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REVIEW: The Wife Trap by Tracy Warren

Dear Ms. Warren:

The Wife TrapYour stories benefited from a 3 book release one month after the other. The series started with The Husband Trap which featured a twin swap. I don’t like Twin Swaps so I skipped it. The second book, The Wife Trap, featured the villian of The Husband Trap. The villian was the twin sister, Jeanette, who convinced her sister to marry the Duke of Raeburn so that she could run off with another man. I like redemption stories so I started with this one and figured if I liked it, I would get the first book.

Jeanette is sent to rusticate in Ireland with rural cousins. It is a fierce punishment for someone who loves parties, clothes, and the social scene. There is no one to socialize with at all. Jeanette and Darragh O’Brien meet and are at loggerheads. It doesn’t help that when Jeanette arrives at her cousins’ house construction is underway to repair a portion of the manse burned down. Darragh is the architect and he starts work at 7 am each morning. This is an outrage to Jeanette who is used to getting up at 9, 10 am. Jeanette undertakes several subvervise attempts to get Darragh to delay the start of construction. While this is cute, the resolution to these episodes ALWAYS ends with Darragh having the upper hand, whether it results in Jeanette being humiliated or Jeanette being punished. The overwhelming theme to this romance was that Darragh had to teach Jeanette how to be a better person. I wasn’t sure if Darragh was supposed to be her father or her lover or whether he was just one sick puppy.

Further troubling the plot is that this is another “secret” romance where the relationship of the hero and heroine is predicated on untruths. The hero is an earl but the heroine believes that he is a commoner. (wait, did I read this in the form of Kiss Me, Annabelle). The hero seems charming enough until he pulls this card:

Aye, she was a minx. Wild and willful. Whatever man decided to take her on, he'd have a devil of a time taming her. He'd have to be careful not to use too heavy a hand, gentling her to his touch and his will without breaking that proud, beautiful spirit of hers.

What, is she animal? Where is the obligatory reference to Jeanette as a filly? I think minx is so pale of a comparison to the filly. I still am willing to give the book a chance. I read on and the story begins to fall apart. Jeanette has a secret too, one that could impact the course of their relationship. She doesn’t tell it until it is too late. Darragh is even worse. He goes to extreme and unreasonable lengths to keep his secret hoping that Jeanette will fall in love with him for who he is instead of what he has. The basic premise behind the secret identity is ridiculous because Darragh, as an earl and landowner, is shaped by those life experiences and thus by deceiving Jeanette about his identity, he is deceiving himself about her true love.

In the end, I couldn’t finish this book because of the manner in which Darragh began to treat Jeanette. Perhaps she was so evil in the previous book that she deserved this treatment but I hadn’t read the previous book. Series books must stand on their own or they fail. Darragh takes it upon himself to make Jeanette into a better person by placing her in a small cottage where she must do everything for herself. Dress herself, bathe herself, cook for the BOTH of them (I would have let him starve). Darragh’s expectations – that Jeanettte could learn and adapt in just days – is unreasonable and paternalistic. Who is he to teach her anything? Jeanette must learn on her own, change on her own. I didn’t want read any further justification for Darragh’s actions.

Yes, I didn’t finish the book. I tried. Oh, I tried. But I kept looking at the page number wondering when in hell will this ever end. Instead of prolonging my agony, I cut it off like a sick appendage at Chapter 17 to make the body whole because if I had finished it I am sure that I would have been put off reading romances for a month. I did it for a greater good.

Best regards,

Jane

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

2 Comments

  1. Sandra
    Jun 09, 2007 @ 09:58:16

    I liked THE HUSBAND TRAP but I was wondering how the author was going to redeem Jeanette’s character in order to make her the heroine of the next book. The answer is – NOT AT ALL. Jeanette is the same obnoxious, selfish, shallow, stupid bitch she was in the first book, only more so, because we see a lot more of her. Still I did feel a bit of sympathy towards her when she finds out that the ‘hero’ is really a wealthy earl. She is justifiably furious. He makes noises about wanting to be loved for himself, but she says he just wanted to humiliate her, and I agree. If he was hoping to transform her character, he failed.

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  2. Yvette
    May 09, 2013 @ 23:56:05

    I could not disagree more with Jane’s scalding review of “The Wife Trap.” Mainly because it’s written from a perspective of ignorance on her part. She seems to have missed the essence of the characters, altogether. This is what happens when you start a trilogy by reading the second book in the series first. This is why the more psychological aspects, schemas, and values of the characters are lost on Jane. The heroine, Jeanette was introduced to readers in the first book with lays down the foundation for the journey of hardship and tough lessons that inevitably await her due to her spoiled character and nature. Darragh is the epitome of masculinity interwoven with his traits of kindness, patience and passion. He is a breath of fresh air and exactly what Jeanette needs to help her improve her life and value system. She is a beautiful woman, with peeks of redeeming qualities that have readers hoping that she will eventually learn to find true value in life that is substantive and not superficially grounded as in her current state. Jeanette is the result of natural beauty, spoiled by a permissive parenting style in which she was never held accountable for her actions. This spoiled nature was further affirmed by society. Such a shallow constitution in one’s character has a way of making the individual truly miserable at heart. This is why Darragh is just the medicine she needs to help her wake up to the beauty that surrounds her. I completely agreed with his “intervention,” if you will, in teaching her lessons of life by taking her to the cottage he claimed to be his home and having her develop independent skills. Overall, I loved this book! I could not put it down. Many times, I laughed out loud at the banter and teasing pranks that kept Jeanette & Darragh’s chemistry real, powerful and tangible. Having read BOTH THE FIRST AND SECOND BOOK in order, I’m about to read the 3rd book in the trilogy and I can hardly wait. Just as Jeanette was able to redeem her superficial qualities and blossom into a person of substantive character and values; I hope Jane will resolve to read a series, starting with the prescribed order so as to not present with other half-way done, substandard reviews.

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