REVIEW: The Forbidden Innocent by Sharon KendrickFriday, April 15, 2011 1:00
When Kate Hewitt told me that Cathy Williams’ In Want of a Wife?, based on Pride and Prejudice, is actually not the first in the series of adaptations of popular romantic classics, I had to look up the first. While William’s riff is disappointing, I thoroughly enjoyed Kendrick’s modern take on Jane Eyre.
Jane Eyre is one of my favorite all-time books ever. Period. It was the second book when I got what romance is about (the first was Fanny Burney’s Evelina.) More than Pride and Prejudice, more than Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre is my book. Considering Kendrick has disappointed me in a few recent reads, I was wary of opening this one, but I needn’t have worried.
Just as in the adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, it wouldn’t have been fair to do a direct comparison with the original. The author doesn’t have the time to spend on the book, she doesn’t have the word count, and she’s writing for Mills and Boon, which means there are expectations that have to be fulfilled.
The length means that some characters, or their equivalents, had to go. So there’s no Adele and no St John Rivers. I think Kendrick made the right choice. Too many characters wouldn’t have given the romance enough time to be developed. In this one, Ashley, our Jane, comes to work at the manor for Jack, our Rochester, as a secretary to type out the novel Jack is writing in longhand. He works better in longhand, and since he’s independently wealthy, he can afford someone to type the manuscript out for him.
Kendrick hits some of the important points of the novel and provides a nice point of recognition. For instance, Ashley is walking in the grounds when she meets Jack for the first time. He’s on horseback, and the horse shies when it sees her and throws him.
Jack is restless, fierce, and an ex-soldier. I love him. When he falls for Ashley, he falls hard and there’s no big misunderstanding about the way they feel for each other.
I have to admit a qualm when I learned that Ashley, like Jane, is only eighteen, but Kendrick pulls it off for me. I dislike younger heroines, but Ashley’s life has been hard, and she’s older than her years. I like her, as I love Jane. She’s socially shy, but not stupid, and she isn’t a pushover, nor is she TSTL.
The one thing that bothers me in the book is the shifting POVs. I dislike the frequent switches, sometimes paragraph to paragraph, and I don’t think it adds anything to a scene. While it’s sometimes enjoyable to have a scene with more than one point-of-view character, I prefer to have a solid section in one, then the other, then maybe back again, not six different switches on one page.
But on the whole, I’m glad I read this one. It reminds me of the brilliant romantic atmosphere in the original with some added some touches of its own.
New bride at Blackwood Manor? Having spent her childhood in care, Ashley Jones has no one. She desperately needs her new live-in job as an author’s assistant. But she is filled with trepidation when she arrives at isolated Blackwood Manor and meets the formidable Jack Marchant. Ashley thinks she is just a drab nobody…but her heart goes out to anguished, tortured Jack. She has no idea what troubles him. But one day a private kiss becomes a passionate affair…an affair that is as secret as it is forbidden…
After just one night with Sydney, Raimond knows she’s his. And when the time is right, when she loves him in return, he’ll reveal his deepest secret. For now, he’ll enjoy pleasuring her in the most intimate of ways.
But when Sydney’s life is threatened, Raimond’s instincts take control, and she gets a glimpse at the beast within…
Read an excerpt.