Category Archives: year 1997

1997

Flashback Friday: Class of 1997

1997

Flashback to The Year: 1997

What Was Going On 25 Years Ago?

Sweet Savage Flame looks back to 1997, a quarter of a century ago. What books were popular? What events and issues were prevalent?

As the year started with me recovering from near-death complications due to lupus, it could only get better.

1997 was the first year of the 2nd Bill Clinton term as POTUS in the USA. Princess Diana and Mother Teresa died days apart in August. Dolly the sheep was the first successfully cloned animal.

My beloved NY Yankees lost their chance of back-to-back championships when they lost the World Series to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Film and Television

Titanic was the biggest hit at the theaters come the end of the year. It made history as the first film to hit $1 billion at the box office.

The top TV shows were Friends and Seinfeld on NBC’s unbeatable Thursday night lineup. The cartoon The Simpsons was in its golden age, with Ally McBeal as a promising new hit on FOX. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the hottest new thing on the WB channel.

I remember being addicted to Aaron Spelling’s daytime soap opera, Sunset Beach.

The Ladies of Sunset Beach
The Ladies of Sunset Beach

Fashion

What were the clothes like in 1997? I wore camisole tops, flare leg jeans, and Candies wooden clogs.

In the summer, females had the option of a variety of 2-piece swimsuits, including the recently-back-in-style cheeky-short bottom as opposed to the bikini.

The Aniston haircut was still popular for many women. Me, I had my hair dyed black and cut into a flippy, layered chin-length bob. (Not the Karen! It had no bump nor required teasing).

Makeup was black liquid eyeliner and white eyeshadow, plus Revlon’s Toast of New York lipstick. White and light pastels or dark-red Opi polish for the nails depending on the season.

The USA By the Numbers:

  • Yearly Inflation Rate –  2.34 %
  • Year-End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average – 7,908
  • Interest Rates Year End Federal Reserve – 8.5%
  • Average Cost of a new house – $124,100
  • Average Income per year – $37,006
  • Average Monthly Rent – $576
  • Cost of a gallon of Gas – $1.22
  • The average cost of a new car is $16,900
  • Loaf of Bread – $1.17
  • Movie Ticket – $4.59
books of 1997
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Books of 1997

Now let’s talk about books. In 1997, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published in the United Kingdom.

Other notable books released that year include:

  • Imajica by Clive Barker
  • The Bronze Horseman by Paulina Simons
  • The Church of Dead Girls by Stephen Dobyns
  • Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
  • Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
  • Time Quake by Kurt Vonnegut

You can check out romance books from 1997 we’ve reviewed on our blog so far.

Romance would see fewer clinches, more stepbacks, and more plain covers. This was especially true for especially for Kensington Books as they branched out into new and more erotic imprints. Trade-size books were surging in sales.

The hot trend of paranormal romances was immensely popular with readers.

Nora Roberts was on fire in 1997 with her book, The MacGregor Brides, and her In Death series as J.D. Robb.

Tami Hoag, Elizabeth Lowell, and Iris Johansen were romance authors hitting the bestseller charts with mystery novels or romantic suspense.

vengenace in death

Contemporary Romances:

  • Trust Me on This by Jennifer Crusie
  • Deep Waters Jayne Ann Krentz
  • Ladies’ Man by Suzanne Brockmann
  • Jackson Rule by Dinah McCall
  • Nobody’s Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Historical Romances:

  • This Is All I Ask by Lynn Kurland
  • Affair by Amanda Quick
  • Captain Jack’s Woman by Stephanie Laurens
  • All I Need Is You by Johanna Lindsey
  • Shiek by Connie Mason
  • Key to Forever by Christina Skye
  • Season of Wishes by Christina Skye
  • Silent Melody by Mary Balogh

Paranormal Romances:

  • Twice a Hero by Susan Krinard
  • Touch of Enchantment by Teresa Medeiros
  • Son of the Morning by Linda Howard

Native American Romances

Cassie Edwards was still hugely popular with her Native American historical romances.

