A Willful Woman…

Thoughts about books from a romance addict.

TBR Challenge: A Damaged Trust by Amanda Carpenter

on March 15, 2023

The theme: baggage

Why this one: as with Caprice, I didn’t read this with the challenge in mind, but it really fits: not only does the heroine have trust issues, obviously, but I described it as “ten pounds of plot in a five pound bag.”

CW for book: attempted sexual assault

If Caprice is all vibes, this book, published two years earlier, is almost all plot, and unfortunately done in a very episodic, unsubtle and heavy handed way. It starts out rather tamely, with a standard oldie Harlequin “this is instantly the most aggravating person I’ve ever met” encounter between Gabe and Carrie, who’s on her way to her family home in Colorado, licking her wounds from a relationship with a married cad. But they grow to like each other fairly quickly, and start to date.

Then, as if someone realized the book was on the dull side, adventures start happening thick and fast, and in an unsatisfying, unincorporated way. The pattern is: foreshadowing. Terrifying event. Resolution. Foreshadowing for next terrifying event to come. Weirdly, some indications that there might be something going on on Gabe’s side — I expected him to turn out to be separated but still married or have some other upsetting secret — came to nothing. It feels like someone yanked out the second half of the book and inserted a completely different one.

Lest I seem to have a down on Amanda Carpenter, let me mention that Raging Passion was a four star read — and of course I love many of her books written as Thea Harrison. And I hope no one ever judges me for what I did during the eighties. 😉

11 responses to “TBR Challenge: A Damaged Trust by Amanda Carpenter

  1. azteclady says:

    “I hope that no one judges me for what I did in the 80s” shall henceforth be my motto (oh boy, for real)

    Also–this is the month for Willa in TBRChallenge land! ::throws confetti::

  2. whiskeyinthejar says:

    might be something going on on Gabe’s side — I expected him to turn out to be separated but still married or have some other upsetting secret — came to nothing.

    This drives me bananas! You cannot hint at something about the hero’s past then string it out, making a building up to feeling, without my years of reading crazy pants romance brain going off to wild places and then give me Nothing!

    • azteclady says:

      We’ve been trained (well), to expect the banana-pants, and it can be a mood killer when the big secret either is something entirely mundane, or is completely dismissed out of hand (whatever it turns out to be).

      • willaful says:

        I actually have a tag, “no secret secret,” for books in which the big secret is so incredibly obvious you’re just yawning by the time it’s revealed.

        • azteclady says:


          I mean, yeah–but, here’s the trick, is it obvious to use, genre romance readers, or is it obvious to anyone with a modicum of common sense? if the later, do the characters have enough common sense?

          Either way, that’s just too funny.

    • willaful says:

      It was very frustrating! It would have been a perfectly fine category with some conflict between them and not all the other mishegas.

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