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REVIEW: The Price of Desire by Jo Goodman

Dear Ms. Goodman:

book review Starting with the Compass Club series, your books have been getting increasingly darker, and The Price of Desire is the darkest by far, darker, I think, than any other book of yours that I have read.   It was also an emotionally cathartic read, a book that hearkens back to the Compass Club series, effects emotional and narrative closure to one of its loose ends, and showcases the interconnected themes of healing and interdependence consistent in your Regency-set historicals.

Olivia Cole lives a quiet and thrifty existence, but despite her circumspect modesty she is at the edge of despair.   Her brother, Alistair, has managed to gamble away enough of his allowance to place their small household in jeopardy, and now he has disappeared.   Olivia is too far out of favor with her and Alistair’s father to expect any other family assistance.   So when two strangers show up at the house to escort Olivia to some unknown location, she assumes that they are Bow Street runners delivering Alistair’s fate.   Instead, they have come to escort her to a gaming hell, where she will serve as a marker for her brother’s immense gambling debt, promised by Alistair in lieu of a family ring he initially relinquished and then reclaimed without permission from the hell’s owner.

Griffin Wright-Jones, Viscount Breckenridge, is none too happy with Alistair’s switch, having no idea how Alistair was able to retrieve the ring nor what to do with a woman of obviously fine breeding who seems strangely resigned to her odd circumstances.   And despite the fact that she should provide a more compelling motivation for Alistair to come through with repayment, Olivia’s presence in Griffin’s hell also means one less financial burden for Alistair.   Which means that what begins as a very temporary arrangement soon extends into weeks, changing both Griffin and Olivia’s lives and eroding their mutual resistance to any change that affects their shared habit of emotional impermeability.

For Olivia, the temptation that Griffin’s inherent decency offers is far more dangerous than her continued presence in a gaming hell, or even the attack she suffers there at the hands of a stranger who breaks into her locked room.   Griffin’s attention to her physical emaciation, his concern for her physical health, his insistence that she be warmly dressed on her morning walks with his valet, his ability to anticipate her thoughts – all of this, along with Griffin’s extraordinary looks, make Olivia feel very vulnerable, a sensation she has fought for years to keep at bay.     Her physical captivity is a reluctant relief to Olivia, freeing her, however temporarily, from her myriad worries, and her growing attraction to Griffin is threatening but similarly irresistible.

For Griffin, the challenge of having a woman such as Olivia in his unconventional household (he lives in the hell) presents a series of challenges, from protecting her reputation to keeping her out of the way of his business.     Olivia is an expense and an interference, although Griffin never lets her understand the potential burden those things pose, because he recognizes that her very strong backbone shields a very fragile heart, something he knows more than a little about himself.   Unlike Olivia, Griffin does not resist his physical attraction to the beautiful and sharp woman who shows him courage and offers him a number of mysteries, from the identity of her attacker to the nature of the despair that so clearly exceeds her current financial straits.

In fact, the challenge of unraveling the mystery of Olivia’s reticent self-possession, her decidedly un-passive resignation, builds along with Griffin’s physical desire, because the closer he gets to her the farther away the answers seem to be.   Although wary of her growing importance in his life, Griffin is also “seized by an urge to protect her,” beyond his conscious intentions.

Although The Price of Desire is not formally part of a series, it completes the wide arc that began with the first Compass Club novel, and like all of the books from Let Me Be The One onward, the heroine functions as the emotional center of the novel, both in her turbulence and her strength.   Olivia is one of the most tortured heroines I have seen in a long time, and Griffin’s kindness to her merely exacerbates the urgency of her fears.   And for all of his intuition, Griffin does not know enough about Olivia’s past to avoid a number of missteps with her, adding even more poignancy to Olivia’s traumatized condition, as well as a sense of realism to their relationship.   Every comfort Griffin offers also opens up Olivia to more emotional turmoil and anxiety, creating a push-pull rhythm in their relationship that keeps Olivia feeling more afraid of the safety Griffin offers her than the ghosts that continue to haunt her:

She was uncomfortable with the realization that she’d come to depend on him, though she could not define the precise nature of that dependency.   It was the shelter, of course, but not that alone, and the opportunity to earn a wage, though not only that.   They had established a tentative peace, a somewhat guarded mutual respect, and a conversational manner that was frequently all thrust and parry.   He often knew the bent of her mind, while she found his impenetrable except on those rare occasions when he wanted it to be otherwise.   . . .

