Do you ever want to read a simple book? Not a "Hi, I'm an idiot" kind of book, but the kind with which you can tumble into bed and not have to really think, merely relax and enjoy. Julianne MacLean's books strike me as such...simple and uncomplicated. Don't get me wrong; both her heroes and heroines quite often manage to do something so completely stupid or asinine, I want to throw the book out the window, but overall MacLean's books keep me seated and occupied for two to three hours. Of course, as is the case with simple books, I often forget the gist of the story a few days after finishing it. But do I care? Nope, because for those two to three hours, I enjoyed myself and was able to put aside my worries, concerns and didn't have to think. I like books like these...that stop me from thinking. I do it overly too much and that has lately been quite a problem for me.
MacLean's latest effort is decent. The book concludes the American Heiresses series that MacLean began a few years ago. To be honest, I'm glad. No offense to the lovely American women gracing the novels, but it's about time to move on and begin another saga. MacLean is very talented and, at times, I feel she is capable of so much more than what she has written thus far. I'm hoping and keeping my fingers crossed that she write something much deeper, something less simple, but until she does so, I'll enjoy those moments when I can sit, read and shut my brain.
Surrender to a Scoundrel is the story of Martin, the brother of the hero of To Marry A Duke, and Eleanor Wheaton, a prim and proper widow. The two have a history; he saved her life when they were both children. Not only that, but she managed to get him kicked out of school by mistake when they were in their teens. Of course, she has an inferiority complex; thinks he doesn't even remember saving her life or her name (he does) and he thinks she looks her nose down at him for no reason (her reason: she's secretly been in love with him for years). They meet ten years after the second incident.
The story confused me a bit because..well, I was expecting the heroine to fall in love with a scoundrel. The hero seems anything but. He was a rake in his youth, but seems to have matured a great deal due to the usual big secret which comes out in the middle of the novel. I'm starting to get a little sick of the big secrets both heroes and heroines seem to be sporting these days. Fortunately, the secret isn't mentioned every two pages. I've read a lot of books like these and I always end up putting them aside and selling them to a used book store. Of course, the hero uses this big secret to push the heroine away. What else, right? It irked me a tad, but I liked how he eventually realized he was being an idiot. The heroine didn't shut the hero out of her life or her bed for very long. Now this I like a lot. One way to get me to stop reading a romance novel is by making the heroine play games with the hero...even the "you don't really love me" speeches turn me off. Fortunately, Julianne MacLean must be aware of this because there was none of that here.
I'm very happy to say that the story was centered around the characters..despite the secrets, the villains and what not (yes, there are villains). MacLean kept her focus on the love story and what a pleasure to actually see an author tackle that one.
I've been away from romance novels for a while. I was tired of the same tired old plots, the same secondary characters stealing the story away from the leads. Luckily, MacLean did not disappoint me. She didn't blow me away, but she didn't disappoint me either.