Cait London was blazing a trail with her Tallchief series for the Silhouette Desire category line.

cait london

Romantic Times Readers’ Choice Winners

  • Finding Laura by Kay Hooper
  • A Place to Call Home by Deborah Smith
  • The Promise of Jenny Jones by Maggie Osborne
  • Seeing a Large Cat by Elizabeth Peters
  • Serpent’s Tooth by Faye Kellerman
  • Son of the Morning by Linda Howard
  • Splendor by Brenda Joyce
  • Vengeance in Death by J.D. Robb

RWA Winners

  • Best First Book
    • Stardust Of Yesterday by Lynn Kurland, Berkley
  • Best Traditional Romance
    • Her Very Own Husband by Lauryn Chandler, Silhouette Romance
  • Best Short Contemporary Series
    • Cowboy Pride by Anne McAllister, Silhouette Desire
  • Best Long Contemporary Series
    • Wild Blood by Naomi Horton, Silhouette Intimate Moments
  • Best Paranormal Romance
    • Stardust Of Yesterday by Lynn Kurland, Berkley
  • Best Inspirational Romance
    • The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers, Tyndale House
  • Best Regency Romance
    • The Lady’s Companion by Carla Kelly, Penguin
  • Best Short Historical Romance
    • Always To Remember by Lorraine Heath, Berkley/Jove
  • Best Long Historical Romance
    • Conor’s Way by Laura Lee Guhrke, Harper
  • Best Romantic Suspense
    • See How They Run by Bethany Campbell, Bantam
  • Best Contemporary Single Title
    • Daniel’s Gift by Barbara Freethy, Avon

1997 – The Last Year I Was Young, LOL

I was a pregnant college student living with my boyfriend in our apartment in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. In October I turned 20 while attending my first (and last) sophomore semester at NYU.

1997 was one of the most memorable years of my life. My daughter was born almost 6 weeks premature on Christmas Day. My miracle baby.

She had to stay in the NICU for almost a month and was on a ventilator for two weeks. Then she was connected to an oxygen tank for another 4 months.

The last song I recall hearing in 1997 was was “How Do I Live” as sung by LeAnn Rimes. It made me cry thinking of my daughter in the NICU.

To celebrate the arrival of 1998, we watched a Thanksgiving episode of a new show called South Park on Comedy Central.

jacqueline baby
Jacqueline Diaz, November 1997

My boyfriend and I eventually made it “legal.” We’ve been married for 24 years. Our beautiful daughter is now at law school, thank Heaven!

My Books from 1997

I don’t remember much of my hobby reading as that year was so busy with school work. Although, there were a few memorable books I enjoyed in 1997:

Your Opinion

What are your memories of 1997? Was it a memorable year or one that went by too fast? Were you even alive in 1997? Let us know!

Please drop a comment, and let’s talk romance!

Links

the marriage war charlotte lamb

Category Romance Review: The Marriage War by Charlotte Lamb

the marriage war by charlotte lamb
The Marriage War by Charlotte Lamb
Rating: half-star
Published: 1997
Illustrator: TBD
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Presents #1913
Published by: Harlequin, Mills & Boon
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 186
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooksOpen Library (BORROW FOR FREE)
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Category Romance Review: The Marriage War by Charlotte Lamb

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

The Marriage War by Charlotte Lamb may not have the absolute worst cruel hero in Harlequin Presents’ history, but he certainly ranks in the top twenty…maybe forty.

Okay, maybe the top 50. The HP line has at least a thousand crappy heroes in its 50 years of existence.

The Plot

Sancha is a stressed-out housewife with a handsome, workaholic husband named Mark. While she’s not yet middle-aged, she feels and looks her age, while Mark gets better each year like a fine vintage wine.

She is a stay-at-home mother responsible for cooking, cleaning, raising the children, and keeping her husband satisfied. She works hard on the first three. Lately, though, Sancha’s been neglecting her final “responsibility,” as her husband keeps telling her.

