It’s been a while since I last read a contemporary romance from the Harlequin set and unless it’s Grey writing, it’ll probably be a while before I pick up another one again. Here’s a review of the two part Fitzroy Legacy…
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I think I was about nineteen when I pretty much stopped reading category romances. I still liked them, but none of the blurbs really called me to pick the books up.
I read this book because I had time and nothing else to do in it. Strictly speaking if I were to compare the writing, the technique, the character development and so on to many authors I’ve recently read in other genres I would end up giving it a hopeful 3 stars. But I’m not comparing.
I was feeling restless and grim and India Grey gave me a story light enough and sweet enough to bring me out of the doldrums and get interested in where her characters end up.
That’s a winner.
The story is stock. A girl helping out a friend, pretends to be his girlfriend while he figures out how to come out to them about his sexual orientation. She meets her friend’s half brother on the train and unwittingly earns both his interest and distrust. The brothers happen to be the sons of a very rich earl. The half brother, sexy and cynical, spends the weekend trying to expose her as a gold-digger but ends up falling for her. There is the moral dilemma of wanting your brother’s fiance and not being able to forget her. There is her dilemma of wanting to tell him the truth but not being able to betray her friend. In the end it comes down to trust.
Throughout the story there were several clues to a big reveal that never came. It seemed that the last page had given us the HEA but I was confused. What about those clues?
Thankfully, while searching out other India Grey stories online I came across the second part to this ‘saga’ – In bed with a Stranger.
And now I’m off to read it…
Which I do…and a day later, here’s the review of the second book.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It’s a very good thing I’m determined not to score India Grey’s books against the larger literary works of the english novel writing world. While her writing is very good, her plots all have a feel of been there, worked that to death. Her saving grace is that she can bring these oft used tropes to new life.
Also, what is it about category romances that most of the suspense, drama and intrigue happen inside the characters’ heads? There’s always a misunderstanding, there’s always lack of communication and there’s always one of the protagonists running after the other in the end, in a final bid to save the relationship – or to apologize for being a jerk. The whole apologize-confess-finally declare true feelings always happens in one conversation just before the epilogue.
I know that this whole genre is emotion based, so perhaps it’s not surprising that the outside world rarely truly intrudes into the story – it’s always a personal conflict of trust, compatibility, wrong assumptions, worth-complex (as in: he can’t love me because I’m so far beneath him!) and…trust.
Trust is a big plot device.
Bring forth a hundred randomly selected romance novels and I’ll promise you that trust features heavily in ninety of them.
Rightly so. It’s a big issue in life too. Only in romance novels trust can be broken in two ways: hero hides something from the heroine that the heroine finds out after/or just before his declaration of love and then can’t trust is declaration (or vice-versa) OR the heroine suspects the hero of cheating on her and then doesn’t sticking around long enough to confront him with it.
Anyway, in this story trust isn’t the main plot (unless you really want to go into the subtext). The issues are partly – abandonment and fear of rejection.
Pretty stock. But what I loved about it was that –
1)It’s a continuation from the HEA ending of the book Craving the Forbidden, going more into the issues that crop up when you declare love and commitment to someone you’ve known all of four weeks and when one of you returns from a far away war torn country with PTSD and doesn’t know what’s wrong with him.
2)The hero’s an English army Major with awesome hotness and a longing for the girl that is both touching and sexy as hell.
This is a really rambling review, and you have my apologies for it. These books just reminded me why I gave up reading category romances (there’s no plot, really, beyond the romance) and why I once found them so addictive (it’s ALL about the romance!).
- Kate Cuthbert’s Challenge: Read These 5 Romance Novels and Then Tell Me You Don’t Love Romance Novels (booktopia.com.au)
- The Groveling Potential of a Grouchy Hero (ridingwiththetopdown.wordpress.com)
- A Heroine Worth Saving? (kenradaniels.com)
- Top 10 Greatest Romance Novels of All Time (chiefwritingwolf.com)