MINI-REVIEW: Liz Fielding’s THE BILLIONAIRE’S CONVENIENT BRIDE

Billionaire_Convenient_BrideAfter Kingston’s intense, lengthy Desire Lines, I needed a romance palate cleanser and Liz Fielding’s signature gently-created world was the perfect choice. Though I fulfilled my wish for bluebell gardens, charmingly crumbling castles, and cute dogs, Fielding’s The Billionaire’s Convenient Bride also delivered an emotional punch. An ominous note rang from scene one. Kam Faulkner arrives at Priddy Castle with humiliating memories and a desire for revenge against heroine Agnès Prideaux. Agnès and Kam had grown up together, running wild and free on castle grounds and surrounding land and water. Later, as teens, their childhood bond was complicated by physical attraction. But the cook’s son and castle “princess” was a love that could not be; when Agnès’s grandfather caught wind of it, he fired Kam’s mother, winning Kam’s resentment and hatred. Kam and his mother had to leave their sole home and income source. In the intervening years, Kam worked hard and achieved huge financial success. Continue reading

REVIEW: Nicola Marsh’s ROMANCE FOR CYNICS, Or “A Couple of Anti-Cupids”

Romance For CynicsMiss Bates declares her love of category romance loud and clear.  The category has given us Betty Neels, after all.  And the contemporary faves, Sarah Mayberry, Sarah Morgan, and Molly O’Keefe, some of whom may’ve moved to longer-length pastures, cut their teeth on, and made us happy with, category-length romance.  Miss Bates is always eager to try something new in category and does so disposed to like it.  Thus she read Marsh’s Romance For Cynics to try the “Kiss” line which, according to Harlequin’s writing guidelines is all about a “young, urban feel” and “21st century alpha male hero;” it’s “fun” and “flirty.”  These are kisses of death to Miss Bates, but she was surprised by Marsh’s romance.  Wading through these parameters like murky, reedy water was a “traditional,” enjoyable category romance trying to make its way to the surface, to the light.  Marsh’s romance novel was uneven: a poorly executed cross/hybrid between a “Presents” and “Romance.”  Parts were good, but the whole was inconsistent. Continue reading