The twin beds in their bedroom don’t help. That became a habit when their twins were young, and Sancha had to wake up for midnight nursings and nappy changes. It had been Mark’s idea since he didn’t want his sleep disturbed by her movements.

Sancha and Mark have been married for six years. Well, if you’ve heard of the seven-year-itch, you know what happens next.

Mark has a charming secretary in the office. Capable, beautiful, attentive, and young.

Sancha starts receiving letters hinting that her husband is getting down and dirty with someone during his late-night work sessions. Is Mark having an affair with his secretary? Maybe. Maybe not. But it sure looks like he is when Sancha catches them out at a late-night dinner.

Sancha’s life crumbles around her. Even as it does, she decides, like any good woman from the lyrics of Country Music, to fight for her philandering man.

Romances with adultery are difficult enough to pull off. Combine that plot with a male protagonist–who, if classified by scientific terms, would be considered non-Newtonian fluid–you get a wall-banger that requires great force when tossed across the room.

It’ll be over my dead body,

So get out while you can!

‘Cause you ain’t woman enough to take my man.

LORETTA LYNN, “YOU AIN’T WOMAN ENOUGH”

Sancha gets a makeover and decides to be sexier, but now Mark thinks his wife is getting sexy for other men! Could things get any worse?

Spoiler: The Shocking Revelations

Perhaps Mark’s twisted conscience led him to do what he did. For he tells Sancha the shocking truth. He is the one behind all the letters Sancha received, not his secretary.

Apparently, Mark has a super good reason–to motivate his wife to get over herself to fight for their marriage (i.e., cater to all of Mark’s wants and needs).

In truth, he was only planning to have an affair. Nice guy, right?

Mark figured he could have his matronly wife tend to his children and home. Meanwhile, his carnal desires would be fulfilled by other women. Starting with his secretary, who was down for it.

Instead of shagging her right away, though, Mark decided first to torment his wife with anonymous letters to make her re-evaluate what was important: him!

It all works out for Mark, as Sancha gets her mojo back, and insecurity drives her to be the devoted, horny Stepford wife he knew she could be.

So Mark dumps the floozy of a secretary. In return, Sancha promises never again to get too overwhelmed by her many responsibilities. Mark will always come first. (Yeah, he seems like he’d be that type.)

“See that? How much I want you?”

“As much as you wanted her the other night?” she asked bitterly, and he shut his eyes, groaning, turning away.

“Oh, not again! Do we have to bring that up again? Forget Jacqui!”

“I can’t. Can you? Working with her every day, seeing her, being alone with her? You may not have slept with her–but you admit you almost did. Is she going to accept the end of the affair?”

Final Analysis of The Marriage War

I’ve mentioned before how Charlotte Lamb is one of my two most beloved authors in the Harlequin Presents line. I’ve given her more 5-star ratings than any other writer in that line. But she’s also written a lot of clunkers. This is one of them.

Oh, boy, did I hate this book!

Mark was a paramecium scum-sucker. Not worthy of the title of “man.” Cruel hero? More like absolute zero!

Sancha was not much better. She was a bland, reactive character and not too many rungs above her husband in the animal kingdom.

I love Charlotte Lamb’s writings, so I’ll forgive her for this hideous attempt at “romance.” Out of her 160-plus books published, there are bound to be bad ones. And sheesh, was this one ever that!

File The Marriage War under “suck-suckity-suck.”

(Note: the cover rating does not count toward the final score.)

Rating Report Card
Plot
0.5
Characters
0.5
Writing
1.5
Chemistry
0.5
Fun Factor
0.5
Cover
3.5
Overall: 1.2

Synopsis

Something worth fighting for!

Sancha’s first instinct was to burn the anonymous letter. Its malicious message couldn’t be true: Do you know where your husband will be tonight? Do you know who he’ll be with?

Sancha adored Mark now as much as when they were first married, even though family life meant that they were no longer so close. She’d never dreamed that her tough, handsome husband would fall into the arms of another woman!

The battle was on – though when Sancha confronted Mark, she discovered the physical attraction between them was as strong as ever. But she wouldn’t let herself be seduced by him…. Not yet!