He seemed to embrace the notion that it should fall to him to repel all boarders, although he was not inclined to unduly restrain himself from advancing.

Still she felt safe when she knew he was about, safer yet when he was near.   The irony was not lost to her, and the taste of it was bittersweet.

Olivia is one of the most damaged heroines I have come across in the genre, and her healing is not accomplished quickly or easily.   She has a tendency to lose all touch with the outside world when she gets emotionally overwhelmed, exhibiting signs we would now associated as post-traumatic stress disorder, and which make her feel “frozen,” “brittle,” and resurfacing to the sensation of “an ice pick driving deeply, relentlessly, chipping away at her thoughts, then her feelings, and finally her senses, until she lay bare and a bit bloody.”   As the physician explains to Griffin, “I do not know where Miss Cole’s imaginings took her, but it was not a journey, nor a destination, for the faint of heart.”   Once they become lovers Griffin wakes several times to Olivia fighting him, even trying to strangle him, all while still asleep.   Despite her willingness to sleep with him – indeed, her eventual insistence that she serve as his mistress as a way to repay the debt Alistair continues to amass by leaving her there – she withholds herself from Griffin, determined to offer over only her body.

Indeed, Griffin’s greatest challenge with Olivia does not appear to be her estranged father, his jilted mistress or long-disappeared wife, or even the deep well of secrets Olivia guards; rather, it is convincing her to believe that she is not completely alone and abandoned in a world that will ravage and consume her in the blink of an eye.   Both their lives have been “touched by so much in the way of injury.”   But where Griffin’s emotional reticence comes from “the burden of suspicion” around the disappearance of his wife, Olivia’s comes from “the burden of guilt,” over things that threaten to “crush” her on any given day.   Which is what makes the gift of love so overwhelming to Olivia, even as she recognizes that Griffin “was a comfortable, comforting fit for her, as gentle to her skin as a kid glove, as easy around her heart as a velvet ribbon.”   Olivia’s challenge with Griffin is to find that desire desirable, to use that unbreakable will for something other than guarding her injured heart, to surrender to what she ultimately recognizes as “want[ing] him of her own volition.”     That she can even contemplate doing so is reflective of her strength and tenacity.

Reading this book reminded me how much I love strong but vulnerable characters, especially when they can express those two characteristics without cruelty or needless melodrama.   The Price of Desire is very much focused on the growth of its main characters and their relationship, which moves at a pace nicely set to Olivia and Griffin’s difficult emotional registers, and as with all of Goodman’s couples, they grow a strong friendship as well as a fulsome love affair.     Although I felt a curious intellectual distance from the couple for the first half of the book, by the middle I was almost as invested in Olivia’s happiness as Griffin was, and I felt great sorrow for everything she had endured in her life.   She affected me more than many of Goodman’s Regency heroines, which made my experience of the novel both sorrowful and exhilarating.   In that sense I loved it.

