23 December, 2012

Review: Deck The Halls With Love by Lorraine Heath

I think Lorraine Heath and I just broke up.

There's nothing seriously wrong in Deck The Halls With Love. The hero was once interested in the heroine but stopped chatting her up because he felt obligated to make an offer of marriage to someone else. He's free, she's not, can these crazy kids get back together? Of course they can. Deck The Halls With Love is a classic novella in the sense that you know exactly what's going to happen. Storms lead to shelter which lead to sexy times which leads to... You've read this before, except you haven't.

It's a shame, because the bones of Deck The Halls With Love are good. If the heroine was engaged to an interesting man instead of a transparent (and rarely seen) fortune hunter then we could have had a book. As it is, the hero was really into her but honor demanded he marry another (who called off the wedding) and now he wants her to call off a wedding she's not really that into. Even then, we could have had a book if anyone truly cared about honor. They don't. Mild spoiler here - the heroine is due to be married in just a few weeks. The hero makes a public proposal. Everyone shrugs and toasts them. Sure, the heroine just told the former groom she wasn't going to meet him at the altar after all, but who knows that? Fortune hunter dude hasn't had time to process the information, much less make a public announcement or discuss it with her family. You'd think someone in the crowd might point out that she's already engaged. Or ask what happened to the other guy. Or something.

A mildly pleasant and fully predictable novella with a few eye rolling moments isn't enough to break me up with a favorite author. What may have killed it for me and Heath comes later, with an excerpt from the final Lost Lords of Pembrook. It opens with the heroine's brother selling her off to a room full of men under the uncaring eye of the hero. This isn't presented as something he struggles with, something odd for him or something morally repellant. It's just what you do sometimes. You're broke so you sell off a sibling. Of course our hero decides she's so touchingly innocent (unless she's a great actress, of course. Can't have him think well of her) that he will inexplicably demand that she be his. In fact, she should be delivered to his house the next day via UPS. Wow. How can I not want to know more about this couple? He's ok with treating women like livestock, she might be too dim to know she's being sold. Will they make it work? I think you're going to have to find out without me.

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