This book should really have been a full-length novel in a more serious line. The hero and heroine both have Issues, and they are nasty ones, ones that would take more than a category-length title to resolve. I think there’s a pacing problem here, too, because after a long set up and middle bit, it was resolved too fast.
Alethea and the hero, Demos are both Greek. Demos marries Alethea when he thinks she will make no demands on him, believing her to be the party girl she pretends to be.
Both hero and heroine are wealthy, Demos being a self-made man. I liked their internal conflicts, I really did, but it resulted in a book that was decidedly down-key for HMB. Nothing really to cheer them on for or to smile at on the way. It was depression all the way. So I read and read and kept wishing I liked this one more.
There’s a genre in the UK, until recently very popular, known as mis-lit. Nothing cheerful happens until the last page. Usually it is about struggle through adversity. Maybe this would have made a great mis-lit book and I really think that Kate Hewitt should have thought about writing this as a woman’s fiction book. Or maybe she can take the heroine’s dilemma and write a long, exploratory novel about the problem. I would totally read that.
Alethea behaves much as someone with her history would, but because we don’t know her history until later on in the book, she appears petulant and spoiled. Alethea is a cocktease, and she does it to Demos, but he pursues her and proposes because he wants a party girl, someone who will make no demands on him and show his troubled sister that marriage can be fun. However Alethea has real problems, and one of my problems with her character is her father. The man is stupid, blind, and doesn’t see what he shouldn’t, and yet he is presented in a sympathetic manner. He deserves a kick up the butt.
The hero’s problem is clear from the start. He’s a self-made man, looked after his family from when he was a small boy and when his mother remarries, he finds she doesn’t need him anymore. Unlike his sister, who needs him too much. Demos is a tycoon, a billionaire, and his mother lives in a little house with her husband. Strikes me as a tad unlikely, but I could see why he was miffed, because she refuses to take advantage of his money.
It was a great attempt that ultimately failed, partly because the pacing is off, and partly because there is unrelenting unhappiness for most of the book. And at the end I wasn’t convinced that the marriage would last. It ends on a decidedly ambiguous note – they are together and in love, but I didn’t think this one would be a successful marriage. At least they understood each other. As a Harlequin, I have to give this one a C-.
The Greek tycoon’s marriage demand! Darkly handsome Demos Atrikes wants a wife to provide heirs to his fortune. No emotions, no complications…
Catching sight of stunning, intriguing Althea Paranoussis, he has to have her. She may be a society party girl, but he believes she’s perfect wife material – and their wedding is arranged. The chemistry between them is all-consuming. But, once married, Demos discovers the painful truth of Althea’s childhood. She needs more from him than he’d ever planned to give…
Read an excerpt here.