And I similarly appreciated the way that Griffin did not always know the exact right thing to do for Olivia, that despite her belief that he could read her mind he was often out of his depth with her, just inching along hoping for the best.   I am frankly tired of heroes who know what’s best for the supposedly smart heroine, and Griffin was a nice respite from that model.   I also appreciated the fact that he wasn’t always there to save Olivia at just the right moment, or to keep her from facing some of her worst fears.   His status as hero did not suffer any tarnishing for that lack, in my opinion.   And the way Goodman has tended to rely on over the top plotting near the end of her books and eeevil villains were not as much of an issue here; in fact, I suspect that some readers will find that justice was not served in big enough portions for some of the characters in the novel, even though I felt the outcome was more realistic than in many Romance novels.   And frankly, because both Griffin and Olivia are smart and capable, and because they can be counted on to make mature decisions about their relationship (no running off in a ridiculous snit or jumping headlong into trouble or letting pride get in the way of love), I didn’t need their detractors to face fairy tale justice to know that Griffin and Olivia would be happy and secure after I closed the book.

The two things that detracted from a perfect read for me – in addition to the small distance I felt during the first half of the book – were the resolution to Olivia’s night terrors (or lack thereof, depending on your perspective) and the way Griffin’s mental “impenetrability” extended beyond Olivia’s awareness.   There were so many times that I wanted the same access to Griffin’s mental and emotional inner-workings that I had to Olivia’s.   For example, Olivia had a habit of dropping bombshells at the very end of chapters, which certainly heightened the dramatic tension but also led to an abrupt transition outside of Griffin’s reaction.   As rattled as I was by some of those disclosures, I wanted to know more about how Griffin privately processed them, and about how his relationship with Olivia was healing his own heart.   Obviously I saw the evidence of that healing, and their many conversations offered me some good clues, but I just never felt the same closeness to Griffin that I did to Olivia, and that may, actually, account for the distance I experienced in the first sections of the novel.

Still, though, the strengths of the novel substantially outweigh its weaknesses.   Its depth and substance is evident not only in the page count but also in the thoughtful evolution of the characters, the lovely use of language and the witty dialogue, and the subtle symbolism around what it means to be a marker and why that is such a significant description for Olivia, both literally and metaphorically.   The novel contemplates the “placeholder heroine” in fascinating and provocative ways.

Grading this book is a bit difficult for me, because I have two scales on which I am comparing it:   to other Goodman books and to other Romance novels more generally.   On the Goodman scale, it rates a B+, but on the general Romance scale, it is most definitely a solid A-.   So with that I will let other readers determine the relative value of The Price of Desire for themselves.

~ Janet

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

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!

30 Comments

  1. Melinda
    Sep 17, 2008 @ 15:36:04

    I think this book is considered the 4th in the Grantham series – Restell Gardner (#3 If His Kiss Is Wicked) took Emma to Griffin’s hell, and Lady Rivendale is a minor character in this book (she’s the godmother of Sherry from #1 A Season To Be Sinful, and she thinks she arranged every marriage in the series so far). #2 is Sherry’s sister Cybelline in One Forbidden Evening.

    Great review, thanks, I also loved it.

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  2. Statch
    Sep 17, 2008 @ 15:41:27

    I loved this book, and I agree that the resolution was more realistic than most, but it did bother me quite a bit that there was no acknowledgement that the relative responsible for the heroine’s dark background was almost certainly still a danger to others.

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  3. Mari
    Sep 17, 2008 @ 18:58:47

    It’s also available via Sony.

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  4. Phyl
    Sep 17, 2008 @ 19:11:10

    Wonderful job, Janet, of reviewing this book. I am in awe of Jo Goodman’s ability to reveal her characters, layer by layer. I do agree that in this case, it’s Olivia who is revealled to us, not so much Griffin. And while like Statch, I would like to have seen the guilty relative receive punishment, I have to acknowledge that the book is true to the time and place in which it is set.

    For readers who like to see their heroes and heroines spend more time together interacting with one another, this book will do it. Page after page of dialogue keeps them together–slowly they are opened up to one another as well as to us.

    Really, each time a new Goodman book comes out I ask myself why this author does not receive the kind of attention she deserves. I happily go with the A- on this one.

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  5. orannia
    Sep 17, 2008 @ 19:30:47

    WOW! Thank you Janet. I’ve never read a Jo Goodman book (to be honest, I haven’t come across her books until now) but that is so going to change!

    orannia

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  6. LauraB
    Sep 17, 2008 @ 19:43:12

    I too loved this book! Great review.

