loved, loved in its day.

  3. Anonymous RWA Member
    Mar 07, 2008 @ 21:02:47

    I didn’t think we were supposed to say who our RITA entries were.

    I also got Italian’s Bride By Sunset in my RITA package, and I was in such fits over what to give it. It was the most unusual category romance novel I’d ever read, and I was hard pressed to say that it had an HEA. I even asked for advice from a friend who writes for the same line.

    In my case, it was the end that RUINED the book for me, particularly the conversation the hero had with his mother about how the heroine would die in a few years, but he would never love another. He was miserable, she was miserable, and he was destroying his whole life to be with her for a few years, after which, he’d spend the rest of his life in mourning for her.

    I thought you were militant about the HEA, Jane!

  4. Phyl
    Mar 07, 2008 @ 21:41:26

    Here's another Harlequin (Silhouette Special Edition) you might want to try: Lynda Sandoval's The Other Sister. Once I got past the first chapter, I was either smiling, laughing, or crying.

    I just started this one late this afternoon. So far I’m really enjoying it. A book that includes skiing while a late winter blizzard rages outside seems just the ticket.

  5. Jane
    Mar 07, 2008 @ 22:20:55

    Anonymous RWA – I am militant about the HEA and I felt like this was an HEA. What happens in the far future is completely unknown but the strength of feeling the couple had for each other, particularly the hero and his resolution worked. I didn’t see either of them being miserable but making the decision that made them both happiest.

  6. GrowlyCub
    Mar 08, 2008 @ 11:14:13

    After reading the review and comments I went out and bought the Sunset book. I’m a sucker for May-December romances, although this one doesn’t really qualify in my mind.

    I guess I’m unobservant, because I didn’t notice any writing issues, nor did I notice the non-tags. :)

    I really liked this book. I agree it’s unusual in that there’s the idea that the HEA might have a time limit, but for all we know every couple in a HEA might be run over by a truck the day of the epilogue…

    The thing that I had trouble following is the heroine’s obsession with the 7 year age difference. If it had been 17 or she had been in her late 40s or 50s, I might have believed this to be an issue, but 7 years and a 37 year old?

    Maybe it’s because I’m 37, but I cannot image most people having serious concerns about being married to somebody who is a handful of years younger. It’s just a total non-issue as far as I’m concerned. But then I’m married to a guy who’s 22 years older than I am, so maybe I’m just different, he he.

    Thanks for the recommendation. I’m now trying to decide if I want to find all the other books in the series.

  7. Sherry Thomas
    Mar 08, 2008 @ 11:24:33

    Dear Anonymous RWA Member,

    Thanks for the advice. I didn’t see any explicit instruction not to talk about Rita books, but I guess it makes sense not to discuss them in the open.

  8. Sandra Schwab
    Mar 08, 2008 @ 12:21:52

    nor did I notice the non-tags. :)

    GrowlyCub, if you’d like to look at an example, go to page 62 of THE ITALIAN’S WIFE BY SUNSET. I really love how Gordon introduces this passage: the heroine has driven the hero’s car (with hero inside) around steep and narrow Italian streets during a thunderstorm. He completely loses it when they finally reach their destination as he’s been worried to death something might happen to her on these unfamiliar roads:

    “If you ever dare do that again–” he said hoarsely.
    “Come here.”
    “Tell me what’ll happen if I do it again,” she whispered provocatively.
    I said come here.
    So she did. She did everything he wanted, laughing and singing within herself, so that her spirit soared and everywhere the world was full of joy.

    What follows is a blank line and then the scene without speech tags: they’re obviously in bed after having made love, and he tells her he loves her, which she doesn’t want to hear. Because there are no speech tags and no descriptions, the scene is in a way lifted out of the narrative, just like the characters are cocooned in bed, far away from the world outside. Thus an atmosphere of extreme intimacy is created. It’s just wonderful.

  9. GrowlyCub
    Mar 08, 2008 @ 13:13:01

    I’ll definitely check it out.

    I did mean that in a positive way (the not noticing), because if I have time to nitpick or notice writing style that means I’m not engaged enough in the story. I was most definitely engaged in this one. :) If only to wonder about why being 37 to his 30 was such a deal… he he

  10. Sandra Schwab
    Mar 08, 2008 @ 13:17:53

    I did mean that in a positive way (the not noticing)

    That’s how I understood your comment. I was just going into complete fangirl mode in my own comment — I adore Mills&Boon novels! (see? I’m doing it again *g*)

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