Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Even more Harlequins...

After my category experience, I thought I'd switch gears a bit, but then I found The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain by Lucy Monroe. Having read and enjoyed the prior title in this series, I decided to give it a go.

Title/Author: The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain by Lucy Monroe
Harlequin Presents
Miniseries/Tagline: Royal Brides/The Scorsolini Princes: Proud rulers and passionate lovers who need convenient wives!
Plot: Troubled marriage/Big misunderstanding
Hero: Principe Claudio Scorsolini, future ruler of Isole dei Rei (where is this country supposed to be?)
Heroine: Therese Scorsolini, convenient wife

Review: Ms. Monroe writes an excellent Harlequin Presents. She really knows how to pack a satisfying romance into this short format. This is a category done right.

Therese Scorsolini has always known that she was chosen to be Claudio's bride because she fit his requirements, rather than because of emotion. That didn't stop her from falling in love with her serious, controlled husband. However, an issue has arisen that Therese knows is a deal breaker. Despite her love for her husband, Therese believes that she will have to divorce him. Claudio realizes that his wife has pulled away from him in the past few months, though he doesn't know why. He finds himself increasingly uneasy and upset, and when his wife asks him for a divorce his worst fears are realized. Could the wife he never loved be leaving him for another man?

Like the Anne Mather of a few posts back, the book involves a troubled marriage, misunderstandings and fertility issues. This one works where that one didn't for a couple of reasons. We are given enough insight into the characters' thoughts and behavior that their actions make sense. Yes, Therese keeps a big secret from her husband, but based on their circumstances, and on his past behavior, I could see why she did. Plus, Monroe doesn't drag stuff out for too long. Just when I was about to say, "enough already", Therese comes clean with Claudio. Claudio was one of my favorite kind of heroes--cool, controlled and confident, but totally stupid where his feelings are concerned. His behavior bordered on boorish for the first part of the book, but just when I was about to write him off as an asshat, he discovers the secret that his wife has been keeping. He feels genuine regret for acting like douchebag, and tries to atone for his actions. These two characters were not the best with the whole emotion thing, and had made a lot of assumptions about each other. Reading about how they started communicating and came to terms with their feelings for each other made for a really satisfying love story. Plus, the chemistry and love scenes were hot!

Of course, it had to end with a pregnancy, but it was the first I've ever read that happened with IVF. That made me happy, because miracle babies bug me. There are lots of couples out there struggling with infertility and I don't like how HEA always seems to equal effortless pregnancy. I give this one an A.

On a high from the Monroe, I pulled another HP from the pile,The Marriage Renewal by Maggie Cox, only to realize that I had almost purchased it a second time. Thank God I didn't, because after a valiant effort, I gave up and skimmed the last 50 pages or so. In this one, five years after walking out on his wife, Tara, and their marriage, Mac Simmmonsen seeks her out to ask for a divorce. He is engaged to marry another woman, but upon seeing Tara again and hearing about the child they lost, promptly changes his mind and breaks it off with the fiancee. But that's okay, because she is French and therefore vain, shallow, and probably smelly. Instead Mac is determined to win his (understandably) skittish wife back. In the end, I just couldn't get past the premise of this one. This guy walks out on his weeping wife, doesn't contact her at all for five years, then upon catching sight of her realizes he still loves her. Dude, you didn't contact her at all for 5 years. Didn't even google her. Didn't even check to see if she had a MySpace page. It's not like he had much of a reaon either. He was just work-obsessed. I felt like he just wanted to get back with her because he knew she had been pregnant, and wanted to be a father. It also seemed like their past issues (his workaholism, and her resentment of his career) would get in the way again. BTW, I'm trying not to think too much about why I keep buying these "troubled marriage" books.

If you find yourself over- or underwhelmed by the array and descriptions of HPs and don't know if you can bring yourself to go there, I highly recommend giving Lucy Monroe a try. And now I'm ready for a change of pace. I'm going to try Blo
<Blood Son by Erica Orloff. Trying out Harlequin's new paranormal line. Let's see how it goes.


reviewer said...

I enjoyed this series. I got rid of most of my Harlequins, but I kept all of Lucy Monroe's. She is one of my auto buy authors and her Presents are some of my favourites.

Stacy~ said...

I say this all the time - Lucy is the reason I started reading HP's again. Hers are just awesome.

sybil said...

I am finding I really like some of the HP. If I had any since of shame, this would do it.


prolly not though...