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  7. Kristie(J)
    Sep 17, 2008 @ 20:52:45

    Janet: As you know *g*, I’m a fellow lover of Jo Goodman’s books. Although they aren’t for everyone, she astounds me with her ability to slowly and carefully peal back the layers of the characters until we barely recognize them from who they are when first introduced.
    This has been one of my most eagerly anticipated books of the years. When I finally got my copy, I started it and much to my dismay, discovered I just wasn’t in ‘historical’ reading mode. Rather than keep going when I knew I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to fully appreciate her incredible talent, I’ve put it aside for the moment – until the urge to read it again strikes.
    One thing I’ve realized is that one doesn’t ‘skim read’ a Jo Goodman. One has to be in the mood for a deep, rich and compelling read and I’m anticipating being in that mood hopefully soon.

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  8. Morpho Ophelia
    Sep 17, 2008 @ 23:12:02

    This is a very well written review. It sold me on buying the book. Thanks for a job well done.

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  9. Becky
    Sep 18, 2008 @ 00:03:13

    I have never read a Jo Goodman book, but this book sounds like a really interesting read. I will have to check it out.

    I just finished peer reviewing an exciting new book scheduled to come out October 6th, Letters Between Us,” written by Linda Overman. It is by far one of the best books that I have read in a long time. To give you a quick over view of the book:

    It is a story about two childhood friends-best friends! The main character, Laura Wells, attends the funeral of her best friend from childhood(Kathryn). After finding old letters that the two friends had sent to each over the years, as well as her best friends journal, she finds that her best friend had a lot of haunting secrets. I won’t spoil it, but I do have to say it is an incredible book!!

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  10. Catherine
    Sep 18, 2008 @ 01:12:03

    I loved this book. I find that Jo Goodman has a very lyrical quality to her writing. Sometimes I come to awareness while I’m reading to find that the dialogue of the book is running through my head with the cadence of a poem. I appreciate the way her prose flows easily and very rarely jars.

    Janet, one question… you said you would rate this a B+ compared to other Jo Goodman books. What other ones would you say you enjoyed more than this and would you explain why? Was it the plot or different characters? Or was it a lighter subject?

    I ask because I’ve only read a few of her books so far. I’d like to get your take on which other books of hers that you liked more/equal to this one.

    I actually started reading Jo Goodman after a review DA posted. I’m glad you guys are running around the web so I can get new authors to check out.

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  11. Taja
    Sep 18, 2008 @ 05:13:55

    What a well written review for (as it seems, I haven’t read it yet) a truly wonderful novel! There are a number of things mentioned in the review that I look for in (romance) novels, I especially like that the hero isn’t all-knowing, so if I wouldn’t have it on my tbb list already, it would be there now.

    Thanks for the review.

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  12. Tabitha
    Sep 18, 2008 @ 07:11:03

    For DA to rate this as an A-, far be it from me not to check this book out. =) Also, like Catherine had asked, what other Jo Goodman’s books would you recommend beyond this one? Thanks in advance!

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  13. Jessica
    Sep 18, 2008 @ 08:07:08

    I discovered Jo Goodman thanks to a review here at DA, and her books appeal to me most when I am in a patient mood. Her writing pays my focused attention back many times over. Looks like another one for the TBR pile!

    Oh, and that “reviewing on two scales thing” — I just made a similar comment in my review of the latest Julia Quinn book (which was a big disappointment for me). I like your suggestion of rating a book against “all comers” versus rating against the author’s own best work.

    Great review! Thank you!

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  14. vanessa jaye
    Sep 18, 2008 @ 10:50:35

    I loved IHKIW. I couldn’t get into this one, and I tried several times. It felt a little to slow going and too wordy. In fact it was in the bag presently under my desk that I’ll be taking to the UBS after work, but after reading this review, I’ve taken it out. It might of just been my frame of mind– things are way hectic at work and I’m not up to challenging reading at the mo’. I’ll try again in a couple of months.

