So, I ordered a couple of Linda Hilton's old paperbacks and they just arrived today. Look what I found on the back flap of one of them.
Griffin Blackmoor is a hero with a world of emotional baggage from his past. He blames himself for the death of his wife and son, and after returning from the Crimean War he's been slowly drinking himself to death. When the story opens, he's with a close friend who takes a bullet that Griffin is sure was meant for him (all that spying and skullduggery whilst in the war and all). Said friend dies, and the entire estate is entailed to a distant cousin, leaving the two younger sisters penniless. Griffin's guilt knows no bounds (and his drinking is even worse than before), and he makes arrangements for the elder sister to have a season and hopefully find a wealthy husband to care for her.
Well, this being a romance novel you know Griffin and Lady Anne are going to fall in love, and since there's a murder mystery afoot you know they're going to have to solve that too. Unfortunately, despite Griffin being a super-duper top-drawer spy of the highest order, it takes him a very long time to figure out who the baddie it. The reader, on the other hand, will figure it all out by page 50 or so.
Top that off with Griffin's overly melodramatic pity party (felt like I was being clubbed over the head with it all), this just wasn't a book that kept my interest. I finished it, but I was very glad it was over. The romance was nice enough when it did get going, but be warned - there's not going to be any hot sex to make up for the heavy-handed writing - wedding night behind closed doors.
While I do enjoy reading historical romances, I generally steer clear of what's being published in today's marketplace, so I have a hard time comparing this to what I'm accustomed to. Perhaps this style of writing is what's common for today's romances and would suit the every-day romance reader, your mileage may vary.
Reviewed for Amazon Vine.
As the book begins, Jeremiah Thurston is the richest man in California, having made a fortune with the land and mines in Napa Valley he inherited from his father. Jeremiah had planned to marry when he was younger, but she died and a close friend finally convinces him it's time for a wife and an heir. He meets a very young southern belle during a business trip, and despite the huge gap in their ages it seems to be a love match. Or at least Jeremiah's dumb enough to think it is and he builds her a huge mansion in San Francisco and brings his young bride home (home should be Napa Valley, but Camille's having none of that).
Well just as quick as you can guess where this part of the storyline is going
[spoiler] Camille is bored with her husband and wants to be the bell of society, takes a lover (who unbeknownst to her is poor) and leaves poor Jeremiah high and dry with just a daughter behind to dote on [/spoiler]. The second part is the daughter's story, as she has to work in a man's world to carry on her father's business concerns. Just as quick as you can guess where that part of the storyline is going [spoiler] she marries her much older business rival (what is it with the older men, can Steel not come up with a new trope?), has a kid and the older husband bites the bullet.[/spoiler]
Part three happens years later when the son has grown up to be a spoiled snot-nosed young punk who thinks he deserves every privilege even when times are tough, and just as soon as you can guess where this part of the storyline is headed, he [spoiler]
teams up with the long-dead (or presumed to be dead) wife of Jeremiah and makes life miserable for mom.[/spoiler]
The end. Don't bother.
DNF @ 50%
The story begins in 1833, set in Kansas (Fort Laramie, I think it is, but too lazy to go back and look). Kristina's father is a cavalry officer and he brings his wife and daughter to live with him at the fort. Lakota warrior Tahiska & company are on the trail of two men who shot his father, and they think they'll find the two at the fort. Apparently there's no one at the fort at the moment who can speak sign language except for Kristina, who had an Indian nanny when she was a young girl who taught her how (!!!).
Any who, Kristina meets Tahiska and it's insta-lust on both sides, but the problem is that Kristina just wants an affair, but Tahiska wants the real deal marriage and a warm teepee with his twu wuv. Boy, he's gonna be surprised.
Now I have to admit that this is probably my first foray into the Native American genre, so perhaps it's just not to my tastes. I don't have another to compare to. From reading the author's bio and stuff, she does seem very familiar with the Native Americans and their tribes, customs, etc. and I did appreciate what she was able to bring through in the story. Although...it did come across in this book as much too heavy handed. Page after page after page of mentally examining every nuance of every word and emotion. The only author I can think to compare it to is Roberta Gellis on an off day when she's way too explainatory and goes on and on and on.
Second problem and that's a biggie is the heroine. Even if I was able to suspend belief that 1) her bigoted mother allowed her to have an Indian nanny, 2) that a young girl can ride out in Indian country unescorted at all hours of the day, and 3) a well-bred young woman would so easily contemplate having an affair (her word) with any male, let alone one that would have such dire social consequences). I won't even start on Tahiska getting into the fort at night when the entrances are closed and guarded and getting into her room, taking off all her clothes and giving her a rise with a good amount of hand-pleasuring.
Sorry, but Kristina had to be one of the most self-centered, unsympathetic heroines ever. Life's too short, I'm moving on.
I see this couple on book covers everywhere, but the first time I've come across them right next to each other on my Amazon recs.
Page 191. I hope this adulterous bitch of a wife gets dumped without any money to support her fancy lifestyle. And I hope the count turns out to be broke.
What the girls are doing today.
Page 214. K, she's fallen off her horse, rolled down the hill through the "icy branches of the brush", may or may not have broken something and it's so cold she's got "frozen strands" in her hair. Personally, I'd wait until he got me inside and warm before I gave a thought to kisses against my skin.