REVIEW: Billionaire’s Marriage Mission by Helen Brooks
Dear Ms. Brooks:
My introduction to your books was His Christmas Bride which was part of the one Click December Buy. I really enjoyed it and have been buying as many Brooks books as I could lay my hands on. Imagine my excitement when The Billionaire’s Marriage Mission was being offered. It was originally published as a Mills & Boon book in 2006.
These books all have essentially the same plot: girl is terribly hurt by some past romance; strong, rich, aggressive male falls in love immediately and pursues girl; girl falls in love back; gets scared; runs away; and then runs back. I’ve read about 10 Brooks books now and for some reason, this theme or plot never gets tired for me.
The story opens with Beth Morton getting locked out of her cottage rental with her dog Harvey. It’s raining. She’s in her pyjamas and she’s slipped in something smushy and dark. She hopes that it is dirt but from the smell suspects it is not. Travis Black comes driving by in his estate car on his way home when he spots Beth. He takes her home, allows her to clean up and the two of them just click.
But Beth is at her cottage, taking a six month leave of absence, trying to recover from a mini breakdown brought on by her parents’ unexpected death and the revelation that her adored husband is a bigamist. The very last thing she is going to do is fall for Travis Black.
Travis is an immovable mountain. He wants Beth and pursues her madly. He’s not above deceiving her to get her to date him:
‘Sorry enough to share the odd meal with me when I’m in these parts without thinking I’ve some ulterior motive like ripping your clothes off and taking you to bed? You see, the truth of the matter is that sexually you’re not my type, Beth, but I find you interesting as a person. And that’s a compliment, incidentally,’ he added pleasantly. ‘There’s few people, men or women, I find interesting.’
She was so shocked that automatic pilot clicked in. ‘I see,’ she said numbly. Charming, absolutely charming.
I love the frank way that Travis confronted Beth about her fear of loving again. I loved that Beth was just trying to get her feet under her again. Her inability to move forward was completely plausible given the emotional upheaval in her recent past. Both Travis and Beth are thoughtful people and even though the story is told in the limited third (only from Beth’s point of view), you still get the idea of what kind of person Travis is. He’s incredibly patient. A romantic. He’s devious but not in an underhanded way.
“So…” Beth was feeling her way here. Groping in the dark. “Do you believe people can meet and be happy with various other people but that there is only one person who is truly the love of their life?”
“Exactly,” he said, his voice cool. He didn’t look at her as he continued, “And you’re damn lucky if you find them. Few do. And you’re even luckier if they love you back in the same way. It happens but it’s rare.”
I can see, also, why Beth was attractive to Travis. She was smart and pleasant to be around. There was a sense of peacefulness about her even though her emotional state was in turmoil while near Travis. Her fears were reasonable given her past and she didn’t succumb to Travis’ seductions immediately. She made him work for her.
The stories depend on the “one true love” theory. A reader who finds that notion unbelievable might have difficulty with the plots and storylines in a Brooks novel. If you don’t mind it or you actually like the soulmate theory (and I do), she writes a very emotionally satisfying book. B+
This book can be purchased in mass market or ebook format.
Upon reading your two Helen Brooks reviews I couldn’t resist any longer and got the books from my library today. I would never have thought it possible to find such nice alpha heroes and bright heroines in a Harlequin Presents, now that was a real joy. About the only thing which truly irked me was the author’s omission of the hero’s point of view. I remember mentioning NR (I think) that it once even was forbidden, but nowadays that can’t apply anymore. Throughout reading the book I kept thinking that maybe the next page or next chapter would reveal more about him, but NO … NO such luck.
Katie — I think that’s been my only complaint with Helen Brooks stories, as well. Not that I don’t think she does a great job with getting the hero’s feelings across; I think I’ve just been spoiled, and look forward to the hero’s POV (and am disappointed when it doesn’t show up.)
And I know it’s because it was SUCH a revelation to me when categories finally started allowing the hero’s POV. I ate those books up. So it’s not really a fault in Brooks’s writing — just something that happened in my reading development, and my really strong preference to have both POVs.
I honestly don’t know, too, if the heroine’s journey and development could be done as well (given the word constraints of the HP series) if both POVs were used. The thing about Brooks’s books that stand out to me IS that slow and deep character development; so if I have to trade the hero’s POV for that, I guess I’m willing :-D
LOL, it seems I am not alone. My library has over 40 books of her, AND I would gobble them up in an instant weren’t it for this teeny, tiny problem. The thing is, that the heroine’s POV could be virtually perfect and the book still wouldn’t really work for me. Brooks seems to be an old hand at writing categories, I am sure she could adapt to such changes with success.
I think part if the reason that her work is so successful is because of the construct. The hero lulls the heroine into believing that he isn’t interested and then even when he admits his attraction, often times we don’t know the full of extent or depth of his feelings. It adds a certain mystique to the character. The heroes are extraordinarily nice. I hadn’t articulated that in my mind.
All I have to say is well done to Helen. Her books manage to take me away from the same thing day in day out life I lead. When I get home late, or after a stressful day I cant wait to get lost in one of her masterpiece’s and loose myself in where her words and my imagination is taking me. I read all sorts of books and I always have a couple on the go at any one time and I must say none are as easy reading as Helen’s. A Suspicious Proposal was my last read and I have read it at least 6 times. Xavier Grey is a fantastic character and his sence of power is overwhelming, the story is a total feel good one.
I see I am going to have to go online and order a bunch of them. I have exhausted my local UBS.