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  15. Kristie(J)
    Sep 18, 2008 @ 11:51:21

    Vanessajaye: That’s what I find about Ms. Goodman’s book – you have to be in the right frame of mind. I call that the “it’s not you, it’s me” factor. That’s why, despite wanting to read this one so much, I put it aside *for right now*. But if you are in the right frame of mind, for me, there isn’t a better writer writing today.

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  16. Janet/Robin
    Sep 18, 2008 @ 12:10:21

    Melinda, I didn’t know there was a formal Grantham series, but you’re definitely correct about the connections. There is also a connection to Beyond a Wicked Kiss vis a vis Olivia’s past, which is why it created a broader reference for me. And really, it made me even more invested in Olivia’s happiness

    Statch: I got the sense that the person in question’s perfidy was pretty much a thing of the past, but perhaps that is because of the way I’m reading the book relative to BAWK. I’ll have to think about that some more.

    Mari: Thanks for pointing that out. I read it in Adobe digital, because it was not available in eReader (my favorite form) when I purchased it. The one thing I really like about eReader that I can’t do in Adobe is copying quotations into my review.

    Phyl: I also love that the characters *talk,* especially in a Romance industry environment where books are getting shorter and relationships more compressed. Goodman’s books are *not* quick reads, thank goodness.

    orannia: In my not so humble opinion, you are in for a real treat. She provides a great list of her books at her website, all categorized by series. I started by reading the Dennehy sisters series, which got me hooked (and can I say that I kind of wish she’d write another series like that?).

    LauraB: Thanks! Hopefully others will love it, too.

    Kristie: I find that I cannot be really distracted by other things when I start her books or I just miss so much. So yes, like a piece of wonderfully rich dark chocolate, Goodman’s books are meant to be savored, IMO. I hope you’ll post a review when you finally read it.

    Morpho Ophelia: I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did. Goodman’s last book, If His Kiss Is Wicked, won in several of the AAR reader poll categories last year, and I recommend it highly, as well, if you aren’t familiar with Goodman.

    Becky: It’s unclear to me whether you’re commenting on my review or wanting to recommend another book altogether, so I’ll just say that I hope you do check out the Goodman book.

    Catherine: Yes, musical is always how I think about Goodman’s prose. As for the way I graded it relative to other Goodman books, my two top reads of Goodman’s are My Reckless Heart, from the Thorne Brothers series, and A Season To Be Sinful, which Melinda identifies as first in the Grantham series. My sentimental favorite is the first book of the Dennehy sisters series, Wild Sweet Ecstasy, probably because it was the first Goodman book I read. And the last book in that series, Only In My Arms, is up there, too, as is One Forbidden Evening and the Compass Club series, especially the third, All I Ever Needed.

    Evaluating the differences between these books is like trying to distinguish between the Gold, Silver, and Broze Olympics medals, because Goodman’s writing is always so good, IMO. I actually think that her last book, If His Kiss is Wicked, was the best paced of her recent novels, and perhaps the most tightly plotted, even though it did not hit me in the gut like Price of Desire did. Ultimately, the differentiation relative to Goodman’s other books is a matter of my emotional investment in the book and my overall sense of mastery over plot, prose, and subject matter.

    I don’t have a good rubric of why MRH is a straight A and this one isn’t, except that MRH delivered a big emotional punch for me, read very tight in its plotting and prose, and was very sophisticated in its thematic development, even as the prose was simpler (it was largely American set). Had I been given just a bit more of Griffin, I think this book could have shot to number one on the Goodman hit parade, because Olivia was such a moving heroine, IMO. Just her use of the whole “marker” metaphor was so brilliant, IMO, that I am still thinking about it, and about how powerful a metaphor it is in the genre as a whole (but not consciously, or critically, as it is in Goodman’s book). But my slight distance from Griffin edged the book down a bit, even though, as I said, compared to most Romance I read, this book is truly remarkable, and, as a friend of mine put it so eloquently, ‘a hella good read.’

