REVIEW: A Few Harlequin Presents for October 2010
Public Marriage, Private Secrets by Helen Bianchin
Bianchin has a certain trope she likes to write and most of her books are a variation on the theme of two people who married because their families wanted it and they were a good match on paper, who secretly fall in love with each other, but the woman is beset with jealousy because the man is so gorgeous and is usually the victim of some CRAZY stalker woman who drives the woman away until the man comes after her and forces her to see the light. This book is essentially no different. Gianna married RaÃºl Velez-SaldaÃ±a when it was discovered she was pregnant with his baby. Gianna felt like she forced RaÃºl into marriage and her confidence was further shattered when she discovered that he was cheating on her with another woman and she lost her baby. RaÃºl was never cheating on Gianna and when RaÃºl’s mother falls ill, he takes this opportunity to lure Gianna back into his home and his life. The success of these Bianchin stories rests upon how much I like the heroine, whether I think she is a fool or whether the CRAZY other woman made the heroine’s distrust of her husband believable. In this story, I felt like Gianna was initially had good cause for believing the other woman, but she veered toward fool at the end when she decided once and for all she was going to prove whether RaÃºl was innocent, something she could have done four years previous. C-
Innocent Secretary-Accidentally Pregnant by Carol Marinelli
Emma Stephenson got the position as Luca D’Amato’s assistant by not succumbing to his early flirtations. She really needed the job far more than she needed to be in Luca’s bed. As Emma became more and more indispensable to Luca, the frequency of flirting abated. Luca begins to really like Emma, as a person. He enjoys seeing her in the mornings and working with her all day long. Unfortunately this doesn’t reduce Luca’s desire for Emma and he really struggles with suppressing his instinct to ask her out, try to pursue her but he knows if he sleeps with her, he’ll lose the best PA he’s ever had. The reason he can’t have a long term relationship with anyone, including Emma is because his father was a brute, his uncle was a brute and Luca fears that any woman to whom he feels a deep attachment would suffer under his hands. As an HP, I thought this had some meaty agnst. Emma was a great character who not only stood up to Luca but stood up for herself. B-
His Virgin Acquisition by Maisey Yates
The set up of this book is pretty bad. Laughably bad. Our intrepid heroines proposes marriage to a billionaire on the basis that marriage will make him more money. How? He’s on the verge of acquiring her father’s business, one that she wants to buy but her father refuses to sell to her. The contracts are signed and she will then “inherit” the business through the divorce (you can’t inherit anything in a divorce. Inheritance is bequeathed to you. Assets is a divorce are distributed via court order or order approving a private property settlement). What’s in it for him? She claims that married men earn more money and that in divorce he’ll make more deals as men commiserate with him for getting married to and then rid of a worthless piece of femininity.
WAT? I almost would have rather had one of those “If you don’t marry, I’ll disinherit you” plots.
Worse, Marco, the billionaire hero, is an asshole who basically believes that the world is his platter (and I guess that is somewhat believable in a billionaire but it makes for a distasteful hero). I never believed in Elaine’s savvy business acumen and while she wasn’t entirely a doormat, I still found her character, conceptually, as fatally flawed. In other words, she came off as a nitwit to me. D
Three more mini reviews tomorrow.