Category Archives: Carole Mortimer

hard to get mortimer

Category Romance Review: Hard To Get by Carole Mortimer


He seemed completely immune to her
Rich girl Lara Schofield had never met a man she couldn’t instantly captivate, and in fact she’d made a hobby of collecting hearts and breaking them while she remained personally uninvolved.

Until she encountered Jordan Sinclair. He was devastating, everything a woman could ask for. And he was utterly indifferent to Lara.

But what Lara wanted, Lara got, and she was determined to have Jordan Sinclair. Even if it meant playing with the potent fire of his passion, and playing with Jordan was very dangerous indeed….


Reviewed by Introvert Reader


The Book

Oh boy, when I read “the heroine in pursuit plot” synopsis for this Harlequin Presents, was I ever excited to read it. Heroines who are determined to get their men are my favorite kinds! Alas, when the object of said pursuit is a mean arsehole, the chase isn’t worth it. Still, Hard to Get by Carole Mortimer was a wild, emotional whirlwind. With a more charismatic hero, I could have loved this as opposed to liking it.

As with so many Presents, this is an utter trainwreck, so you can’t look away.

The Characters

Lara Sinclair, our heroine, is beautiful, rich, vain, and spoiled–the very opposite of a heroine. She’s a daddy’s little girl type. Lara’s used to getting what she wants with ease. All the boys want her. She flirts and trifles with their hearts, never giving what she knows is so easy to get.

At a party, she sees the hero, Jordan Sinclair, and decides she wants him as another toy to play with. She approaches him with supreme confidence just to be stunned with brutal dismissal.

The game is on, and Lara is more determined than ever to have him.

The Plot

Lara chases after Jordan only to be rebuffed at every turn. Even so, Jordan shows up in her life at parties and spends time with her wealthy father getting all buddy-buddy.

Lara overplays her hand with an unhinged guy who then attempts to rape her and Jordan saves her. He shows contempt for Lara, blaming her for what almost occurred.

Then Jordan does a 180 and decides he’s the man for her. But now she doesn’t want anything to do with him, so Jordan convinces Daddy-dear that it would be in Lara’s best interest to do so.

This is all a rather contrived way to get there, but the pair do go out. Before anything serious can occur, Jordan goes off on a business trip. However, it seems as if Jordan is still playing hard to get, as Lara hears he’s back in town, yet he hasn’t contacted her.

So Lara goes on a revenge date with the guy who previously tried to rape her, only to have Jordan show up and find her flirting like a drunken Scarlett O’Hara at a barbeque. So Harlequin’s logic entails that Jordan picks her up like a white knight and brings her to his home, before violating her. Jordan is horrified to find she’s a virgin. Lara is horrified, too, of course! It was rape, no euphemistic forced seduction here.

Despite this, when Jordan proposes Lara accepts–to her father’s delight. As a wedding present, Lara’s company shares will be transferred to Jordan. Lara and Jordan get married and embark on a loveless distant union. Too late, Lara discovers her love for Jordan. She also realizes she’s pregnant. Wisely, she doesn’t tell her husband, because Jordan reveals that the reason he married her was for revenge. His revelations as to who and why he’s seeking vengeance stun Lara, and she agrees to a divorce.

But you know there’s got to be a happy ending, in some over-the-top melodramatic way! There is, and these two insane people will find their way together in an unhealthy romance that will last a lifetime.

Final Analysis of Hard To Get

Carole Mortimer can make me enjoy some really wacky plots. Unfortunately, Jordan was too cold, which I usually enjoy as a trait in a hero. But he was also very cruel. There was little time to understand his motivations until the big revelation. And then it was too little, too late. I never warmed up to him.

Lara, on the other hand, grew as a character from a spoilt rich princess to a young woman of self-regard and control. I liked her and wished she got a better man.

Hard to Get was a heck of a ride, but it felt disjointed and uneven at times. The tug and pull of their relationship could give a reader whiplash. The so-called hero deserved an anvil to the head.

Still, it hits so many crazy buttons, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it.