    Taja: I’m always so excited when someone wants to give Goodman a try, so I hope you like the book!

    Tabitha: check out Jane’s review of the book, too, for more details. As I said to Catherine, the Thorne Brothers series is fabulous, as is the Dennehy sisters series. The Dennehy books are American-set, as are the second two books in the Thorne Brothers series (the last one, With All My Heart, is set in San Francisco during the Gold Rush, and the second one, My Reckless Heart, is set in Boston and also partly in England, where the first book, My Steadfast Heart, is set). I also highly recommend the Compass Club series, starting with Let Me Be The One, which is comprised of four books, featuring four male friends, all of which are set *simultaneously* — with slight overlaps, of course. I really think Goodman hit her stride as an author with those books, but I’ve yet to read a Goodman book I disliked.

    Vanessa: I started to read it in August when we got the ARCs but was so busy I just couldn’t focus on it properly. Then when I picked it up again, right after it was published and I could score a copy at Books on Board (which had it out before Fictionwise), I started it and kept right on reading to the end. I hope it works for you at a later time, too.

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  17. Janine
    Sep 18, 2008 @ 12:13:08

    I couldn't get into this one, and I tried several times. It felt a little to slow going and too wordy.

    I’ve had the same reaction to other Goodman books. A friend of mine once said that Goodman belabors the moment so much that a woman lifting her veil seems to take about five minutes. It’s a shame, because her dialogue is great, but the description often strikes me as slow and in need of pruning.

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  18. Kirsten
    Sep 18, 2008 @ 14:26:15

    Robin:

    Reading your reviews are so wonderful *AFTER* reading the book. I get to re-savor them all over again, especially since I’m not yet ready for a second read-through.

    Bravo to Ms. Goodman and to you!

    (ps – When and how did Terry get eliminated from Project Runway?)

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  19. MoJo
    Sep 18, 2008 @ 14:45:38

    I also love that the characters *talk,* especially in a Romance industry environment where books are getting shorter and relationships more compressed. Goodman's books are *not* quick reads, thank goodness.

    I love this, too. Robin, aren’t you also one of the people I’ve noted pining for the longer, more epic romances? (As am I.) I might be confusing you with someone else.

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  20. Anah
    Sep 18, 2008 @ 20:17:01

    I bought this book on the strength of this review and, I must confess, I am not a reader of this genre. I was raised on fantasy, science fiction, and speculative fiction, and that’s my usual fare when I have the opportunity to read something other than research or editing work. I’m very glad I read the review. Thank you.

    I loved this book. It was so well written that it soothed my frazzled inner editor and I never felt adrift, even though it’s so not my genre. Ms. Goodman includes subjects in the book that I usually find heavy-handed and manipulative, but she presented them with the perfect balance of grimness, solemnity, and perspective so that those facts engaged my sympathy willingly. Reading it was like going on vacation; I devoured it in one day and was deeply disappointed that it was over.

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  21. Jennie
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 12:10:07

    I need to check this one out. I keep meaning to read more Goodman – I have one of the Compass Club series that I started and abandoned after a few pages (I rarely do that, but if I recall it had less to do with the book itself and more to do with the fact that something fell into my hands that I really wanted to read). I know I really liked one of the Compass Club books I read – the heroine was an actress (named India, I think?). I think I’ve read a few Goodman books, but for some reason even though I like her writing, I don’t feel compelled to make her an auto-buy. Also, I get her confused with Jo Beverley.

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  22. Chrissy
    Sep 20, 2008 @ 12:14:29

    The thing I love about Goodman is that her books are old school. She writes dense plots with careful development and has a wonderful command of natural dialogue appropriate to the period.

    Discovered her a year ago and bought her entire list. LOVE her.

