Category Archives: Robyn Donald

mansion for my love donald

Category Romance Review: Mansion for My Love by Robyn Donald

category romance
Mansion For My Love by Robyn Donald
Rating: three-stars
Published: 1982
Illustrator: Len Goldberg
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Presents #567
Published by: Harlequin, Mills & Boon
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 188
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Category Romance Review: Mansion for My Love by Robyn Donald

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

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.

Mansion for My Love: A Hard Romance to Review

A 3-star rating is an odd thing. It can represent such varied levels of opinions on personal enjoyment. There are 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 kind of book splits readers every which way, the kind no matter what you feel, everyone can’t stop talking about.

mansion for my love robyn donald
Mansion For My Love, Mills & Boon

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 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 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 is still lots of drama to come! That’s quite a bit of romantic angst to pack into a 188-page book.

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

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.

Mansion For My Love 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.

Mansion For My Love 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. Mansion For My Love is not an easy book to pin down. It inspires conflicting emotions. It certainly did for me. I love this romance–and I hate it.

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

3 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
3
Characters
4
Writing
4
Chemistry
3
Fun Factor
2.5
Cover
3.5
Overall: 3.3

Synopsis

“He’s not a good man to fall in love with!”

Faine had not ignored the warning, but even without his wealth, charm and good looks, Burke Harding had magnetism.

His determined pursuit and assault on her heart soon overcame her wavering resistance. She agreed to marry him, but some deep instinct of self-preservation kept her from revealing her love–and in time her decision was vindicated.

“I carefully avoided telling you that I love you,” he told her when Faine discovered she was a stand-in for the woman he really loved–but could not have.

MANSION FOR MY LOVE by ROBYN DONALD
Bride at Whangatapu Donald

Category Romance Review: Bride at Whangatapu by Robyn Donald

Bride at Whangatapu, Robyn Donald, Harlequin, 1977, Craig cover art

From the back of the book:

Nothing has changed,” Fiona said in desperation. “Jonathan is my son.

Fiona had had five years to think about her youthful folly–five years to remember Logan Sutherland’s treatment of her. Now, a whim of fate had brought them together again, and he laid claim to the son he hadn’t known existed.

Well, for Jonathan’s sake she would marry this cool, calculating stranger as he demanded. But she would never be his wife!

Harlequin #232

SPOILER FREE REVIEW 😊

2 stars

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The Book

Bride at Whangatapu includes the hallmark of almost every one of Robyn Donald’s books. It intimately details the natural environment of New Zealand. Whether her books were set on a sheep station, on a yacht in the Pacific, or just a tropical backdrop, you could see the bright green grass, feel the ocean spray on your face or smell the hibiscus blossoms (which don’t even have much a scent, do they?).

Bride at Whangatapu
Bride at Whangatapu, Mills & Boon

The Plot

Also present, Robyn Donald’s first published book is the other hallmark of her writing: an ultra-jerky hero who bullies his way over the heroine.

Right from chapter one, when Logan finds that Fiona was the mother of his son who resulted from a one-night stand many years ago, he demands she marry him. He blames Fiona and her dead parents for not having told him the truth.

However, he was a pig about their lovemaking, calling Fiona a slut and a promiscuous bitch for sleeping with him (she was an 18-year-old virgin, he was a more experienced 26 years of age), so Fiona left and never looked back.

Final Analysis of Bride at Whangatapu

Donald’s heroes are odd, as they are incredibly cruel, yet sometimes that meanness makes them so appealing. Not so much here in Bride at Whangatapu, her first HP. I guess it took a bit of practice to master that fine line.

tiger, tiger

Category Romance Review: Tiger, Tiger by Robyn Donald

Tiger, Tiger, Robyn Donald, Harlequin, 1997, cover artist TBD

“I rather wish you were my sister.”

TIGER, TIGER

Harlequin Presents #1931

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

3 1/2 stars

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Book

Tiger, Tiger by Robyn Donald flirts with a taboo that’s yet to be crossed in romance. V. C. Andrews might have had some influence on this book.

In the movie Joe Dirt, a loveable, mullet-haired redneck travels across America searching for his long-lost family. In one scene he finds a beautiful woman who could possibly be his sister. Realizing his potentially incestuous attraction to the woman, Joe flees in panic, but then, not wanting to be thought of as a weirdo, returns to explain his problem… after they fall into bed.

Oh hell, the movie tells it funnier than I could:

When reading Tiger, Tiger by Robyn Donald I was reminded of this scene over and over.

The Plot

Lecia Spring first sees Keane Paget at an opera in the park, where a friend points out how alike the two are, so much so that they could be twins. Indeed, while Lecia’s eyes are green and Keane’s blue, they both have honey hair–only his is like dark manuka honey (how authentically Kiwi)–the same cleft chin, strong cheekbones, long straight nose, and tall, confident demeanor.

Looking that much alike, they are instantly drawn to each other, and curious if a common ancestor is the reason for the resemblance, they begin a cordial, yet hesitant, flirtation.

Throughout the book many, many people comment on their striking resemblance, thinking them not mere brother and sister but womb-mates. Lecia and Keane’s relationship is bizarre, but the protagonists let the reader know they too are aware of its forbidden kinky nature.

Lecia thinks on page 31:

Was part of this unsettling, goaded attraction a prohibited thrill at their close resemblance, the way her features were manifested in his more chiseled, hard-edged face?

And then there’s this on page 132:

His feelings were as suspect as hers. The ugly word ‘narcissism’ covered that sort of attraction–making her recall the sad legend of the Greek youth who fell in love with his own reflection and died because he couldn’t see anyone else more worthy of his love… Or was it the pull between them nothing more than an instinctive recognition of blood ties, a recognition she was mistaking for desire?

The thought of finding the male version of myself whom I may be related to as attractive… Just, no… Gross! Yuck!

But in a book, I can read the characters’ stories without queasiness. Ah, twisted romance. I love Harlequin Presents.

Final Analysis of Tiger, Tiger

I enjoyed the Tiger, Tiger, but the middle lags a bit as Lecia and Keane avoid each other. Although we get insight into why Lecia is interested and we know Keane’s past, we can only assume that because he thinks he is SO great, only a woman exactly like him can be his mate.

I think I read the sequel to this book, the one about their children, who get locked up in an attic by their evil grandmother who secretly poisons the kids with arsenic, while they decorate their room with paper flowers.

Oh, of course, Lecia and Keane aren’t brother and sister! There is a logical reason as to why the two look so much alike! Although I have a feeling just like Joe Dirt, those two will be engaging in a lot of bedroom role-playing. 😂