The Marriage War by Charlotte Lamb
my steadfast heart

Historical Romance Review: My Steadfast Heart by Jo Goodman

Synopsis:

Colin Thorne kept a wall around his heart no one had ever breached. His two younger brothers were lost to him, perhaps forever, and now a dark mission of revenge had brought the ruthless ship captain to England.

Penniless aristocrat Mercedes Leydon was beautiful…and desperate. Colin Thorne was claiming the estate of her dissolute uncle, the Earl of Weybourne, as payment for a gambling debt. She was treated as a servant at Weybourne Park, but it was home to her and the earl’s children. Now Mercedes would use anything—lies, promises—even her own body—to stop Thorne from destroying their lives.

A man consumed by the fires of vengeance. A woman determined never to love. An unexpected passion that could damn them both...

MY STEADFAST HEART by JO GOODMAN

Reviewed by Blue Falcon

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book and Characters

This review is of My Steadfast Heart, book #1 of 3 in the “Thorne Brothers” series by Jo Goodman (a pseudonym used by Joanne Dobrzanski). Published by Zebra/Kensington (March 1997).

Hero: Colin Thorne, 29. Golden-blond hair, brown eyes. Captain, the Remington Mystic.

Heroine: Mercedes Leyden, 24. Dark brown hair, blue-gray eyes. Caretaker, Weybourne Park.

The Plot

The book begins in London in 1820. Colin Thorne, 8–who will grow up to become the hero of this book–watches his younger brothers Decker and Greyson get adopted while he is not. The boys became orphans after their parents were killed by highwaymen. Colin is later adopted by an American ship’s captain.

Fast forward to 1841. Colin, now 29 and captain of his own ship, the Remington Mystic, is back in London. He receives a visit from Mercedes Leyden, the book’s heroine, who is trying to stop a duel between Colin and her uncle, Wallace Leyden, Earl of Weybourne, over a bet the earl lost Colin. The duel never happens, however, as Weybourne doesn’t show.

As they spend time together, Mercedes and Colin become lovers and eventually marry. Multiple Leyden family secrets are revealed, and Mercedes and Colin discover that they have a tragic connection to each other that neither knew about.

In the end, more secrets are revealed, Mercedes is able to put her personal demons to rest, and she and Colin have their Happily Ever After.

Upside

With My Steadfast Heart, Ms. Goodman has created a fascinating concept involving a man separated from his brothers as children, who, now that they are all adults, tries to find them. There are a lot of places to go with this storyline.

The best part of the book, for me, is Colin. He is a good, honorable man, which can be surprising given all he has endured in his relatively young life.

Downside

Unfortunately, Ms. Goodman chose to go to a place that is overly complicated and wordy with the first book in the series. Due to that, the book’s storylines go in so many different directions. So it’s hard to tell what is going on. More importantly, why should I as a reader care about any of it? The writing style Ms. Goodman uses here feels like she was asked to write a book to a certain word count. Well, she did her very best to meet it.

Although I liked Colin a lot, I didn’t have the same level of affection for Mercedes. Although I understood some of her behavior, I didn’t find her as likable. She is also a woefully underdeveloped character, as are the supporting characters, who add nothing to the book at all.

Sex

The love scenes are good. They are not erotic nor graphic but strike a good balance between love, sex, romance, and the physical act of making love.

Violence

Assault, battery, stabbing, shooting, and killing all take place during “My Steadfast Heart.” The violence is not graphic.

Bottom Line on My Steadfast Heart

There are some good elements in My Steadfast Heart, but the laborious writing style Ms. Goodman uses and the overall complexity of the story brings the grade down a bit.

***

Location: London, England. Time frame: 19th Century.

Tropes: Historical Romance.Regency England Separated families. Ship’s Captain.

