Another One of Those Sort-Of REVIEWS: Victoria Dahl’s FLIRTING WITH DISASTER and Betrayal in Romance

Flirting_With_DisasterIf you’re literal-minded, or a prig, or easily titillated, the stand-out elements of Victoria Dahl’s Flirting With the Disaster are explicit love scenes and the hero and heroine’s foul mouths. These may be good reasons to read Dahl’s contemporary romance, or reject it in outrage. Which is why Miss Bates wants to get the review part over with pronto. Because she has other things to say. The first quarter or so, the set-up, left Miss Bates dubious: like taking that first bite of a new dish. The uncertainty: “Do I like this? What’s that strange flavour?” By the time the heroine’s combination of vulnerability and independent spirit were established, she was a fan. The hero had to work harder to win her. By the time things were heart-wrenching, she was a goner. If you don’t want to read how Dahl’s romance about U. S. marshal hero, Tom Duncan, and hermit-artist heroine, Isabelle West, got Miss Bates thinking about genre conventions, don’t read on. Read the novel (consider yourself warned about its rawness; she’ll let its tenderness take you by surprise). Then come back, tell her what you think about what follows. Or not. As long as you read it.

Dahl’s Flirting With Disaster has the familiar marks of romantic suspense. Isabelle West, 36, is an anatomical artist in the Wyoming countryside outside Jackson, a loner with a cat named Bear and secrets. She lives on “Spinster Row” with her black chef lesbian neighbour-friend (say it aloud, it sounds really cool), Jill Washington, who is, along with all the secondary characters, beautifully drawn. Deputy Marshal Tom Duncan, 42, is in town from Cheyenne to protect Judge Anthony Chandler, threatened by a fugitive nut-ball survivalist. Tom meets Isabelle when he and his team patrol her woods and environs. Miss Bates noted their ages because it was refreshing, after her recent foray into NA romance, to read an adult hero and heroine who know their minds and bodies.

Isabelle intrigues Tom and he’s sexy as heck to her: but they have reasons to stay away from each other. Isabelle lives under an assumed identity. Fourteen years ago, her cop father, embroiled in police department corruption, killed a fellow officer. Isabelle, a pre-med student at the time, was engaged to his superior’s son. Once her father abandoned the family and ran from justice, Isabelle’s life imploded: her father implicated her; her fiancé, an aspiring DA, dumped her; and the police “family” she thought would protect her turned on her. She has reasons to be suspicious of law enforcement and hence, her initial hostility towards Tom. Nevertheless, she can’t resist their sexual sizzling. Isabelle is a woman who knows what she likes and wants. She’s made a good life for herself and is fearless about reaching out for pleasure when it beckons. She’s had less love and care than most.

Tom is a dedicated and intelligent officer, honouring his profession’s values. He’s a good guy, but he behaves badly. There’s something about Isabelle that doesn’t sit right. Tom is a guy who can’t resist the lure of helping someone, especially a damsel in distress. There’s everything right in her body, laughter, and smarts and he wants it all. While they flirt and trip the mating dance, he snoops into her background. His actions are invasive, but he’s got the true cop’s itch to uncover truth and bring justice where there wasn’t. Isabelle and Tom become lovers, passionate, affectionate, mature, give-and-take lovers: their love scenes are not tossed into the narrative as industry standards; they’re purposeful and red-hot. Each scene, rife with raw sexuality, reflects their developping relationship.

When a romance narrative is great, as Dahl’s, genre conventions are upheld and surpassed, affirmed and subverted. In a recent Book Riot post, Jessica Tripler (of Read React Review) identified ten terms she learned from romance, one of them “the grovel,” which she defines as what happens “when the romance hero has done something Very Bad to the heroine and needs to make up for it.” Miss Bates’ interest lies in the “Very Bad,” which she argues is often some form of betrayal (except for the one betrayal that most romance readers deem unacceptable, infidelity). The Grovel is dependent on The Betrayal. The depth of the betrayal is dependent on how well the romance writer has developped the hero and heroine’s relationship. The depth of the relationship is established on the premise of “forsaking all others,” not that this constitutes a marriage (though it may be part of the HEA), but the establishment of exclusivity between hero and heroine. Dahl’s succinct romance narrative is a near-perfect illustration of all this.

