REVIEW: Ruthless Tycoon, Innocent Wife by Helen BrooksMonday, December 1, 2008 1:00
Marianne Carr inherits a large house in Cornwall from her parents, only to discover that her father had put it in jeopardy by mortgaging it against his failing boatyard business. Enter Rafe Steed and his father, who run a chain of hotels, interested in turning the house into a hotel. Marianne, who had feared losing the house, accept the offer, but Rafe’s father and her mother were once involved, and Rafe has issues about that, and about a bad first marriage.
Okay, I read this book without reading the synopsis which clearly says that Marianne wants to wait until her wedding night. So I should have been warned, but I would still have read it, just to see how the author handled it. Interesting conflict in this day and age, I thought. The heroine is 27 and a virgin, although I can’t recall that word being used. Gone are the days when unmarried women were automatically virgins, and no amount of saying so will make it true, and yet this book seems to assume that this was normal. So did the heroine have a reason for keeping herself back until marriage? Was there an interestingly angsty reason why she wouldn’t, as it is quaintly phrased, “go all the way”?
Nope. Nor did the hero seem to expect it. He’s the usual wealthy, ruthless “tycoon” type (and who uses that word anymore?) and he’s had tons of girlfriends. But he doesn’t push her, and he doesn’t ask. He takes her so far and no further. During the later part of the book, when he’s dating her in earnest, and they both understand that, Brooks says that their lovemaking was wonderful.
Hang on, did I miss something? I went back, I checked the line, I checked the year of publication. Modern/Presents, 2008. Brooks was using “lovemaking” in the old sense, the way Barbara Cartland and the queens of romance in the sixties did. Kissing, cuddling, maybe a bit of petting, but not lovemaking as we know it.
I suspect that either this book is a reprint, or has been at the back of Brooks’s drawer for a few years because if it is set in the present day, this is not normal, and it should have been explained. Why she wouldn’t. No religious issues, no deliberate holding back, just that she hadn’t met a man she wanted to go all the way with. So if she’s 27, she would have grown up with the Spice Girls and Girl Power, where taking control of your own life and doing what you want was the creed. If she’d made a conscious decision, that would have made for a great conflict, but she didn’t, and the story was more about him overcoming his commitment issues.
The book read like something that would have been released in the seventies, not now, with old-fashioned language and old-fashioned attitudes. And so sweet it made my teeth ache. What sex there was in the book was right at the end and was of the flowery variety “when he made her his,” that kind of thing.
Well written, smoothly progressed, but I didn’t believe it for a minute. I hate doing this, but I have to give this one a D. I was toying with C-, but as soon as I hit the virgin roadblock, I started to wonder. If it had been published in the 70′s, it would have been a solid B.
Marianne Carr will do anything to save her home, and ruthless businessman Rafe Steed knows it! He has a score to settle with the Carr family, and after one meeting with this delicate beauty he decides he will have the house…and the girl!
Against her better judgment, Marianne is attracted to Rafe’s powerful sensuality. But she is saving herself for her wedding night, and Rafe is definitely not the marrying kind! Yet what this tycoon wants, he usually gets….
Read an excerpt (scroll down).