Saturday, 26 July 2008

Shadow Lover by Anne Stuart

Published in 1999. Quite a good sus-rom story if you can work your way through the lame first half.

A novel where the main couple spend entirely too much time sniping at each other. Where the main couple spend entirely too much time not in each others company. Where the heroine feels shocked and guilty because she had the time of her life in the hero’s bed. But she is generally spineless and avoids all risk. And is deeply obsessed about inherited money. Despite her loud protestations to the contrary. Nor did Carolyn have any real good reason not to tell the cops about the violent act she witnessed on the beach. Imagine. She didn't tell her adopted mother that her son was seriously injured or probably dead. In fact. All her actions for much of the novel seem to have been motivated by a selfish desire to maintain her tenuous status with the rich MacDowell family. The hero, Alex, is actually, much too good for her. Far too many stupid relatives all over the novel. Like I was interested in any of them.

Lots of clever stuff though. First the reader is told that the hero is an imposter called Sam. Then it turns out that Sam and Alex are actually the same person. Then it turns out that even real Alex is not really the son of the dying matriarch. I’ve always loathed characters like Aunt Sally. Nasty poisonous spider-like people. And she is no exception. Sally should have suffered a lot more. Her last days on the earth should have been filled with misery. Why Carolyn devoted herself to Sally defies logical reasoning or even emotional intelligence. A thirteen year old girl gets kissed in this story. That’s a no-go area nowadays. Her punishment. Not to love until the hero, Alex, returns some 18 years later. His punishment. A bullet between the shoulders. Which I thought. Was a bit harsh.

Unusually. Both the hero and heroine are blond. Makes a nice change. The main fault though. Not enough nookie. Or emotions between the main couple. They continually run away from one another. Somewhat frustrating. Once stupid Sally dies the story comes to glorious life. Apart from Carolyn, the heroine, who keeps displaying completely irrational behaviour. Like so many heroines of the 70s, she puts the hero through a lot of crap for no good reason at all.

It’s good that I read this novel straight after Dangerous Secrets. I’m back to loving Charity. For taking risks with her life. For not letting caring for her aged relatives get in the way of her chance of happiness. For being happy when stranger Nick made her feel good in bed.

I’ve read better stories about orphans too. Alex isn’t really a bad-boy hero. Again. Having an older heroine is fine if she's lived a proper life. Which Carolyn hasn't. She'll spend the rest of her 30s regretting she didn't get together with Alex earlier. (Even though that would have been impossible.)

One weird thing. This novel is set amongst the over-privileged super-rich of Vermont but amazingly when the family come to stay the heroine has to make up a bed in the library because there are not enough rooms in the mansion! That's some device that is.

This novel is perfectly ok. Actually. It's better than Spymasters Lady. Not as good as All Through The Night. Which was written around the same time. Lowell's Sweet Wind, Wild Wind which is about the same kind of relationship is miles better. Makes me salivate thinking about the craziness that is bound to be Lora Leigh’s Wild Card. (Hurry up August end!)

And finally. I can't believe how fast I got this novel. I ordered it on the 22 July through the abe network from some tiny place in Mass. Mailman pushed it through the letterbox on 25 July. Amazon orders usually take 2 weeks exactly. How is that possible?

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