REVIEW: Mia and the Powerful Greek by Michelle ReidFriday, August 6, 2010 1:00
Like many prolific Harlequin writers, Michelle Reid is sometimes great, and sometimes not so great. For me, this was a not so great.
Mia is discovered just before the death of her father’s wife. She’s his illegitimate daughter, and basically, a Cinderella. Although her mother is married to a powerful man, Mia was brought up by her aunt in poverty. While a reason is given for Mia’s rejection by her mother, there was no explanation of why her aunt was kept short of money, and at one point there is mention that her mother sent maintenance money. It seemed a bit forced to me.
When Mia goes to meet her biological father, he tries to care for her, but with his wife on her deathbed, and later, seven more daughters to take care of (no guesses as to how many books will be in this series – the daughters plus the secret son nobody knows about – that’s just a guess) he finds her hard to cope with. She’s shy, reticent, and she likes sewing. Any more Cinderella references and I might just have given up. There is shy and there is doormat. Even a shy girl knows when to draw the line. Perhaps after the man she wants sleeps with her and then blames her for it and disappears for a couple of months? I think I might have tried to beat his girlfriend tally with boyfriends. Or maybe when he admits he got carried away and didn’t use protection? He’s a man-slut. And Mia doesn’t know about contraception, doesn’t realise he should have used a condom. Bad upbringing, I call that. Pregnant, maybe with a disease, she still hangs around.
Nikos is the usual alpha male with a dark secret, a secret most readers will have worked out long before he vouchsafes it to Mia at the end of the book. He treats her like shit, and she lets him, although thank goodness, she does let fly occasionally. But when she does, it tends to be in a hysterical way, and then she hangs around so that he can devour her with passionate kisses. Me, I would have walked. But Mia never does. Which makes her a bit of a doormat.
Reid’s style irritated me a tiny bit from time to time. Exclamation! Marks! Less of them, please! I read the British version so maybe they’ll change that for the US version, but I doubt it. And the characters never say anything. They husk (the hero needs good throat candy), they rasp, they invite, they confide – you get the picture. And when they say, it’s often qualified with an adverb, one of my pet dislikes.
So occasionally the style brought me out of the book, with a slightly irritable, “Why don’t they just say?”
There are some nice touches. The way Nikos refuses to have locks in any of his houses, except on the outer doors, and then leaves all the doors open (why didn’t he live open plan, I wonder?) and Mia actually does answer him back sometimes. She doesn’t completely suffer in silence. She takes the cast off dresses of her stepsisters, but does it because she can’t abide waste, not because she’s kept short of clothes. It’s a kind of return to the old days, when men were abusive and women suffered, only to win through in the end. And did I mention that she’s only 21? A bit of an ick factor for me, I’m afraid. But as ever, YMMV.
While scrubbing floors, Mia dreams of a better life. Then she discovers she’s a Balfour – the illegitimate daughter of one of the world’s richest dynasties! Thrust headfirst into her new family’s spectacularly glamorous lifestyle, she’s scared..
But then comes an opportunity to learn about high society, through the chance to work for Greek tycoon Nikos Theakis, who struggled his way up, himself, from the slums of Athens to Millionaire’s Row. Nikos has got where he is by always having taken what he wanted.. Until Mia’s sweetness and integrity stop him in his tracks. Read an excerpt.