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REVIEW: Downfall of a Good Girl by Kimberly Lang

Dear Kimberly Lang:

This was originally published under the Harlequin Mills & Boon Modern line and before the creation of Harlequin Kiss would probably be sold through the Harlequin Presents line and marked as an extra.  I’m not certain what to think of the Kiss line but it appears to be a North American version of the Riva line.  This book is set in New Orleans and features a very well worn trope of the oh so wicked hero constantly baiting the supposedly uptight heroine.  I couldn’t help but envision Harry Connick Jr. given that the hero was a New Orleans-based, a “piano playing crooner” with a bad-boy rock star image.

Downfall of a Good Girl by Kimberly LangThe heroine, Vivienne LaBlanc, is a former beauty queen and the two protagonists are set in a conflict against each other to see who can raise the most money for the New Orleans annual Saints and Sinners pageant, either Saint Vivi or Sinner Connor (the piano playing crooner and famous personage).  It isn’t hard to figure out who has the bigger pockets to draw from.

The real conflict is that Vivi’s latent feelings for Connor are stirred up almost immediately upon reconnecting and Connor uses those feelings because his bad boy image needs a little burnishing that favorite daughter and former beauty queen can provide.  For most of the book, Connor’s surface motivations are tied to this. Yes he enjoys Vivi’s company but he can’t deny that the connection to her is doing him a world of good.

To some extent they are both using each other. Vivi is enjoying being in the spotlight again, having her profile elevated by being seen with Connor. Vivi’s good standing is rubbing off on Connor wiping away some of the sins of his recent PR disaster. But Connor’s attitude toward Vivi for most of the book is that he is having a good time now. I was never convinced that he wouldn’t get bored and go looking for something else. His impermanence seemed about the only consistent thing about him.  His late book declarations of love weren’t convincing and I felt that Vivi got played on a number of levels.

Vivi isn’t much of a saint either, though.  She’s snobbish, prickly, and often jumping to the wrong conclusions.  She doesn’t fight for anything she wants whether it is to win the contest or win Connor’s heart.  It seemed like Vivi got swept up by an old flame and Connor’s interest in her wasn’t ever as fierce as hers was for him.

The first half of the story was slow moving as Vivi and Connor danced around each other and traded lame insults.  I felt like yelling at them to have sex already.

The New Orleans setting was well done and the play on sinner and saint was clever, but overall the execution left me bored and disappointed.  C-

Best regards,


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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. Lana
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 10:51:25

    I was hoping that Kiss would take the place of the old Temptation line….but so far it appears not to be the case. I’ll probably give these a chance, but now I am not holding out much hope.

  2. shannon
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 15:42:34

    Have you read the Kelly Hunter one yet? I love her books, but her KISS one (The One Who Got Away) seems derivative plot-wise of the 50 Shades thing, but I’m sure with better writing, characterization, back story, etc. It’s pretty steamy, much more so than this Lang one. But not as satisfying as some of her older ones, like Sleeping Partners, etc.

  3. MrsJoseph
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 18:02:17

    @shannon: I enjoyed the Kelly Hunter book. I can’t see the 50shades/twilight thing there – but I fully admit to not reading the entire book (let alone series).

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