Miss Bates is fascinated by the ways romance writers construct the hero and heroine’s attraction. Their initial physical awareness of each other is shorthand to the ways they eventually love each other. For example, Isabelle recalls her first impression of Tom: “He’d been tall. Lean. With short, dark hair just turning a bit gray at the temples … he’d had a pretty great face. A strong nose and dark eyebrows over intense green eyes. And lips that looked soft to the touch against all that masculinity.” Note the “bit gray”: a mature man, suggesting experience, maybe even a hint of suffering. The nose is “strong;” the eyes, intense green; the lips, soft: a desirable combination standing in for the personality the heroine will learn, strength, intensity, and soft “spots.” Tom’s first impression of Isabelle is cautious, but he’s intrigued: ” … he still wasn’t sure he had a read on Isabelle West yet. He wouldn’t say she was mean, exactly. But as for feral … well, there was something a little wild about her. Something unfiltered. She said what she meant and wasn’t coy about her moods.” While Isabelle seems to note things about Tom that will make her feel safe, a potential harbour, Tom’s impression is of Isabelle as unknown territory. He has more questions than answers, but her mystery fascinates him. His police work bespeaks a man who takes on wild, unknown, dangerous things. Tom is a cautious man, meticulous and exacting, superb at his job, but he is “filtered.” He’s drawn by opposing qualities in his heroine. His qualities, as noted by Isabelle, are what are required to take on her mystery. We, the readers, now have the romance narrative Rubik’s cube and are starting to twist and turn the sides to reach completion/HEA.

The furthering of the couple’s romance occurs through individuation, as initial attraction is accompanied by conversation and internal observations (which is maybe why readers are dissatisfied when any one of these elements tips to too much, or too little; suffice to say romance writing is as complex as any writing). Dahl creates a gem of a scene in the following:

… she wiped the bottle over her brow. Her nipples tightened. He watched, despite that his brain was screaming at him to look away. Look away! God, they were … perfect.

“Are you staring at my breasts, Marshal Duncan?”

He jumped as if he’d been touched with a live wire. He couldn’t deny it, and he couldn’t excuse it. “Shit. Um. I’m sorry.”

She shrugged again, and to his complete shock, she smiled. “It’s all right. If you were standing there in workout shorts, I’d stare at your ass. I guarantee it. Your thighs, too.”

The scene is crude and funny. It’s also honest and cultivates character beautifully. It builds on initial impressions: Tom’s fascination is cracked open by Isabelle’s honesty, her “unfiltered” wildness. He plays blushing straight man to her wit. Later, Isabelle’s introspection builds on her attraction to Tom; he takes shape in her mind, not only as a body, but a unique person who takes on meaning: “Something about him drew her in … even though she didn’t trust cops anymore, even though she wanted nothing to do with any of them … She’d spent her whole life around cops. She knew how they moved and spoke and thought. She loved the wariness in his eyes each time he entered a darkened room. The way his hand went to his gun when he was on alert. The way he studied her face when she spoke, trying to figure her out.” Tom could be Isabelle’s nemesis: all his categories are what she doesn’t want, but his uniqueness overrides her stay-safe instincts. This is essential to creating the Very Bad (that Jessica spoke of), the betrayal romance appropriates as its dark night of the couple-soul. Tom too goes beyond Isabelle’s “breasts” to what makes her unique, the only woman for him, “… the easy way she moved through the house in the woods that was hers alone … She was his opposite in every way. Pale and soft and curved. Amused by everything. Unconcerned by things she couldn’t control. Happy to take what she wanted, whether it was him or a glass of wine or a moment to dance around the living room.” Tom’s attraction to Isabelle is rooted in the physical, as hers for Tom; in both their cases, however, in the uniquely physical, key to cementing fidelity. It also moves to her attitude towards life, pleasure, how she chooses to live it. That is what Tom cannot find in anyone else. The mystery of the Other that says, “You. Only you.”

Once individuation is incarnated, hero and heroine begin the process of healing each other. They’ve come to the narrative wounded, diminished, or incomplete: the relationship they share, volatile, or tender, is built on the bedrock of connection, recognition, and exclusivity (even if, and this makes for a failed romance narrative, it’s solely physical). It’s also formed in taking each others’ woundedness and shaping wholeness, completion, and hope. Here, for example, is such a moment for Tom: ” … he needed someone just like her, and there was already too much between them … His knees shook a little. His heart shook a lot … She’d made him vulnerable again, but this time it was good, as if she were kissing all of him at once.” Tom’s cracks are solitude, exactitude, and emotional reticence; Isabelle takes those away, breaks him open and makes him whole. He serves a similar function for her: ” … Isabelle had reached her limit of socializing for the week. She needed time to not speak to anyone for a while. Except Tom. That she could handle … ” Isabelle’s hermetic, introverted existence has rendered her feral, solitary, like an animal in a lair. Tom breaks that open for her and brings in the light of communication and understanding.

