Tag: A-Hero-Who-Weeps

REVIEW: Molly O’Keefe’s WILD CHILD, Will It “Make Your Heart Sing”?

Wild ChildIn The Crucible (1953), Arthur Miller’s “wild child,” Abigail Williams, says to her tormented, married lover, John Proctor,  “A wild thing may say wild things.  But not so wild, I think … I have seen you … burning in your loneliness.”  In 1966, The Troggs sang, “Wild thing, you make my heart sing … Wild thing, I think I love you.”  In those two most unlike and unconnected quotations, Miss Bates stands before Molly O’Keefe’s Wild Child with a conflicted response/recommendation/critique.  See?  Conflicted.  Because Wild Child is very well written, with figurative language that zings for reader attention, honest, raw dialogue, and love scenes that are sexy and shaming.  If this is to your taste, Wild Child may be a compelling ride of a read; it is tightly written and character-driven and will remind you of Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome To Temptation.  To Miss Bates, it remains a novel she struggled with.  It is, picking our signals from Miller and The Troggs, about the consequences of a life lived on the edge, loneliness, and love.  Maybe the exercise of writing about it will help Miss B. reach a balanced, steady view? 

“Wild child” free-spirit heroine Monica Appleby meets golden-good-boy hero Jackson Davies … except she’s not “wild” any more and “wild” is all he wants to be.  On the basis of this premise, O’Keefe writes another signature romance novel where bad girl re-makes herself into a cleaner, stronger, better version and good boy takes a walk on the wild side.  At cross purposes in their lives’ paths, at odds with themselves, these two figures, who are not ready for love or commitment, fall in love … most unconvincingly.  Miss Bates loved O’Keefe’s writing, highlighted many bits and pieces of its skill and smoothness, but the romance, the love these two feel and want by the end, Miss B. just can’t see it, can’t see their future, their happiness, or their life together.  This was one of several problematic elements in O’Keefe’s romance narrative.   Read on for more of Miss Bates’ thoughts on O’Keefe’s latest

REVIEW: Juliana Stone’s THE CHRISTMAS HE LOVED HER and Came Home

The Christmas He Loved HerWhat if Jim Sheridan’s 2009 film, Brothers, were a romance novel? What if the brothers were war heroes?  What if one came home and the other didn’t?  What if they were twins?  What if they’d loved the same girl since they were children?  What if pain and guilt and love and memories hung like a pall over the mourners?  What if grief for the one who didn’t come home crippled the living … parents, brother, wife, friends, and a town?  It might, says Miss Bates, be Juliana Stone’s second book in her Bad Boys of Crystal Lake series, The Christmas He Loved Her.  How can a romance novel flawed in its inception be right in execution?  How did Miss Bates come to enjoy a novel that pushed many of her ick-factor buttons?        Continue reading: will Miss Bates work out her ambivalence about Stone’s novel?

REVIEW: Culling the TBR One Letter At A Time, “B” Is For Barry

roses2In the spirit of Disclosure! that has been the subject of an interesting discussion at Something More, Miss Bates confesses to being disposed to like Barry’s Brave In Heart for reasons other than her love of: American-set historical romance, spinster-schoolmarm heroines, military heroes, and Ken Burns’s The Civil War.  Ms Barry is a sympathetic and likeable blog presence to Miss Bates, though they’ve never met in person, nor communicated in any other fashion.  Frankly, Miss Bates was whew-relieved when Brave In Heart, Barry’s Connecticut-Civil-War-set romance captivated her from the opening sentence … and proved to be without any connection to one of Miss Bates’s most abhorred novels, Gone With the Wind.  With only minor bumps along the road to reader-joy, Miss Bates loved Brave In Heart … and, like Oliver Twist, begs for, “Some more, please.” Continue reading for Miss Bates’s thoughts on this wonderful novella

REVIEW: Miranda Neville’s THE RUIN OF A ROGUE, Or Honour For a Thief

The Ruin Of A RogueMiranda Neville’s latest, The Ruin Of A Rogue, second in the Georgian-set series that opened with the disappointing Importance of Being Wicked, was, contrariwise, delightful. Along with Grant’s A Woman Entangled, it is one of the best historical romances Miss Bates read this year. What a relief it was for her, after some recent duds, to sink into the replete reader immersion that a romance well-told and well-felt brings. Neville’s novel is adeptly written, witty, poignant, and utterly charming, as are her rogue and his beloved, Marcus Lithgow and Anne Brotherton. If you’ve read the less successful Importance, you’ll recall the scoundrel who indulged in certain shenanigans concerning the heroine’s, Caro’s, Titian and her geek heiress-cousin with the obsessive interest in antiquities. If you haven’t read Importance, you need not read it to enjoy this romance, though mysteries set up in the first are resolved in the second. Read on, for the whys and wherefores you should read this historical romance

REVIEW: Tackling the TBR One Letter At A Time: “A” Is For Archer

Velvet Bond“The best laid plans of mice, men” and Miss Bateses often run astray, ’tis true. Miss Bates, with doubt and trepidation vis-à-vis her resolve, embarks on a quest, sprigged hankie in hand: To Defeat The TBR (insert Rocky theme) … one letter at a time! Miss Bates herein commits to methodically and systematically whittle down her prodigious TBR, which now runs at … blush …  ahem … over 800 titles. Among whatever reviews she may have committed to elsewhere, she’s going to nab at the TBR every once in a while and send some snark 😦 or hark! 🙂 your way. Moreover, she’s exploring the whys and wherefores said volume ended up in the TBR. It’s interesting to her why we choose the books we do; join her in the comments to share the state of your TBR and its whys and wherefores. Miss Bates’s first Great TBR Whittle is brought to you by the letter “A”: Catherine Archer’s 1995 Velvet Bond. Read on to find out what Miss Bates thought of this first title from the tottering TBR

A REVIEWish Reading of Carla Kelly’s SUMMER CAMPAIGN, or The Hero-Suitor as Grand Strategist

Summer CampaignWhen Miss Bates rediscovered romance and dipped into various authors to determine who would suit for long-term relationships, she resolved to read certain authors’ oeuvres because she enjoyed, appreciated, or found the initial sampling thought-provoking . One of those was Carla Kelly; this reading comes of Miss Bates’s reach into the back-list. Summer Campaign did not disappoint. After a slow start, Summer Campaign was wonderful and had the rare honour of turning Miss Bates into a watering-pot on several counts. What is it about Kelly’s stories that Miss Bates finds poignant, slow in places and imperfect, but moving and loveable? In the case of Summer Campaign, it lies in Kelly’s use of a military metaphor to tell a story about laying a siege of the heart. If you are vulnerable to her writing and the type of stories she tells, Kelly’s novels besiege the reader’s heart, tear down the walls, and expose vulnerable centres all the while reminding us that the purposeful life is a life of service conducted with humour, strength, and good will. Read on for more of Miss Bates’s watering-pot commentary