3.62 Stars

cherish tomorrow

Category Romance Review: Trust in Tomorrow (aka Cherish Tomorrow) by Carole Mortimer

Cherish Tomorrow, Carole Mortimer, Harlequin, 1985, cover artist TBD

Harlequin Presents # 804

2 1/2 Stars

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

What can I say about Carole Mortimer’s Trust in Tomorrow (published as Cherish Tomorrow in the US & Canada)? Sadly, that I wasn’t really feeling this one. The romance aspect of the book was fine, kind of adorable, actually, with a very young heroine, Chelsea, in pursuit of the much older hero, Lucas. She knows she wants her man and is willing to fight for him. I really wish Chelsea and Lucas could have had a better plot to go along with their romance. The romance was fine, but it was the story that had me going, huh?

The Plot

Chelsea’s mother has just suddenly died, and since her father is a famous tv celebrity, he dispatches her from California to England to get away from the press. He sends her to stay with Lucas, an old family friend Chelsea hasn’t known since she was 12 and he was 27 when she had a HUGE crush on him. Creepy, but whatever. Since they haven’t seen each other in years, neither recognizes the other. So this leads to a bit of a misunderstanding that’s quickly cleared up.

He thinks she’s a hooker on the prowl; she thinks he’s an uptight prig.

Chelsea upturns Lucas’s staid life, from his disapproving housekeeper, to his very disapproving mistress. But the sparks fly between the two, and Chelsea quickly realizes she’s in love and will do what she has to to make Lucas believe her love is true.

That was the good part of the book.

The Bad Parts

 Within a matter of days, Chelsea finds her mother dead from suicide, finds out her father has secretly married their close family friend, mere months after her parent’s divorce, and it was due to this marriage that her mother committed suicide. But Chelsea’s not upset. She’s delighted for her Dad and friend, and is madly in love with Lucas, so what’s there to worry about? Mom would’ve kicked the bucket one way or another anyway. So, everybody gets to have a happy ending, right?

Or maybe it’s just me. I know if all this happened to me in one week:

1)My parents had recently divorced

2)I found my mom dead from a suicide that I blamed myself for not being there to stop

3)Was sent out of my country to stay with someone who I hadn’t seen since I was a child

4)Was tricked into spilling my life story to someone who seemed like a kind stranger, only to find that said stranger was a reporter and that my life was splashed all over the front pages

5)Found out my dad’s hasty and secret new marriage to my mom’s friend was the cause for the suicide attempt

6)And that my mom had been suicidal for years while my parents had a loveless marriage

I’d have at least some turbulent emotions to deal with and wouldn’t be as happy-go-lucky.

Final Analysis of Trust in Tomorrow

I know Mortimer was trying to show how mature and resilient Chelsea was, despite being only 19. Although I doubt people 20 years older would have such an easy time adjusting after such a series of tragic events in so brief a time.

But maybe it’s me, and I’m just a judgemental, emotional curmudgeon. Whether the book is called Cherish Tomorrow or Trust in Tomorrow, it makes no difference; both the hero and heroine deserved to be in a better one because this was not one of Mortimer’s bests. For a better Harlequin with a similar free-spirited heroine in love with an older man, I’d recommend Darkness into Light instead.

darknes into light

Category Romance Review: Darkness into Light by Carole Mortimer

Darkness into Light, Carole Mortimer, Harlequin, 1986, cover artist TBD

Harlequin Presents #892

3 1/2 Stars

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

She decided at the beginning of their relationship that she would only take what he wanted to give, but she wouldn’t be treated as a sex object, only accepted as an equal in his bed.


Darkness into Light by Carole Mortimer is one of those category romances you must read in a comfy chair because you’ll want to settle down for the next couple of hours to enjoy the book in one sitting.

The Plot

Danny is the head gardener of Sutherland Estates and has yet to meet her wealthy, reclusive boss. Then, late one night, while mowing the lawn to relax (because bubble baths are so physically draining!), his hunky nephew Pierce shows up, dressed in a sexy, revealing bathing suit. Being a bit of a flirt, Danny invites herself over for a swim, and the sparks quickly fly between these polar opposites. Pierce is almost 40 years old and is the severe, stuffed-shirt type, while Danny is barely 21 and wears her heart on her sleeve.

There’s no doubt that Pierce is interested in what Danny appears to be offering, and he pursues her. In a short time, she finds herself head over heels for him, but not before Pierce warns her that love is not on the agenda. Sex is all he’s interested in. He was previously married, and after the tragic death of his wife, Pierce has sworn off love and marriage.

I liked how even though Danny was a virgin, she wasn’t hateful about sex due to tacked-on trauma or innate prudery. Instead, she simply was waiting for the right man who made her tingle in all the proper places to come along. And when he does… Pierce should watch out because Danny will get her man!