The reader, romance writer, and narrative are bound tight now and, if the narrative is “working” its mystery, we are invested in it. Which is when the writer has to smash it to bits with the “Very Bad,” the Betrayal. This is how the romance narrative remakes the world into a better one and where its value lies (value it’s rarely afforded). In Dahl’s masterful handling of this moment, she pits the hero’s professional ethics against the woman he loves. (This Very Bad moment may come earlier in the relationship and create a conflict when the hero and heroine re-encounter one another: it is a thorn in their relationship side and tugging and pulling at it will set it bleeding. This works beautifully in Jeannie Lin’s Jade Temptress and St. James’ The Other Side of Midnight. In rarer cases, this theme of ethical compromise may be reversed and the heroine may be responsible for betraying the hero. Her work may be implicated, such as Molly O’Keefe’s terrific Crazy Thing Called Love. It’s interesting that O’Keefe, who can’t write a bad romance narrative if her life depended on it, has the hero’s betrayal in the background to this reunited husband-and-wife tale.) [SPOILER-ISH AHEAD … DUCK!] When Isabelle’s past shows up in the form of an FBI agent, Tom must “bring her in”. The scene where Tom cuffs Isabelle is viscerally powerful because of the tight warp and weft of attraction, affection, and exclusivity Dahl built to between them and that we trusted, even when we know THIS is coming:

He blocked her knee with his thigh and twisted her arms around until she was facing away from him.

“Stop,” he said close to her ear, his arms wrapped around her in a parody of intimacy. She screamed and struggled, but she knew it was hopeless. All those muscles she’d admired so much weren’t just for show, and she was just a stupid, useless artist who couldn’t fight or hide or protect herself. Her screams turned to sobs.

“Isabelle. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I didn’t know how to tell you.”

“How long have you known?” she managed to say past her thick throat. Her voice sounded like a stranger’s.

“Shit,” he muttered, and she knew. He’d known from the start.

“You knew before. Before you even got here.” … She slumped, giving up fighting. She’d given herself away, just as she’d feared, and now it was all over. “Just take me in,” she rasped. “I don’t want to talk to you anymore. Ever.”

“She knew”: two monosyllabic words and the romance narrative collapses in on itself. “I’m sorry” and the work of atonement (Miss Bates sticks it to anti-romance Ian McEwan) is incipient in it. Miss Bates loved the phrase “in a parody of intimacy”. Tom becomes Isabelle’s nemesis: the romance narrative is made more powerful when hero, or heroine transforms from lover to enemy, from hero to villain. The clash between the “real” world, the public arena of law, or war, or politics, and the possibility of hearth, often but not necessarily represented by the heroine (in O’Keefe’s narrative, the hero suddenly finds himself father to siblings, has to go “domestic” instead of rogue and the heroine to make her way to him/them from her professional world) must reach a point when all is lost, when interests and values are irreconcilable. The romance’s darkest moment: when the curtain of the possible is rent, when altars are smashed and darkness descends. Tom must now take up the burden of rebuilding as after a great storm when everything lies in ruins. The hero’s “grovel,” so eloquently described by Jessica, is part and parcel of his task. He must repair/rebind/cement the lost connection. Tom has to make amends, step by step and action by action, avowal by avowal. How he does so is part of the magic of this romance Miss Bates wouldn’t want to spoil. What is Isabelle’s/the heroine’s role? She must find it in herself to trust in the hero again, to accept the gift, to believe in its genuineness, as Isabelle/Dahl so beautifully puts it, to believe in “sticky, scary love.”

Miss Bates is indebted to the work of the Gospel writers, Northrop Frye, and Pamela Regis for inspiring this post. If you’ve stuck with it, dear reader, you too deserve her gratitude, as does Victoria Dahl for writing a near-perfect romance (not that Miss Bates has many caveats, but only God is perfect, after all).

Miss Austen says of Dahl’s Flirting With Disaster “there is no charm equal to tenderness of heart,” Emma.

