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REVIEW: A Night of No Return by Sarah Morgan

Dear Ms. Morgan:

The length of the book was felt keenly in this story. While the story has a believable conflict and is well written, the truncated ending left me feeling unsatisfied.

A Night of No Return by Sarah MorganLucas Jackson is a wealthy man who has no interest in any personal entanglements. This is due to some dark secret that he alludes to frequently in the beginning of the book but is not fully revealed until the latter half of the story. This secret despair drives him to drink himself senseless on the anniversary of his loss. He drives out to Chigworth Castle, a property he has purchased to turn into a luxury hotel, where he plans to undertake his lonely venture

His efficient secretary, Emma, drives from London to Chigworth Castle to deliver a folder of information he will need to take to Zubran, an oil rich state in the Persian Gulf. He will be leaving via helicopter directly from the castle.

Emma declares she has no feelings for Lucas but is easily seduced that night. The next morning, Lucas turns his cold eye on her only to have the cold shoulder being returned. I would have loved it if Emma was indeed indifferent to Lucas as she professed, but of course she is not. She had fallen in love with him over the course of working for him despite him being a sort of lothario with impossible demands. I wasn’t quite sure what she saw in him other than his physical attractiveness given that he seemed fairly insensitive to her feelings, slept around with air headed socialites and models, and was a workaholic. Nonetheless, Emma’s desires are driven to the surface when confronted with surly, somewhat drunk, Lucas.

There is a conflict between Emma and her sister who sacrificed her career to provide a home for Emma’s brother. Emma lives in a tiny apartment in the city during the week, working long hours to provide for her sister and her brother. Her sister provides the day to day care necessary and then hands off the care to Emma when she comes home on the weekends. I felt the sister’s animosity and disappointment toward Emma was unfairly presented – it could have been far more nuanced – but this way Emma seems the selfless martyr.

However, it was the way in which Lucas’ emotional change was brought about was too quick to be believable and too manipulative. Really, that was all that it took? Maybe I missed some progression. Maybe I was supposed to add up his softening toward Emma with this other moment to equal true emotional growth but I didn’t buy it and I came away feeling unsatisfied.

C

Best regards,

Jane

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She 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

13 Comments

  1. Jayne
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 09:00:46

    I’m really getting skittish about some of these lines with shorter length stories. Potential conflicts and issues get mentioned then go nowhere or the book just appears to run out of length before a story seems finished.

  2. Sunita
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 09:07:52

    I liked this more than you did, Jane. I would give it a B or B-. But I agree with your criticisms of the ending, and Jayne’s comment about wordcount. To make the ending feel less rushed, there would have needed to be less in the opening section or in Zubran. I really liked the beginning at the castle, with the tight focus on Lucas and Emma, and I thought Morgan did a good job of opening it up in Zubran and incorporating the other characters.

    I had a slightly different reaction to Emma’s sister. While at first I thought she was going to be the stock insensitive sibling (so as to highlight the sacrifice of the heroine), I thought that the later conversations between them revealed that Emma was also insensitive, because she didn’t really think about how much the sister had given up and how much the latter loved her. Emma got to do what she wanted, career-wise, while the sister did the bulk of the child care.

  3. Dabney
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 09:46:23

    I’m also getting tired of the billionaire/millionaire thing in these series novels. In this novel I felt part of Lucas’s appeal was his big big bucks.

  4. Ros
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 09:55:58

    Interesting. I’ve just read the second in this pair (it features the king of Zubran, Malik) but not this one yet. I had been looking forward to it, but now I’m less certain. I’ll still read it, because I do love Morgan’s voice.

  5. Dabney
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 10:04:44

    @Ros: I do want to read that one! That seemed like a fun story. Did you enjoy it?

  6. Ros
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 10:47:25

    I did like it a lot, Dabney.

  7. Dabney
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 10:55:42

    @Ros: And it’s on the Amazon order list. Damn you, Ros!

  8. Sunita
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 11:04:44

    @Dabney: That’s interesting; I didn’t get have that reaction. I think that Morgan (along with a handful of other Presents authors) is pretty good, on the whole, at making her billionaire heroes into actual working, almost normal human beings.

  9. Dabney
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 11:07:22

    @Sunita: To be fair, this was my third millionaire/billionaire book in a row. I was probably overly sensitive to wealth display.

  10. Ros
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 11:08:57

    @Dabney: Hope it lives up to expectation! I loved the heroine of that one.

  11. Sunita
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 11:13:36

    @Dabney: And I think I only come across them in Presents, where I mentally downgrade them to Merely Affluent! So I’m probably not the best judge either.

  12. Katie
    Oct 27, 2012 @ 06:08:50

    Being very wealthy is a prerequisite for Modern/Presents hero. The line is all about fantasy. If you want a “normal” hero, maybe give Riva/Kiss a try.

  13. Amit
    Oct 27, 2012 @ 12:11:15

    I love Sarah Morgan and eagerly wait for every new book of hers. But this time, I felt that the heroine was, as Jane said, too easily swayed by the hero’s so-called sexual magnetism and I lost interest very quickly. I thought the sister was portrayed unfairly. She definitely sacrificed a lot (career+ social life) in order to take care of Jamie but instead was portrayed as a bitter shrew.

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