Saturday, 19 May 2007

No Reprieve by Susan Napier

This is a well-written issue novel. Unfortunately there is too little of the romance. And the issue around which the novel is based was dealt with too tritely.

The issue is 'child abduction.' Delivered to the reader purely for entertainment purposes. Because how can such a crime be dealt with seriously in a Harlequin romance? I have to say that I didn't approve of the outcome of the crime. I accept that in a Harlequin nothing nasty must happen to the child. However the idea that the birth father blithely allows the once childless couple to legally adopt his abducted child because she is happy in her new family is offensive and just wrong. Presumably Jake did this deed because he wanted to spare his abducted daughter further trauma. But as she grows up she could easily view his act as evidence of a lack of love. Also I don't believe that the daughter's original abduction by the druggie couple left her as mentally unscarred as the novel would have the reader believe. And why should the second couple who participated in an obvious black-market adoption be allowed to keep Jake's daughter? Totally wrong.

Apart from that the hero and heroine are fairly interesting people. However I did almost get bored during the first half of the book while Jake and Seven build their relationship because basically they just meet sporadically. One day he spends some time with Seven the rest of the week he's away working. There is one quite weird scene. The heroine who is psychic is taken over by the spirit of the hero's abducted daughter. And in front of the hero she behaves like a child. The next minute the heroine is herself again and the hero is making love to her. Just a bit dodgy. But its too weak to be really offensive.

Personally I prefer a flawed romance like 'Disturbing Stranger' to this story. Because the hero and heroine, Seven and Jake are such reasonable people. They don't allow misunderstandings to get in the way of their relationship nor do they behave in stupid manners. Both have suffered but do not allowed their difficult life experiences to warp their outlook on life. I wouldn't say they were boring...just too reasonable.

btw this is actually another romance where the virginal heroine feels no pain the first time she makes love with the hero. Basically because she's more than made up her mind much earlier in the story that she wants to experience intercourse with the hero. Which is how it should be imo.

The author is a talented writer. But I wish she'd set her stories somewhere other than New Zealand. And she should try to move away from being published by Harlequin.

Genre; contemporary romance. Movie rating PG13; mysticism, child abduction,

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