Victoria Dahl’s Flirting With Disaster is published by HQN, Harlequin; it has been available in e and paper since January 27th and may be found at your preferred vendors. Miss Bates is eternally grateful to Harlequin books for an e-ARC, via Netgalley.

Well, dear reader, if you’ve stuck with Miss Bates thus far, hit her with your comments and especially favourite romance betrayals. The genre is rife with them: one of Miss Bates’ most memorable is the moment Jane Eyre learns of Rochester’s premeditated bigamy, foreshadowed by the razed tree under which they shared avowals of love. His atonement/amends require visible wounds/stigmata of romantic love and only the wronged, compassionate, forgiving Jane can resurrect him.

Further thoughts: Another visceral and, in Miss Bates’ estimation, near-unbearable, near-breaking-of-the-romance-reader painfully protracted betrayal moment is Rachel’s humiliation at Sebastien’s hands in Patricia Gaffney’s To Have and To Hold. It’s romance’s “Grand Inquisitor” moment, with Rachel’s silent passivity and acceptance and Sebastien’s cold yet frenzied cruelty.

Miss Bates took at jab at Ian McEwan’s Atonement above and she’ll gladly take another one. Atonement is the ultimate anti-romance novel, lulling the reader into believing in the cross-class romance of Robbie and Cecilia. McEwan betrays the reader by building a romance narrative, complete with HEA, and then smashing it to bits in the epilogue. There aren’t any babies, Cecilia and Robbie don’t grow to comfortable old age in a comfie cottage, drinking tea and holding gnarled hands. Instead, we are handed an epilogue that says you cannot believe in the narrative, you can’t hold on to the promise or hope. McEwan achieves this brilliantly by indicting and simultaneously undoing the very act of writing the romance. It’s no wonder that Miss Bates threw this novel across the room when she reached the end. 

How does the betrayal moment affect the reader?

21 thoughts on “Another One of Those Sort-Of REVIEWS: Victoria Dahl’s FLIRTING WITH DISASTER and Betrayal in Romance

  1. I love your thoughtful, insightful, and detailed reviews. It hardly matters whether I am interested in or think I will like the book you are reviewing (but in this case, YES).

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  2. WOW! This romance may have been near-perfect, Miss B, however your review of it is absolutely perfect! I feel like you about Victoria Dahl. Her explicit love scenes push my boundaries. They are too graphic for me however they are always inl ine with the narrative and her narrative, her wonderful storytelling, her deep understanding of how people building a relationship can be hurt but can also be nurtured, make her books a must read. I really enjoyed Flirting with Disaster. Your review throws light on why I enjoyed it. Thank you so much for sharing your deep insight.

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    • The love scenes were graphic and I wasn’t always comfortable with them, but they made sense. There wasn’t any disconnect between personality outside the love scenes and inside. I love what you say about “how building a relationship” can hurt and nurture: in it, two can be known and misunderstood, private and subject to outside forces. Dahl really captures that so well and that means, no matter how I have to leave my comfort-love-scene zone, Dahl’s understood the genre deeply and well. Thank you for your comment: it means a lot to me! 🙂

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  3. In many ways, that “Very Bad” moment in romance goes hand in glove with The Grovel. That moment really is the dark night of the soul, and I always wonder how/if this couple can make it through to the light. I wonder, too, if the author can make *me* love the hero/heroine (whomever does the betraying) after he/she smashes everything to bits. When the betrayal and the grovel are in sync, the book usually turns out to be one I read over and over again, even as I hide behind my hands because I know what’s coming. 😉 When it fails, well….

    A histrom with one of the “worst” betrayals/”best” grovels for me is Lady Gallant by Suzanne Robinson. Christian believes Nora, his bride, is a traitor/spy and that she’s responsible for the attack on his father which almost killed him. Of course in Elizabethan/Tudor times, a scratch could kill you, but dear Papa was almost mortally wounded. Of course, his wrongheadedness is based on the BIG MIS (another Jessica RRR term) and in the time it takes to clear it up, Christian is a real “alphahole hero” (that’s two!).

