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REVIEW: The Frenchman’s Marriage Demand by Chantelle Shaw

Dear Ms. Shaw:

2a46a24c-72e8-413f-aab2-175b986de0f7img100.jpgThis was the second bestselling Harlequin Presents at eharlequin.com. I read it after The Virgin’s Wedding Night and while the two books had similar emotional character arcs, my response to them was extremely different. While Craven’s book interested me enough to buy others, The Frenchman’s Marriage Demand made me wish I had a paper copy so that I could throw it against the wall.

Zacharie Deverell set Freya Addison up as his mistress for a few months in Monaco. She claimed that she was pregnant after one of her bodyguards reported that she was cheating on Zac. Zac kicked her out. Freya returns to London where she struggles to raise her daughter with help from Freya’s bitter grandmother. When Freya is injured in a motor vehicle accident, she begs her grandmother for help. Instead, her grandmother finds out that Zac is in London and takes baby Aimee to Zac. Zac has his reasons for not believing that Aimee is his and goes to the hospital to drop Aimee off and confront Freya again.

The whole sordid backstory is told in a “Did You Know Bob” bonanza with Freya on the hospital bed, Zac looming over her and eighteen month Aimee in the middle, watching avidly as the two insult and curse at each other. Nice parenting there.

Zac is an ass for the entire book. The entire book. There is no redeeming moment for him that I can find. While Freya is laying in the hospital bed, Zac is going at her for “setting him up”. Um, gosh, that is totally possible since she’s been in the hospital for the past twenty four hours with possibly a mild concussion and a broken wrist, but sure she took the time to find out Zac’s business plans and ambush him in London. Of course, Freya smartly (and by smartly I mean stupidly and without any common sense) decides that rather than confront him with the facts of her situation that she’ll rehash the whole “you kicked me out and I never betrayed you line.”

I am not sure why Freya has any “love” for him at all. Physical desire, yes, but love? Freya is such a limp waisted rag that it’s probably no wonder Zac treats her so shabbily.

Anyway, 18 months later they decide to have a paternity test and hello, guess what? Of course, then Zac wants to get married. Because as an international playboy, you always need to get married once you’ve impregnated someone. While they are waiting for the paternity results, which we all know will be positive, Zac finds himself drawn to Freya again. Clearly Zac would be drawn to a potted plant since he supposedly despises Freya. But his dick doesn’t care and because he is a man, he must follow the dictates of his dick.

'Such as this,' he said, ignoring her punitive struggles to escape from his grip as he lowered his mouth with slow deliberation until it hovered millimetres above hers. 'You may dislike me almost as much as I dislike you, but unfortunately sexual desire seems to have no respect for our mutual loathing–"does it, Freya?'

I lose all respect for Freya (as if I had any in the first place) because hello, this guy is insulting you at every turn in very mean, cruel ways, and your response is to screw him? Don’t either of you have any willpower?

There’s an attempt to salvage Zac by showing that he actually cares for Aimee and always had:

But he had felt protective of Freya's child from the moment Joyce Addison had abandoned her to his care and he knew without doubt that he would love Aimee unconditionally for the rest of his life. Aimee was adorable and, having missed the first eighteen months of her life, he was determined not to miss another day.

This is so false and contrived. He hadn’t paid any attention to the child and thought that Freya was lying. He only planned to “love” Aimee because now she’s his “real child” Bah. Suffice to say this story relied heavily on melodrama and artifice and lacked any believable happily ever after. Sure, Freya, the door mat, and Zac, the ass, probably belong together but will they be happy? It’s not one I believe in. D

Best

Jane

This January 2008 release can be purchased in mass market or ebook format right now.

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

10 Comments

  1. Angela James
    Dec 15, 2007 @ 07:15:44

    Clearly Zac would be drawn to a potted plant since he supposedly despises Freya. But his dick doesn't care and because he is a man, he must follow the dictates of his dick.

    Bwahaha. I’m afraid to look and see if I bought this one. I love Harlequin Presents and lately, Silhouette desires for their sheer improbability, but I must admit, when they’re bad, they can be really, really bad.

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  2. Jayne
    Dec 15, 2007 @ 07:43:14

    ‘The Frenchman's Marriage Demand made me wish I had a paper copy so that I could throw it against the wall.’

    Or take it back for credit. Or throw it then take it back.

    ReplyReply

  3. Sarah Frantz
    Dec 15, 2007 @ 10:12:28

    “her punitive struggles”? Um, no. Her puny struggles, maybe. But “punitive” is wrong in so many ways, I don’t know where to start. It would be something I’d underline in my students’ papers, with “WC” written above it for “Word Choice.” As in, this is completely the wrong word, find the word you really mean, thankyouverymuch. ::sigh::

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  4. Charlene Teglia
    Dec 15, 2007 @ 10:52:20

    That’s the 2nd bestselling? Funny, I didn’t even notice that one on my eHarlequin bonanza. I do have Kate Walker’s Greek Tycoon’s Unwilling Wife (love Kate Walker!) and Jennie Lucas’ debut, because she’s my awesome chapter mate and I’ve been waiting for her book forever. I tend to go by author rather than line, though, and I’ve never read Shaw. Probably why it didn’t stick out to me.

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  5. Ann Bruce
    Dec 15, 2007 @ 12:19:50

    Because as an international playboy, you always need to get married once you've impregnated someone

    Jane, you can’t confuse reality with the world of Harlequin Presents. Hehe.

    There are so many HPs that make me see red, but I can’t stop reading them. I enjoy the emotional manipulation. It sounds rather masochistic.

    But I’ll give Zac and Freya a pass.

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  6. sherry thomas
    Dec 15, 2007 @ 12:22:30

    limp waisted rag

    Do you mean limp-wristed rag? :-)

    ReplyReply

  7. Barbara B.
    Dec 15, 2007 @ 13:01:18

    “When Freya is injured in a motor vehicle accident, she begs her grandmother for help.”

    Motor vehicle?

    ReplyReply

  8. willaful
    Dec 15, 2007 @ 13:13:47

    “There are so many HPs that make me see red, but I can't stop reading them. I enjoy the emotional manipulation. It sounds rather masochistic.”

    You and me both, Ann! I must say though, that this is one bad review that *didn’t* make me want to read the book, possibly because I’ve read 20 other versions of the exact same story this year.

    Also, of the many, many things that make me crazy when I read HPs, the heroine who can’t resist the hero no matter what a scumbag he is is number 1.

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  9. Phyl
    Dec 15, 2007 @ 13:29:21

    Whew! I skipped this one during my ebook binge last week.

    Jane, you can't confuse reality with the world of Harlequin Presents. Hehe.

    So true. I find you have to imagine that HP Earth is in a parallel universe that is just slightly off kilter from the one we live in. Kind of like that one Star Trek NG episode where one of the characters goes through a dozen similar, but different, parallel universes. Anyhow, it’s easier that way.

    There are so many HPs that make me see red, but I can't stop reading them. I enjoy the emotional manipulation. It sounds rather masochistic.

    Me too. I often wonder what that says about me, but I find I’d rather just read the darn things and not analyze it. Maybe it’s because when I’m persistent I do find some real gems. Those I keep. The others I just delete from my hard drive. No trees have been harmed.

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  10. Keishon
    Dec 15, 2007 @ 20:17:42

    Or take it back for credit. Or throw it then take it back.

    Here, here. I haven’t read any from my stack yet. Crossing fingers, hoping that I have better luck than you *looking doubtful*

    ReplyReply

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