2.57 stars

the wild one

Historical Romance Review: The Wild One by Danelle Harmon

Synopsis:

England, 1776:

Lord Gareth de Montforte is known as an irresponsible rake with a heart of gold. When he takes a bullet for boldly thwarting a stagecoach robbery, he is stunned to discover that the beautiful young woman he has heroically rescued, Juliet Paige, is his deceased brother’s American fiancée, accompanied by her infant daughter. Despite his brother the duke’s refusal to acknowledge Juliet, Gareth is determined to do right by the courageous woman who crossed an ocean to give her baby her rightful name. But Juliet is wary of marrying this black sheep aristocrat, even while she is hopelessly charmed by the dashing devil.

Never has she met anyone who embraces life so thoroughly, who makes her laugh, who loves her so well. And, even when it seems the odds are against them, Juliet has absolute faith that Gareth will go beyond the call of duty, risking his life itself to give her and her daughter a home — and a love that will last a lifetime.

THE WILD ONE

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

MILD SPOILERS 😉

The Book and the Setup

Danelle Harmon’s Georgian-era historical romance series of four brothers and one sister begins with The Wild One. Lord Gareth de Montforte is one of the younger sons of the de Montforte clan. His eldest brother is a Duke. Another older brother, Charles, was a soldier who went to fight in the Americas and is presumed dead. The family will soon find that particular brother left behind some unchecked baggage they will have to carry.

The Plot

Each one of the de Monforte Clan has a moniker describing their personalities. Gareth is an impetuous rake-in-the-making with a heart of gold and is labeled “The Wild One” of the group. He’s like an overgrown frat boy who likes to party with his buddies and play practical jokes. It is upon his irresponsible shoulders where familial duties will fall.

Gareth daringly thwarts a stagecoach robbery and takes a bullet in the process. On that coach is Juliet Paige, a lovely woman who harbors a secret that stuns the de Montfortes. She claims to be dead Charles’ American fiancée and has borne Charles an illegitimate daughter. Lucien, the eldest brother, the Duke, and the family’s patriarch, doesn’t accept Juliet and her daughter as part of the family.

With no one else to do right by her, Gareth, the unlikeliest of brothers to be responsible, offers her his name. Juliet, despite herself, is attracted to Gareth. However, she dithers about her feelings, going back and forth so often and quickly. It was like watching Forrest Gump play Ping-Pong against a Chinese champion.

Juliet bit her lip, her stomach knotting with confusion and, yes, fear. But I don’t love him! I desire him, yes, but what if that’s only because he’s Charles’s brother? What if I only feel that desire because he’s as close as I can get to Charles, the next best thing? I should want this man for being the man he is, not for resembling, or being related to, the man I wish I could have!

THE WILD ONE

Egads, woman, will you make up your mind?

the wild one
The Wild One, Danelle Harmon, 2020 Reissue

A Marriage With Loose Ends

With no one to turn to but some of Gareth’s friends in low places, Juliet finds herself and her daughter spending time in a brothel as their guests. She berates her young husband for going out, getting drunk with friends, and being reckless. Gareth gives it right back to Juliet:

“We haven’t even been married a day, and already it’s obvious that you’re hopelessly out of your element. You have no idea what to do with a wife and daughter. You have no idea where to go, how to support us — nothing. Yet you had to come charging after us, the noble rescuer who just had to save the day. I’ll bet you didn’t give any thought at all to what to do with us afterward, did you? Oh! Do you always act before thinking? Do you?

He looked at her for a moment, brows raised, stunned by the force of her attack. Then he said dryly, “My dear, if you’ll recall, that particular character defect saved your life. Not to mention the lives of the other people on that stagecoach.”

THE WILD ONE

Ouch! 2nd-degree burns all around!

Eventually, Juliet loosens up a tad while Gareth straightens himself out. It’s not the most conventional arrangement, but marrying his dead brother’s betrothed to give his niece a name and home isn’t anything to be ashamed of. The pair find themselves falling for each other, and attraction turns into love.

However… The Beloved One is the next book in the series. Just who is “the Beloved” de Montforte brother? Why it’s the presumed dead Charles, who’s actually alive, and will find love with a new woman in his own book. Oopsie!

I would have preferred The Wild One deal with this juicy conflict as this romance was too breezy and lighthearted.

