Tuesday, December 27, 2005
THE REDEMPTION OF GAYLE CALLEN
Not too long ago, I had the displeasure of reading THE LORD NEXT DOOR by Gayle Callen. It was my first Callen book; the premise was inviting and I thought I would enjoy it. I had heard from a friend that Callen was a pretty good writer. Several book review sites confirmed this. However, after reading the aforementioned, I was seriously beginning to believe that, like Calvin Coolridge, my friend and the reviewers from ALL ABOUT ROMANCE were smoking some serious crack when they recommended this author.
Having finished my second Callen book (I had to give her another chance, in the event THE LORD was merely a fluke), I am pleased to say that I will not throw the towel in on Callen just yet. HIS BRIDE is a book that will quite possibly remain on my keeper list for some time. The love story is poignant and sexy. The hero, Sir Edmund Blackwell, is a hard working, no nonsense type of man who's been hurt in life but does not drown himself in self-misery, like some romance heroes (Jered from UPON A WICKED TIME..douce bag!). The heroine is strong, warm, passionate and very very aggressive, despite her innocence. The aggressive virgin act was endearing. It didn't irritate the crap out of the reader. I totally identified with her. Here we had a girl who desperately wanted to consummate her marriage; she's attracted beyond belief to her husband and he's...well, he's sleeping in another room because he's afraid to trust her because he thinks she's being used to ruin him (read the story; this actually makes sense and I might think the same thing, if I were the hero). She literally throws herself at him at a certain point and it's BELIEVABLE, REALISTIC, especially at a time when women couldn't just say FUCK YOU, IF YOU WON'T DO ME, YOUR LOSS. I'LL FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL.
The book held no whining, no hurtful behavior at the hands of the hero, all plot lines that tend to irritate the reader rather than captivate them. The story focused exclusively on the growing relationship of the two main characters and what characters they were. WOW! What a concept! I highly recommend this book. If one wants to start reading Callen, please please please begin with HIS BRIDE, an A!
Re-reads are next on my list: SUDDENLY YOU by Lisa Kleypas and A SUMMER TO REMEMBER by Mary Balogh.