    Beyond physical hardships Nora is forced to endure (locked in a remote part of his manor, under guard, and in ill-furnished quarters), Christian’s emotional betrayal was THE WORST (throwing her love for him in her face, dismissing her/it as worthless, belittling/mocking her appearance, forcing her to dine/socialize with thieves as well as watch as he flirts with prostitutes). The point I almost chunked the book against the wall is when Nora witnesses (arranged by Christian) Christian and Mag the whore in bed together. For Nora (and me) that was the last straw. Nora’s love is well and truly dead. She doesn’t just give lip service to this awful truth, every action and thought Nora takes from this point to the point of reconciliation revolves around that moment and Christian’s cruelty.

    At this point, I couldn’t imagine how their relationship could be salvaged or if I could continue. Adultery is just one of those hot buttons for me, especially because of the very distasteful reasons behind Christian’s actions. But here’s where the grovel plays such an important role. When/if it’s sincere and commensurate with the depth of the betrayal, it’s slightly easier to forgive, or begin to forgive, the hero, but not if it’s underwhelming, wimpy, short-lived.

    In Lady Gallant, Suzanne Robinson shows the repercussions of Christian’s faithlessness on both Nora and Christian. She doesn’t allow Christian to take the easy way out with charm or gifts in an attempt to buy forgiveness. He has to work for it, for a very long time. He has to begin all over again with Nora, earning her trust by inches. Neither does she allow Nora to become stagnant or play the victim/martyr. Instead, the betrayal is the catalyst for Nora the mouse to become Nora the Dragon, and the grovel is the catalyst for Christian to become a better man.

    The biggest hurdle Christian has to face/overcome wasn’t Nora’s hatred; it was her indifference. Guilt and remorse and a sense of what he threw away takes a toll on him. He can’t sleep or eat. Nora flinches from his touch, throws his jewels out a window, and rejects every overture. Nothing seems to penetrate her icy shield. These are the physical manifestations of the loss of Nora’s esteem (not as dramatic as Rochester’s, but they suffice). I believed his remorse to be genuine because he doesn’t give up, no matter how many times Nora rejects him. His atonement was a continuing process and multi-faceted. It was wonderful watching the balance of power shift from Christian to Nora and then transform to an almost perfect balance between them.

    I’ve read and liked some of Victoria Dahl’s histroms (A little Bit Wild, A Rake’s Guide To Pleasure) as well as a couple of her contemporaries (Close Enough To Touch was excellent, but ending of Lead Me On felt more like HFN, not HEA. Too many unresolved issues for heroine). I may give this one a try just because the age of the couple is so unusual (and great!) and your review of it was wonderful.

    (Sorry I went on longer than I intended.)

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    • I loved your analysis of the Robinson … *scurries off to Amazon* & yes, it’s available in paper no less! And your description of how a reader responds to the Betrayal/Grovel. I think of it like Janus who, according to Wikipedia (thanks, W.) is the god who precedes over beginnings and endings, over war and peace. He is the gateway god. The experience is liminal: the romance builds and in the reader, aware and yet invested and suspended over the betrayal’s precipice (hence, the horrified, eyes, and fingers clutched to lips while reading), BAM. It all comes tumbling down: everything that came before can no longer be, the dividing-line is there, stark and painful in the Betrayal and the work of repairing the rift must begin. Like Penelope making her father-in-law’s shroud: keeping the fact of the suitors away, because once she gives in, it means Odysseus is dead. And yet, she’s making and unmaking a shroud: the pain of it all is woven in it. And Odysseus: OY, he did quite a bit of betraying off scene. But he stayed faithful too. The moment of recognition in Penelope and Odysseus’s story comes when he can prove to her that he knows something of their wedding-bed that no one else can. That it is rooted, immovable, and that is the symbol of their bond. It’s quite beautiful … if the romance reader can forgive the Calypso episode quietly in the background. 😉

      P.S. In Miss Bates’ universe, there is no going on too long!

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  4. I suspect that Dahl’s love scenes will push me beyond my comfort zone, but on the strength of this review, I’ll try the book. The protagonists’ maturity is also a selling point. BTW, you’re also responsible for my purchase of Pamela Regis’s book earlier this afternoon.

    When Mary Balogh digitizes Dancing with Clara, I’ll be quite interested to read your take on betrayal, atonement, and redemption in that book. It features a marriage of convenience in which the heroine’s eyes are wide open and the hero thinks, for a while at least, that she’s fallen for his “madly in love” ruse. It’s short and dark and definitely one of my favorites by Balogh.

