REVIEW: Money Man’s Fiancée Negotiation by Michelle CelmerMonday, April 26, 2010 1:00
Last night, I saw a program on TV called “Women.” It looked at modern “radical feminists,” and their main concerns seemed to be with pornography and prostitutes. But instead of worrying about equal rights in the workplace and equal pay, and keeping the workplace safe, they worried about the objectification of women and how they could stop teh ebil. It felt like going back fifty years.
Today, I read a book by Michelle Celmer that felt the same. It advocated staying at home, having babies over having a career, dressing comfortably instead of dressing up, going with the flow instead of working hard for independence and self-respect.
Melody was a confident woman who sometimes took the lead in bed and did some kinky things, which, apart from videoing themselves, didn’t seem to amount to much. But she felt she was forcing it. Ash, her partner, was supposed to be sterile after a bout with cancer in his childhood but when Mel finds herself pregnant, she leaves him rather than tell him about the baby and face his denials. So, although Celmer tries to backpedal later, this immediately condemns kink and adventurous sex as wrong and wicked. Do that, and you’ll never find true lurve. Sex is a complex thing, and the longer a couple stay together, the more complex it can get. Kink, simple lovemaking and sex in the shower, on the stairs etc all play a part in a rich sex life. It doesn’t have to involve hearts and minds every time, it doesn’t have to be “making love” instead of bonking. It all plays its part. True, Mel and Ash seemed to have lost that spark, but it doesn’t just happen, you have to work at it. So Mel rebooted.
I hated that Mel ran away. Babies are people too, and they deserve everything they can get to give them a good start in life. Mel should have kept Ash in touch, should have insisted on paternal rights, because he was rich. She could have proved paternity beyond doubt by a post birth DNA test. But oh no, she runs away. Needless to say she has no money of her own, other than what she’d “saved” (stolen) from Ash.
But a couple of months in, she has a car accident and loses her memory and her baby. So Ash arrives at the hospital, and to get access to her, he says he’s her fiancé. Eyes rolling to the back of your head yet? It gets worse.
I’m not a big fan of the amnesia plot, but Celmer does this bit right. Mel has had serious head injuries, not just a knock on the head, and through the rest of the story, her memory comes back in bits and pieces. Amnesia, if treated properly, can be an interesting plot device, but its misuse and overuse a few years ago gave it a bad name. Also, it smacks of “deus ex machina.”
Mel becomes a sweet girl. She doesn’t like push up, lacy bras because she thinks they are instruments of torture. I was grumbling through this bit because honestly, as a lacy, underwired bra wearer, I can say they are not. The lace is either soft or lined in something comfortable and the underwires mean you can run for a bus without knocking yourself out. She doesn’t like the posh clothes in her closet and prefers jeans and t-shirts. She doesn’t like make-up and gets by with the legendary slick of lip gloss. She wears her hair loose or roughly tied back instead of the pinned up, more elaborate styles the old Mel used. And Ash prefers her that way. Pulease. In your dreams. So making an effort and dressing well is equated with artificiality and slutty behavior?
The old Mel had some confidence issues, it emerges, and has covered them up with the clothes and the make-up. Does this sound familiar? It does to me. I did it for years, still do. When I’m nervous, I’ll sometimes use good clothes and make-up as a confidence booster. So the new Mel is confident enough not to do this? I hate her. And I don’t believe for a minute that a sexy, wealthy, intelligent man prefers her that way, unless—and here’s the rub—he wants to control her and have her as his good little wifey. Celmer tries to tell us that Mel is now being true to herself, which is why she’s a better person, and Ash is forced to reassess the way he looks at women. I didn’t buy it, because Mel’s new confidence includes missionary sex and Ash’s new awareness means asking his ex wife, instead of his current partner, about his behavior in the marriage.
I did like that Ash’s previous marriage broke up because he neglected his ex wife, not that she was a monster and a bitch. But I didn’t like that he checked with her about his fertility, and discovers that not only did she abort his baby early in their relationship, she had an IUD. He didn’t blame her for this, once he heard. And what’s with checking with the ex? Is a doctor’s checkup too much to ask for?
I would have loved this book if Mel had gone from being a doormat to a confident woman. Loved it. And the amnesia twist would have been interesting, because she’d have forgotten the background that pulled her back. I wanted her to go to law school, get the nice clothes and decide to have a life, and I wanted Ash to love her for that. It could have been a great book. But confidence to doormat just didn’t work for me.
I read this book, so you know what you’re in for if you pick it up. You might like the fantasy, but all I can say is that it isn’t for me. I’ve enjoyed some of the books in the “Kings of the Boardroom” series, but this one let the side down badly. I’ve enjoyed Celmer’s books before, but not this one. I’m going to look for a Celmer book that I can give a good review to, because I really hate giving this grade.
See Limecello’s review here.
“Finally, after an intensive search Ash Williams had found his runaway mistress. Melody Trent couldn’t even remember him, but Ash was determined to discover the truth. Had he fathered her child? And the only way to bring her to his home was to claim her as his fiancée—even if she had no memory of him whatsoever. At Maddox Communications he could handle any crisis with icy calm. Even so, having Melody back in his life—amnesia or no—would mean using all his resolve to keep his heart from ruling his head.”
Read an excerpt.