A Willful Woman…

Thoughts about books from a romance addict.

The Probably-Not-So-Big Harlequin Presents Read: #4

Harlequin Present #4: The Pleasure and the Pain by Anne Matherpleasure


Best line: “I do not think there is any need for this — this Spanish Inquisition!”

Notes of interest: Still no sex, but non-virgin alert! The main characters had been lovers five years previously, then he married someone else.

This was weirdly similar to book #3 — governess in Spain instead of governess in Portugal, naughty ex-wife, naughty other man, naughty other woman. This time it’s a reunion story, which may be why I liked it a bit more, although heroine Laura could be quite a stubborn twit. I also liked that we see some emotion coming from Raphael before the very end. I wound up feeling rather sorry for him — Laura inserts herself into his life without his knowledge or permission, and then proceeds to ignore his obvious discomfort/anguish. Of course, he doesn’t explain anything to her — and when the truth comes out, it is quite a bit of nonsense, involving family curses — but she still came off as pretty heartless.

I recognize this cover, but don’t remember if I read it.





The Probably-Not-So-Big Harlequin Presents Read: #3

Harlequin Presents #3: Sweet Revenge by Anne Mather


I’m pretty sure I never read this one as a teen, because how could I possibly forget that cover? Though my aesthetic sensibilities were quite different then, as you will see if we ever get to Harlequin Presents #158.

So, just 3 books into the Harlequin Presents series, and we already have the start of a bingo card:

— Exotic locale = local color + cultural insensitivity

— A meet-dangerous, in which the hero almost runs the heroine over.

— A dark, foreign hero to fetishize. Also rich and titled.

— A heroine who Just Can’t Understand why all the boys want her.

— The hero immediately accuses the heroine of flirting with the guy who was stalking her.

— The Evil Former Wife made the hero cynical about women.

— The hero is almost 40, the heroine is in her early twenties.

— Slap!

— The hero doesn’t reveal anything of his true feelings until a burst of logorrhea at the end.

A surprise: The heroine calls the Evil Other Woman a bitch.

I found this one pretty boring. The heroine loses her job as a nanny because the children’s father comes on to her. (I have a sudden yen to read Pamela.) She then agrees to pretend to be the fiance of an old acquaintance she happens to run into in Portugal. But his uncle the Conde turns out to be the hot guy who had almost run her down earlier. He finds out who she is, believes her employer’s assertion that she tried to seduce him, and to punish her… for something… makes her stay… as his daughter’s governess… where she spends most of her time hanging out on the beautiful beach. Anyone who wants to punish me in that way, just give a ring.



The Probably-Not-So-Big Harlequin Presents Read!

I’ve been rediscovering the romances of my adolescence lately — circa 1975-1977 — which has been very interesting. But there’s one elusive book I haven’t been able to track down, probably because I remember very little besides an ubiquitous plot (convenient marriage -> jealous rage -> rape) and a line of dialogue. (The hero quotes “the colour of virtue” when the heroine blushes the next morning over breakfast. I found this exquisitely ridiculous and embarrassing.) I’m not even positive it’s a Harlequin Presents, because I kind of think I read it in a Mills & Boon edition; I have this memory of thinking M&B books were the most intense, and was always excited to find them in our library. (They were fairly rare.)

However, with my discovery of Open Library and the help of Wikipedia, I’m going to try to track this puppy down, by reading, in order, as many HPs as Open Library has, that I can stand. They seem to be short on Anne Hampson, so I’m going to have to start on book #3. I also strongly suspect I’ll give up on a great many of them, because honestly, I usually loathe HPs from the 70s. But I’ll report as I go along. It’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, I remember from almost 40 years ago.

(Wikipedia also has M&B by the numbers, but oh my God is it huge! I think starting with HPs is my best bet.)

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