Final Analysis of The Wild One

I can’t say I loved this book. My quibbles with Danelle Harmon’s The Wild One are all personal. When I dislike the main characters and feel icky about the plot, it’s hard to give a book a positive rating. Sure older brother Lucien, the supposed “Wicked One,” was an intriguing character, but one side character was not enough to make me enjoy The Wild One.

Juliet couldn’t make up her mind about what she wanted. Gareth is a wet-behind-the-ears college boy. While he developed some maturity, I couldn’t see him settling down and becoming a responsible husband and father for the long haul.

Lastly, I couldn’t get over the “yuck” factor of Juliet having an affair with Gareth’s older brother, Charles, bearing Charles a child, and then marrying and falling in love with Gareth. All that, when Charles is very much alive and will be the hero in the next installment of this series.

The writing was decent here, so I can’t fault Harmon for her talents. It was the story that mainly drew me away. I don’t know how I’ll feel about Charles’ story. Maybe I’ll skip over that one and get to Lucien’s instead.

1.85 stars

marriage on the rebound

Category Romance Review: Marriage on the Rebound by Michelle Reid

category romance
Marriage on the Rebound by Michelle Reid
Rating: four-stars
Published: 1997
Illustrator: Unknown
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Presents #1973
Published by: Harlequin
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 192
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: Amazon

Category Romance Review: Marriage on the Rebound by Michelle Reid

VERY MILD SPOILERS 😉

The Book

Michelle Reid’s Marriage on The Rebound is about keeping it all in the family. Shaan Saketa is unique for a Harlequin Presents circa 1998 heroine, as she’s of mixed ethnic heritage: English and Lebanese. Otherwise, she’s like most other female main characters found in the land of these category romances. Shaan is young (not yet 23), a virgin, and an orphan.

And it’s her wedding day. Unfortunately for Shaan, she’s about to be dumped at the altar.

The Plot

Shaan is in her wedding dress when her fiancé’s brother and former boss, Rafe Danvers, comes to her with a “Dear John” letter. Her husband-to-be, Piers, says he can’t marry her because he’s in love with another woman.

Shaan is dejected, and her family is certain that there’s more than meets the eyes to this abrupt breakup. Rafe, ever the responsible fellow, is determined to help Shaan save face. He steps in and urges her to marry him. In shock, Shaan goes through the motions.

Rafe gives Shaan no time to think as she whisks her off to Hong Kong. As a way to help Shaan get over her turmoil, Rafe puts her secretarial skills to work, makes her go on shopping sprees, and socialize with his friends.

Why is Rafe so concerned about Shaan’s emotional state? Although Shaan remains unaware, it’s no secret to the reader: he’s suffering from a huge case of unrequited love.

It turns out Rafe fell for Shaan at first sight when they had a meet-cute after she bumped into him, causing a big paper-spill. Unfortunately, Rafe could not act on his feelings, as he had to deal with business matters. His younger brother, who was always jealous of Rafe, moved in to romance her. When Rafe returned, Shaan and Piers were a devoted couple.

But Shaan has no idea about Rafe’s adoration for her. She’s under the misapprehension that Rafe didn’t think a mixed-race girl of lower-class status was good enough for his brother. Sparks fly, but at the same time, Shaan can’t help but appreciate Rafe’s strong, capable demeanor. And once she takes notice of his good looks, things take a turn for the sensual.

Over time, Shaan finds herself falling for Rafe, but can she trust him? And what about Piers? Are her feelings for him gone forever?

Marriage on the Rebound,
Marriage on the Rebound, Michelle Reid, Harlequin, 2019 reissue

Final Analysis of Marriage On the Rebound

Michelle Reid, along with Lynne Graham and Miranda Lee, was one of the better authors to come out from the Harlequin Presents line in the early 1990s. Marriage on the Rebound is an example of her fine writing skills. Reid excels at creating vividly erotic scenes.

I enjoy the torn-between-two-brothers trope for some reason, even though I can’t say the same when it’s two sisters and one man. Rafe is a wonderful hero, stoic yet vulnerable. I found the plot to be well-executed.

