3 stars

Category Romance Review: Mansion for My Love by Robyn Donald

Mansion for My Love, Robyn Donald, Harlequin 1990, Len Goldberg cover art

“I carefully avoided telling you that I love you.”

MANSION FOR MY LOVE

Harlequin Presents #567

3 Stars

Rating: 3 out of 5.

*** Spoiler alert ***

Mansion for My Love: A Hard Book to Review

Robyn Donald, who authored romances primarily for the Harlequin Presents line, often wrote some of the most angst-filled books, with heroes so cruel, you’d swear they were the villains. Mansion for My Love is one of those books where you can’t believe what the supposed hero does to the heroine.

A 3-star rating is an odd thing. It can represent such varied levels of opinions on personal enjoyment. There are the average reads, which make for a pleasant way to pass the time but likely are stories you’ll forget and/or never desire to re-explore.

Then there are those books that get you right away and seem like a guaranteed 5-star experience, but then result in disappointment somehow and fall to a barely favorable rating or vice-versa.

Some books are objectively terrible (either in plot development or editing like grammar/spelling, etc.). Yet they provide so much guilty entertainment that you can’t possibly give them a negative review, even if you’re ashamed that your friends and followers will know you enjoy such trash.

And, last, there are books like Mansion for My Love. This is the kind of book that splits readers every which way, the kind no matter what you feel, everyone can’t stop talking about.

The Plot

Faine is a great heroine, charming, independent, and open to love. She meets Burke Harding and is drawn to his strong magnetic presence. He pursues her with a cold determination, and against her better judgment, she finds herself head over heels for him. But while Burke is obviously interested in her, he keeps himself at a distance. So when Burke proposes, Faine says yes, but strangely love is never mentioned.

Finally, Faine and Burke get married, and that’s where the drama starts. This all hinges on a gimmick:

Girl meets guy, he pursues her like crazy, she falls in love, they have a whirlwind wedding, and on their wedding day, she overhears the hero declare his love for his sister-in-law who’s married to his sick brother.

What a betrayal. How can the hero ever be redeemed?

There’s more. Done wrong, the heroine, Faine, runs away from the hero, Burke, who tracks her down, demands a real marriage, pretty much forces his way into her bed, and makes her mad with love and lust.

Then the brother dies. And there still lots of drama to come! That’s quite a bit of romantic angst to pack into a 188-page book.

Final Analysis of Mansion for My Love

Robyn Donald was certainly an above-average writer for the HP line. Her works evoke vivid visions of their natural settings, her heroes written in a similar brutal & obsessive vein, her heroines fighting their inner struggles to submit to cruel passion.

MfML is genre fiction that grips you in the gut. It’s a controversial romance among its fans and detractors. It’s always a book I’ll remember, if not the tiny details, then the way it made me feel. The heroine is great. If she were a weak pushover type, this story wouldn’t be as strong. What Burke did was so wrong, not just one deed, but another followed by another. Faine didn’t deserve to be wronged, but at the end of the day, she chose to be with Burke.

MfML leaves me with a ton of questions.

Why did Faine love him so much? Is Burke’s transformation at the end believable? Is she second-best or first in his heart? Can he be forgiven? Does he deserve to? So many unknowns!

Despite the middling rating, an average read it is not. This is not an easy book to pin down; it’s one that inspires conflicting emotions.

It certainly did for me. I love this book. I hate this book. I don’t know if I could stomach ever reading this angsty “love story” again, but it holds a place on my keeper shelf.

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