REVIEW: The Personal Touch by Lori Borrill
Dear Ms. Borrill:
I have to confess that I had gotten used to your “ordinary people” romance and expected this one to be within that oevre. I did not read the blurb, but bought this on author name alone.
Clint Hilton has it all and I do mean all. He is mega rich (from being one of the biggest builders in LA); he is drop dead gorgeous (thanks to his parents); he is smooth (from all the practice he’s had playing the field). The longest he’s gone without sex has been about three weeks. Self sacrifice and failure aren’t in Clint Hilton’s vocabulary. The problem is that Clint’s mother lives with him and refuses to get her own home because she’s just not ready for that since his father died. Clint’s secretary, Carmen, gives him the name of Margot Roth, a relationship counselor and one of the best matchmakers in Hollywood.
Margot isn’t really a matchmaker but she does help individuals search for the cause of their relationship issues and pair them up with other clients. Clint’s mother, Jillian, is totally against matchmakers so Clint offers to pay Margot five times her regular rate in order for her to engage in a little subterfuge with Jillian. Margot is to have dinner with Clint and Jillian as many times as it will take to convince Jillian, I guess, to fall in love with someone and move out of Clint’s home. (Yes, Clint is an overweaning ass in that he doesn’t want his mom to be happy, he just wants to her to get the hell out of his house so he can have uncomplicated sex again and apparently for all his dough, can’t take a weekend at the Ritz).
Clint falls for Margot right away. In a weird twist, Clint kind of believes in love at first sight. Perhaps all his catting around town was because he wasn’t struck by the love lightning, only the sex lightning. The sex between Margot and Clint is very hot but it only exemplified what I thought was a huge power imbalance between Margot and Clint.
Margot was essentially helpless in the face of Clint. She wasn’t able to show any resistance to any of his machinations. Up until the very end, was completely spineless when it came to Clint even though she was supposed to be an insightful counselor. Further, Margot has a crisis of confidence when one of her relationships goes bad, suggesting that her techniques for pairing people up were flawed yet she never once speaks to her mentor and business partner about it.
I felt that Clint was a basically selfish person and that he never really learned any lesson in the story. The image I got from him was that as long as it was in his self interest to make someone happy, that person would be happy. He did go out of his way to make Margot happy. He went to a flea market with her. He took interest in her life, her work, her family.
There were so many issues that I thought were raised but never explored such as Clint’s reaction to his father’s death and his emotional distance with his family. Instead we were inundated at how great Clint was. In the end, the romance between Clint and Margot rested heavily on Clint always being in love with Margot. If you believe in that, then you can buy into the HEA. If you thought that Clint would wander at anytime, Margot’s happiness would be toast. C
This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.
I bought this because the premise and the cover looked sexy, but alas, it was a dud for me. I never felt emotionally connected to either of the characters, and I found Clint a superficial millionaire (in fact, most romance-novel millionaires never feel “privileged” or “wealthy”; they seem like regular middle-class guys with inflated incomes) and Margot a complete pushover. And despite this being a Blaze, I found the reasons for Margot and Clint to enter a no-strings-attached relationship to be very dull and trite. But what got my goat was that Clint was an asshole. When they took a break, I wanted Margot to kick him to the curb forever because he was so manipulative and sneaky. I didn’t find any of his overtures to Margot romantic at all because there is a fine line between pursuing an unwilling woman and pushing at her to become involved with him–and Clint crossed the line, IMO. I do like Borrill’s writing and based on the books listed on her website, she comes up with the most refreshing plots, but if the characters in this book are indicative of her other characters, I’ll have to pass. :/
Definitely won’t be reading. It’s looks like everything I detest about certain romance novels – superficial storyline, shallow characters, little or no suspense….
I’m kind of getting into the Harlequin Blazes–they’re short enough to read in about 2 hours for me, which makes them ideal for an evening alone. But I’ll have to pass on this one. I cannot STAND an asshole hero.
If he’s an asshole to others, fine, but when all his asshole is aimed at the heroine, I just can’t handle it. If he’s an asshole to you now, when he’s TRYING to get you to be with him, how much MORE of an asshole will he be later, when you’re WITH him?
They always have happy endings, of course, but they just aren’t as believable to me, because that thought is always in the back of my mind.
@Evangeline: Her other books do feature more regular characters. It’s one reason why I’ve grown to like her so much.
I just read this. I would have graded it higher, but I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I’d have liked. I liked the writing and would definitely be interested in picking up an “ordinary people” story of hers. That’s what I was looking for, a sexy category romance without a mogul/tycoon/etc.
So, you’re telling me I should probably stay away from Presents and Desire? LOL
Seriously, I’m sorry this one didn’t work for you. It’s one of the risks we take as writers of category especially, I think. In our efforts to keep things fresh and avoid a rut, we strive to mix it up and experiment with character types we haven’t done before. The result is they’ll work for some, not so much for others.
I do very much appreciate your giving the book a shot, though, and hope you’ll keep giving me a try. My next Blaze on the shelves will feature a chef–a return to the regular guy kinda hero that has frequented my other books. So I’ll keep my fingers crossed!
I’m always fascinated how we can all read the same book and have completely different responses to it’s content…it’s kinda like jury duty when you start deliberations and you wonder “what case were they listening to”.
I LOVED THIS BOOK…in fact I stayed up until 1:00 in the morning til I finished reading it. Clint was a wonderful Alpha character and I bought into the entire premise..I don’t disagree with the other opinions being offered but I thought the book was well written and I willingly enjoyed the journey the author took me on.
I love your way of writing stories. It took me 3years to read this book, bought from an all kind of stuff bookstore and to tell you the truth I have with me all copies of ur blaze books (digital and hard bound). I dont know if ur planning to have ur spot in either ‘Presents’ or ‘Desire’ or u already have but please be inform that I’m one of ur followers. Go LB.