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    • Honestly, I was never “comfortable” with the love scenes even while I loved the book: but they are purposeful, I promise. I love early Balogh and I’m so glad that her books are being made available. Goodness knows, there are so many beloved readers who are so ready to see them again! That’s the perfect trinity, by the way, when we talk about romance, what you said, “betrayal, atonement, and redemption.”

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  5. WOW! What a great review! What a great review. Like the commenter above, Dahl’s love scenes are beyond my comfort zone but I want to read this book on the strength of this review alone.

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    • Thank you very much: that’s so kind. I loved writing about this book because it gave me so much to think about. These ideas have been mulling around my head, but sometimes, the romance muse visits and I was able to encapsulate them. The novel gave me the perfect illustration of them.

      P.S. The love scenes were way beyond my comfort zone too: I’m a tad ready for a good inspie right about now … 😉

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  6. I’ll echo the previous two commenters and say this review has definitely made me want to read the book! I also love your mention of Rochester in Jane Eyre, which was the first example of the Betrayal that came to me too. You beautifully describe Rochester’s need for atonement and visible wounds, which puts me in mind of Romney Leigh in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh (a novel in verse that parallels JE in many ways). Romney’s need for atonement isn’t as clearly needed because his betrayal mainly consists of a misguided attempt to marry women he doesn’t love after the one he does love refuses him! But the visible wounds are there.

    With all this talk of the Betrayal and the Grovel, I have to ask, is the heroine ever the one who betrays the hero and/or the one who has to grovel? I can’t think of any examples off the top of my head but I’m struggling with this in a novel I’m revising now. I think my heroine needs to grovel but don’t know how to reconcile that with her (or my) feminist leanings!

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    • I think you might find the Molly O’Keefe novel I mention in the post quite interesting, Crazy Thing Called Love, a reunited husband-and-wife romance. What O’Keefe does is so interesting (what O’Keefe does is always interesting!). Billy and Maddy married young: Billy’s career took off, Maddie was subject to it … she caught him one night in a compromising position. It ended their young and naïve marriage. When they meet again, it’s at Billy’s instigation, so he’s already set the atonement/amends wheels in motion to make up for the betrayal. His GROVEL has to be HUGE! But what’s interesting is that Maddie’s career may take off even bigger than it already is if she betrays Billy … so there’s a titfortat going there. BUT BUT BUT it’s interesting that Maddie’s betrayal “case” is one of ambition and NOT professional ethics as what happens in Dahl’s Flirting With Disaster. Is that because we cannot accept even a hint of ambition over the woman he loves in the hero, or is it that we can forgive it more readily in the heroine? It’s romance, after all, so everyone, IN THE END, behaves well. In a long ago post, I wrote about how the romance heroine receives love and good sex, yes, but also vindication. And that too is exactly what happens in Dahl’s novel: though Isabelle has done some wrong, she’s mainly taken the fall for a corrupt world. Part of Tom’s repairing of the world, as a good man, as his partner calls him, is to ensure Isabelle’s vindication, as does the hero in Milan’s novella.

      I think that romance has to be about the triumph of the personal over the worldly, of love over ambition, of love over codes of honour, etc. Especially when those codes have been compromised by the worldly, by men like the heroine’s corrupt cop father: the hero has to redress wrong, re-establish Isabelle’s place in the world AND grovel: what more could a romance reader ask for?

      If your heroine needs to grovel, she should grovel. Grovelling isn’t anti-feminist if she’s been shabby. It’s like Knightley’s “It was badly done, indeed, Emma.” We gotta own our sins, that’s feminist. 😉

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    • I don’t know if you’ve read Rose Lerner’s Sweet Disorder and True Pretenses? Lerner does some interesting and original things with this idea of betrayal, especially in True Pretenses, which I loved (I loved them both! A lot!), especially interesting at its end. I don’t want to give anything away, but she situates the betrayal in a way outside of the hero and heroine’s relationship. At the same time, the heroine has to rescue the helpless hero. It’s not a feminist rallying cry, but it’s beautifully ironic and deeply poignant. I think you’ll find it most interesting and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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  7. Thank you for the review. Apart from the fact that I don’t have the same issues with the love scenes as you do, our reading tastes appear to align, so I am always interested in your reviews of books I have read. Victoria Dahl is on my auto buy list, and I did enjoy reading Flirting with Disaster.

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    • Thank you for your comment! Because it’s always so lovely to know there are like-minded readers. Like you, I think Dahl is such an interesting writer and really “gets” the genre.

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