Tuesday, 6 December 2011
365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #235
Jewel in His Crown - Lynne Graham
Mills & Boon Modern
Harlequin UK, 2011
From the back cover:
"A virtuous wife is worth more than rubies...
Sheikh Raja al-Somari knows that sacrificing his freedom for the good of his country isn’t a choice; it’s a duty. But he’s going to have to use more imaginative tactics to convince his new bride...
Yesterday Ruby Sommerton was an ordinary girl, going to work and gossiping with her flatmate. Now she’s a princess – and is waiting nervously in the bedroom of the Prince’s desert palace! Ruby has a lot to learn – about being royal, how exhilarating nights with her new husband can be... and that an heir is top of his agenda!"
This is the latest offering from Lynne Graham. and one that I was a little let's say hesitant about reading.
The heroine Ruby is just an ordinary girl until her world is turned upside down when she is visited by the hero Raja and informed that she is heir to a country and must also marry him. Ruby has never been acknowledged by her father and his family, who were royalty and leaders of a small eastern country, so she never knew she was actually a princess. She is shocked to learn that in order for her father's country to be at peace with the neighbouring country - the one that Raja is leader of - she must marry Raja. Raja has always known that he would one day have to sacrifice his own freedom for duty to his country. Upon meeting Ruby, even though she is rather headstrong and impetuous, he immediately desires her and realises being married to her wouldn't be a hardship. Ruby doesn't want to marry Raja but after gathering information about the state of the country of her birth she agrees, on the condition that it be a marriage in name only. However she did not realise how much she would desire Raja, and how easily he could make her give in.
I was pretty hesitant about reading this book. Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of Lynne Graham's books, but her last one put me off. I'm not really sure what to make of this book; I did enjoy it but there is a lot in this book I didn't like, at all.
The start of the book is the hero getting out of bed with another woman, and while it is generally accepted that romance heroes, particularly those in Modern/Presents, are experienced and 'playboys' THIS scene just slapped you round the face with this fact. It cheapened the book and was quite distasteful.
At times the writing felt a little purple prose-y, and there is way too much internal monologuing - the hero and heroine barely talked. There is too many romance novel clichés used in this book, I'm not even going to mention them as I fear I will be here all day, but it's frustrating. Lynne Graham can do much better than this.
You may think I'm being a little petty here but I have an issue with authors trying to crowbar 'cool' words into their books where they are just not needed - in this book the use of the word "sexts" felt just, well, awkward, this isn't a book about teenagers (In her last book she used the word "shag" a lot, this further cements my point).
I nearly gave this book two stars. What saves this book is the two characters and particularly the hero. The hero felt very mature and a bit more gentle than most of the more recent Modern/Presents heroes. The heroine was also quite likeable in her feistiness.
Overall, this is not a bad book. It is enjoyable but it isn't quite there, to make it up to Lynne Graham's quality of old.