Danny might be much younger than Pierce, but she knows her mind and is no pushover. Pierce is adamant about limiting the boundaries of their relationship to mere lust, as he had done with all the females in his life. Danny, on the other hand, would never allow herself to be used for sex. She asserts that “his other women may have become accustomed to it, but she never would.”

Final Analysis of Darkness into Light

Generally in romances, I hate the dead wife or lover trope, with Danny even noting that “[Pierce’s wife]’s memory sounds like too much competition for any woman.” However, as a heroine, Danny was so refreshingly open and forthright that she carried the book.

There’s not a lot of plot or any tense drama in this Harlequin Presents, but I liked it all the same. Carole Mortimer hit the sweet spot with this book, not too angsty, not too light, just the perfect read for a carefree afternoon.

gypsy carole mortimer

Contemporary Romance Review: Gypsy by Carole Mortimer

Gypsy by Carole Mortimer
Rating: three-stars
Published: 1985
Illustrator: TBD
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Signature Edition
Published by: Harlequin
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 383
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

Contemporary Romance Review: Gypsy by Carole Mortimer


The Book

I have a real love/hate situation with Gypsy by Carole Mortimer, a full-length contemporary romance. It’s got some concepts I adore and others, like adultery, that make me want to toss this book across the room.

Carole Mortimer is one of the few Harlequin authors who regularly features blond heroes (I prefer them to the “tall, dark” archetype), so I have tons of her books. Usually, I enjoy reading them.

She had been his brothers wife, he hadn’t seen her for three years, and yet he had only to think of her to ache with an unrequited desire, knew that he ached with that desire even now.

The Plot

Here, the fair-haired “hero,” Lyon, is a real nasty piece of work. He’s an adulterous husband who refuses to divorce his wife because he feels he owes it to her to stick around.

That made no sense to me. I had a hard time dealing with the adultery concept. For some reason, I can accept it in historicals, but in contemporaries, I don’t have much sympathy.

I couldn’t understand why Lyon’s wife didn’t divorce him.

Worse still is the supposed heroine, Shay. What kind of woman is cool with screwing a married man who lives with his wife, who also cheats, and they all hang out together at parties like it’s no big thing?

gypsy carole mortimer

Yes, she was very young, plus a virgin before Lyon came along and was naïve. But naïve and stupid shouldn’t mean the same thing.

And yes, Shay left Lyon to marry his younger brother, Ricky, when she discovered she was pregnant with Lyon’s child. It’s creepy, too, how now Ricky’s dead and she’s pregnant with his child.

But all that in Gypsy didn’t bother me as much as Lyon being married. He is supposedly madly in love with Shay, yet unwilling to divorce his wife, while they both carried on affairs. I guess everyone has their peeves, and adultery in contemporaries is one of mine.

gypsy by carole mortimer
Gypsy, Carole Mortimer, Mills & Boon, 1986, cover artist unknown

Final Analysis of Gypsy

Still, Carole Mortimer’s Gypsy had this kind of “car-accident” vibe to it, where I couldn’t look away or put the book down.

The serpentine semi-incestuous and adulterous relationships did make for a crazy time. It’s worth a read, even if I felt I needed to shower afterward.

3 Stars

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 3.2


Claiming his woman…

Shay is the raven-haired beauty the Falconer brothers called Gypsy. Irresistible to each brother, it was Lyon Falconer who claimed her—when he didn’t have the right… Yet it was Ricky, the youngest Falconer, who picked up the fragments of Shay’s shattered life and married her out of love.

But, with her husband’s death, destiny has hurled Shay back within Lyon’s reach. Now Lyon has a final chance to prove that Shay has always been—and would always be—his!

love unspoken

Category Romance Review: Love Unspoken by Carole Mortimer

category romance


The Book

Carole Mortimer’s Love Unspoken is one of those infamously controversial Harlequin Presents where readers can’t stop talking about it, even if it’s not necessarily well-loved.

It must be the change of seasons. Something in the air, because I can’t explain it, I really liked this one—almost loved it, actually, until the end.

The Set Up

Love Unspoken begins with the heroine, Julie, a jet-setting journalist, having just been released by terrorists. They had held her and her fellow flight-mates hostage.