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  23. Devon
    Sep 21, 2008 @ 07:31:22

    Great review! Jo Goodman is one of those authors who, every time I read a review, I’m like, why haven’t I read her yet?

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  24. Michelle
    Sep 21, 2008 @ 20:24:01

    I just finished this book this afternoon, and I savored it all weekend. I am one of those occasional Jo Goodman readers (read 6 or so of them) who thinks she’s a bit wordy, but if I have patience, I trust that she will deliver a good story featuring complex characters. This one “flew by” the most for me and is my favorite so far. I need to try more of hers.

    Now that you point it out, I agree that Griffen was not as well-developed/shown as Olivia – but Olivia’s journey was wonderful.

    I agree with Statch as well. I thought that Olivia’s relative – and his “friends” – were most likely still a threat and could not figure out why that was not more of a concern for folks. I may have read the book you referred to, but I don’t remember the details well at all.

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  25. Robin/Janet
    Sep 22, 2008 @ 00:47:44

    Janine: I am still baffled by the fact that you haven’t been won over to Goodman, lol. Oh, well. Maybe someday.

    Kirsten: Okay, well, now you know about Terry. I have two words for you: digital cable.

    MoJo: Yup, that’s me.

    Anah: I can’t say that comments like yours are why I review, but they sure add another pleasant dimension to what is a somewhat laborious process. I am so glad you liked the book!

    Jennie: You might want to try If His Kiss Is Wicked, which won the AAR Reader Poll last year. That book really seemed to hit a nerve with a wide variety of readers.

    Chrissy: One of my favorite things about Goodman is that she writes kind heroes, even though they are always very masculine and strong. She definitely has some old school types, but without the cruelty on the hero’s part. So you get the depth of the old school books without the sadism within the main relationship, IMO.

    Devon: Get thee to a Goodman novel, girl!

    Michelle: A friend and I were talking about how one of Goodman’s unique strengths is that she keeps getting better and better with each book. Her writing gets stronger, her pacing tighter, her descriptions more purposeful. Yeah, she has a habit of over-explaining, but even that seems to be diminishing, and in the end, it’s worth it, IMO, for the strength of the read, as you say. I don’t know why I wasn’t more upset about the fate of some of the characters, but I think it comes down to the confidence I have in Olivia and Griffin to handle any trouble that might come their way in the future.

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  26. Michelle
    Sep 22, 2008 @ 10:08:15

    Looking back on the novels I’ve read by Jo Goodman, I think you are right, Janet. She’s getting better and better with each book. I look forward to her next one.

    It does make me question whether I should go back to read some of her U.S. historicals. I really miss those a lot, but I’ve only read the Regency novels by J.G.

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  27. Jo Goodman
    Sep 23, 2008 @ 15:45:52

    I’m just going to jump in here at the end; maybe no one will even see this. It is so interesting to me how a reviewer like Robin/Janet can make me look at my own book in a new way. I’m not talking about the fact that she liked it (though surely that’s a plus). I’m talking about the way she’s able to see things I’m not entirely sure I was conscious of. Writing is such an in-my-head experience, and I’m never certain where it’s going. Her comment about the “marker” metaphor…how does that happen when I’m hardly aware of it? I’ve been doing this for a long time, and after reading the review I’m realizing I don’t even understand my own process. Thanks for giving me something to think about!

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  28. Michelle
    Sep 24, 2008 @ 10:31:16

    That’s so interesting, Jo. Thanks for sharing!

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  29. MoJo
    Sep 24, 2008 @ 11:50:22

    Jo, I’m so glad you said this. I read these reviews and think how layered all these works are, then start feeling inadequate because I wouldn’t be able to think of all those layers and layers, much less wind them into the text so well.

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  30. The Price of Desire « Jorrie Spencer
    Apr 26, 2009 @ 10:23:15

    [...] has an in-depth review at Dear Author. And Jane reviews it too. Both gave [...]

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