The Change in Di Navarra's Plan is a disappointing read, but Unnoticed and Untouched is perfect
I fell in love with Harlequin romances when I was about ten and it's a love affair that still continues. I got hooked on some books by Mary Burchell and Mary Wibberley that my eldest sister passed along to me and that was it - I had found the heroes and heroines that made my heart dream. Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden books were still favorites, but those romances took my imagination to exotic locales and provided me with wonderful daydreams of possible futures.
I continue to read and enjoy the Harlequin line and, of course, have favorite authors that I look for month to month. One favorite is American author Lynn Raye Harris, whose books are just the right mixture of elegant on the surface alpha heroes and smart heroines. That's why I was so pleased when she offered review copies of some of her two most recent books. I jumped at the chance to review these - and am glad I did (even after what you read below).
However, and I think you may have known there was a however in there, I have to say I was extremely disappointed in her new December Harlequin Presents' story, The Change in Di Navarra's Plan . It's not that the premise of the story was unsound, quite the opposite. I was immediately hooked by the idea of a parfumiere heroine and the cosmetic giant alpha hero, but once I began reading, I began cursing under my breath.
No, it's not the fact that the heroine is "discovered" as a model in an unlikely way. (I do believe in the impossible becoming possible. My almost sister-in-law who had recently returned from the Sorbonne was discovered by Eileen Ford on an escalator in Bloomingdales and became THE face of a major American cosmetics line.) It was because I really found the story so formulaic and predictable that it didn't seem worth the read. Plus the alpha hero, in my mind, was absolutely awful. I've never found myself rooting against a hero and heroine finding their happily-ever-after, but in this story I did.
If I hadn't been reviewing it, I think I would have stopped at the point where the heroine Holly re-encounters the "hero" Drago at the casino where she waitresses and smells the scent of recent sex on his over-enthusiastic companion. This is after her one-night only encounter with him a year ago, where she gave him her virginity and he tossed her out of his house with epithets for the flimsiest of possible betrayals. In the year since she had his baby, lost her home, and is reduced to living in squalor, while he goes from woman to woman and never thinks of her at all. Hmmm. quite the hero.
I actually hoped that this was one time when some other hero would step in and knock this arrogant and quite unlikable character on his keister and sweep Holly away to true love, but no such luck. I know that people can change and evolve, but there is so little there there with both these characters that I just didn't care.
If this were the first Harlequin I'd ever read, I doubt I would have opened another. And that's just sad as Harris is a very talented author. That's why I was so glad that Harlequin bundled this with an older Presents, Unnoticed & Untouched by Lynn Raye Harris. This story was the perfect antidote to my bad mood and I fell in love with both the hero and heroine and rooted for their happily-ever-after.
So, would I recommend this book? Actually not. But perhaps you will purchase it to read just to see if I'm right or wrong in my conclusions. But in my opinion, please don't judge Harris by this book as her other stories are top notch entries in the Harlequin line and she is an author to watch.
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