A Willful Woman…

Thoughts about books from a romance addict.

Rant: The Italian’s Suitable Wife by Lucy Monroe

(Minor spoilers)

Monroe went from being my favorite Harlequin Presents writer to being one of my worst romance “allergies” — the meandering, circular conversations make it almost impossible for me to get through one of her books these days. But Ros Clarke’s recent comments got me to try this one, and it was interesting enough for me to finish. I’d agree with pretty much everything Ros says, except for me there was an extra level of cringe. I’m still trying to decide if it was funny-cringe or omg-burn-it-with-fire cringe.

Monroe often writes books with medical/reproductive themes and generally does a decent job, given the space and fantasy limitations of an HP. Her story with a heroine with severe endometriosis, The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain, is one of my favorites.  This story involves IUI, which I know very little about, and I’ll assume the description was reasonably accurate. (By the way, what is going on with the term IVF being used as romance shorthand to indicate “any kind of fertility intervention”? That is very annoying.) It’s what happens right after the painful  procedure (it’s considerably more invasive than a turkey baster) that really made my eyes roll. I don’t know how I’m supposed to enjoy a sex scene when I’m wincing so hard, and worried about the heroine’s safety.

The story is… insensitive around disability, to say the least. Rico is partially paralyzed and impotent after an accident, so he feels like he’s not “whole” on several levels. This is understandable enough for someone only recently disabled, but couldn’t there have been some counter-balance to it, aside from Gianna worshipfully assuring him that she doesn’t feel that way? Like Ros, I thought it was cool that their sex life is shown as very satisfying despite the lack of intercourse, and I wish there hadn’t been so much undermining that positive side.

The end of the story brought on one last face-palm. See, having twins is all about how studly the dude is. His sperm is so powerful it even brought on an extra egg release, I guess.

If this sort of thing doesn’t bother you, it’s a pretty emotional story. But I couldn’t turn my brain off enough to really enjoy it.


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