She’s a little bruised and reeling when her boyfriend, Steve, shows up with concern. Julie and Steve have been dating for six months—by her own admission, some of the happiest she’s ever spent—but Julie, a mature gal in her mid-twenties, just can’t make the jump from heavy petting to sex.

She likes keeping Steve on a firm leash while he pants for more from her, but she’s not giving him any biscuits!

Steve knows Julie was involved with the Zack Reedman in the past. In fact, she had a year-long affair with him, so could it be old feelings for him that hold her back?

“You’ve forgotten how to be a woman!”

The Plot

Julie adamantly denies having any attachment to Zack, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It was no mere affair; Julie had been married to Zack for a year, a turbulent, passionate year before they separated.

She’s still married to Zack despite not having seen him in three years.

Time is not on Julie’s side because her best friend is married to Zack’s brother and invites her to spend some time convalescing at their home in the country.

Just coincidentally, it also happens to be the anniversary of Julie and Zack’s marriage, when who should show up unexpectedly, but Zack!

Zack has been keeping himself quite busy with plenty of women and now seems to be on the verge of engagement with another woman.

Divorce is now on the agenda, yet Zack can’t keep his hands off his ex. Julie, disgusted, pushes him away, restating her hatred of him.

Zack’s brother demands to know just what happened to break up the couple. Zack was incredibly jealous and possessive and never appreciated Julie’s career, which kept her out of the country more often than at home.

He would always accuse her of having affairs with her coworkers.

On the night they split up for good, Julie got a call to fly out for a job. This is when Julie drops the bombshell. In a fit of rage, Zack beat and raped her, ending their once-loving relationship.

Zack and Julie act ridiculously as he pursues her, and she flees from him while they both string along with their significant others.

Their crazy lust–er, love, for each other won’t be denied. They have a one-night stand together while said significant others are under the same roof with them—Julie’s guy is even the room adjoining hers!

The Insanity Continues

Of course, this being the land of drama, that one night results in pregnancy. Julie does her best to hide the pregnancy from Zack, but he finds out anyway. Then he finds out that after she left him, she suffered a miscarriage.

We’re well near the end of the book, but Zack hasn’t changed one bit and stopped being a jealous lout because he falsely accuses Julie of hiding that secret because he wasn’t the baby’s father. What an a-hole, right?

Julie and Zack reunite platonically for the baby’s sake, she quits her job, and they settle in the country.

Finally, after giving birth to their child, Zack discovers one more truth: it was due to his violent rape of Julie that she miscarried their first child.

Zack leaves his wife at the hospital, locks himself up in his study, drinking his miseries away, wallowing in self-pity.

So Julie does the only thing she can, releases herself from the hospital early to run to Zack’s side.

She reveals the last truth to him: her father was a serial adulterer, driving her mother to an early death. That was why Julie always kept herself at a distance from Zack because she never wanted to love as deeply as her mother did.

Zack cries, she cries, and the two vow to spend their marriage together as one passionate affair.

Final Analysis of Love Unspoken

Now, why the hell did I like a book like this?

I can’t explain. The emotional ups and down in Love Unspoken were thrilling, with almost every chapter ending in a shocking cliffhanger where more information is revealed.

I can understand why the plot would turn many readers off, and to be honest, when I had heard what the book was about, I wasn’t crazy about reading it. But something about it just worked for me.

As I said, it must be something perverse in the air that made me enjoy this.

There is no actual resolution to their problems. There’s no marriage counseling. No private counseling.

No helpful aid from friends and family. Zack’s still jealous still uses alcohol as a crutch, still potentially violent.

And Julie is… Well, Julie’s clearly not all there, either, because she’s willing to overlook all those dangerous flaws because of true love.

What a horrible hero. What a horrible heroine. She’s a codependent user, and he’s a drunk abuser.

They deserved each other and will no doubt have a very long, very rocky marriage where they make everyone miserable, including themselves, but will only be more miserable apart from one another.

What a crazy mess. And I liked it.

4.5 Stars

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 4.5


“You’ve forgotten how to be a woman!”

Zach Reedman’s bitter accusation had been the death knell of his marriage to Julie. And even after three long years Julie still winced when she remembered his parting words

She’d been a budding journalist, he her publisher when they met. A love too strong and passionate to resist had led them quickly to the altar, but even after her vows Julie’s career had come before her husband.

Older and wiser, she met Zach again, And as the wounds time had never fully healed were reopened, so once more was her heart….