Thursday, 25 August 2011
365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #154
The Picture of Innocence - Jacqueline Baird
Harlequin Presents Extra
N.B. The above details relate to the North American release of this book.
From the back cover:
"Lucy Steadman refuses to be intimidated by brooding Italian Lorenzo Zanelli. He may hold the fate of her family's business in his iron fist, but she will not submit to his more personal demands.
As a talented artist, Lucy can see the truth in beauty; Lorenzo may be devastatingly handsome, but he has a soul blackened by his desire for revenge. And to give in to such a man, even for a single kiss, would be to lose her head— and her heart—forever..."
Back to another Presents. I love this title (I really think that the titles of the Modern/Presents books are getting better) so I was looking forward to reading it. It's OK.
The heroine Lucy is all alone in the world, the only thing she had left of her family is a small share in the families business. One of the other shareholder planning to redevelop the area and Lucy goes to see the hero Lorenzo, the other shareholder, to try and convince him not to vote on the redevelopment. Lorenzo has no time for Lucy as he still blames her brother for the death of his brother many years back, all of which he takes great pleasure in telling her. However his initial reaction to her changes when he sees her again at the wedding of a mutual friend, and he decides to pursues her for an affair. Lucy tries to resist him but she is drawn to his brooding personality, and when they do get together she is excited and happy that this could be the start of something special for them. But Lorenzo brutally crushed her hopes when he tells her he wanted nothing but an affair and he still doesn't really like her. She moves on and managers to make plans for her family business with the other partner, but once again Lorenzo crushes her hopes when he returns after getting pressure from his mother and hearing about Lucy's plans.
I really wanted to like this book, and at times I did, but for the majority of it I found it very difficult to read. In my opinion the author has taken the alpha-male concept WAY too far, there's a difference between a dominating male and a controlling bastard, and unfortunately the hero of the book falls into the latter (He calls the heroine fat, for goodness sake). I also think there are too many conflicts in this story, it got a little frustrating. I did like the heroine though, she is feisty and independent.
The story idea is good but, in my opinion, it is overcomplicated and poorly executed.