Although I wasn’t sure Shaan was as in love with Rafe as he was with her. She is clearly on the rebound, as the book’s title says. Certainly, there’s an attraction there. Is she truly in love? It’s up to the reader to determine, but one thing’s for certain, Rafe and Shaan are hot for each other.

I’d rate Michelle Reid’s Marriage on the Rebound a solid 4, as it does make for a satisfying read.

4 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
4
Characters
4
Writing
4
Chemistry
4
Fun Factor
4.5
Cover
4
Overall: 4.1

Synopsis:

Jilted at the altar!

Shaan Saketa has heard the words before but never thought they would apply to her. Humiliated and alone, she stands facing a thousand guests when her boss, ruthless tycoon Rafe Danvers, makes a shocking proposal. Suddenly she finds herself married to the wrong man and whisked away on a honeymoon!

Rafe has always suspected that there was more to his mousy secretary than meets the eye, and he’s right. But as he indulges in exquisite nights little does he know that Shaan is wondering just how ruthless he really is and just how far he went to have her in his bed! 

MARRIAGE ON THE REBOUND by MICHELLE REID
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. 😂

the perfect couple

Category Romance: The Perfect Couple by Maura Seger

maura seger category romance
The Perfect Couple by Maura Seger
Rating: two-stars
Published: 1997
Illustrator: Unknown
Imprint or Line: Silhouette Intimate Moments #775
Published by: Silhouette
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 250
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Category Romance: The Perfect Couple by Maura Seger

SPOILER FREE REVIEW 😊

The Book

The Perfect Couple by Maura Seger, a Silhouette Intimate Moments series romance, was perfectly… boring. The setup was in this category romance was actually great. Where it faltered was in the execution.

The Plot

Shane and Brenna have been together as a supposedly perfect couple for some time now. But they are two disparate people with distinct wants and needs.

The story flips back through different times in Shane and Brenna’s relationship, the memorable points, the highs, and the lows.

However, the love story was treacly-sweet. If I liked that sort of white-bread perfection, I’d read Nicholas Sparks, the gag-master extraordinaire.

Despite their shared passion, Shane and Brenna’s intrinsic differences threaten their love. Brenna is a down-to-earth type who likes her life carefully planned out. She wants a long-term relationship but no children. Meanwhile, Shane lives on the edge and wants a family.

Then tragedy strikes when Shane’s plane crashes in the snowy mountains. He is presumed dead.

Brenna hopes for the best and looks back on their time together, wondering if they were too dissimilar to be together or if love is enough to overcome all their obstacles, even death.

Shane does his valiant best to get back to Brenna before dying. Even if he’s on death’s doorstep, he vows to see her one more time.

Wil Shane make it back to Brenna? And if he does, can they make it as a less-than-perfect couple?

Final Analysis of The Perfect Couple

Maura Seger attempted to create something unique with The Perfect Couple. This was a tale of a couple in two different and parallel stages of their relationship.

But the problems keeping them apart were mundane. There was never any doubt that Shane would make it back to Brenna.

In the end, you know that they would make compromises to make their union last. The Perfect Couple was an okay Silhouette romance, but nothing exceptional.

2 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
3
Characters
2.5
Writing
2.5
Chemistry
2.5
Fun Factor
1.5
Cover
3.5
Overall: 2.6

Synopsis

Will they ever have a chance to say “I love you”?

THEIR FUTURE HANGS IN THE BALANCE….First the argument ripped Shane Dutton and Brenna O’Hare apart. Now a plane crash has stranded Shane in the Alaskan wilderness. Miles apart, all they can do is wait. And hope. And remember…

THEIR PAST IS ALL THEY HAVE…Shane wanted children—Brenna didn’t. Brenna wanted a man who never took risks—Shane did. But they also wanted each other—so badly that their differences hadn’t mattered. Not at first…Reflecting on what went wrong—and right—Shane and Brenna reach the same conclusion. But will they ever get the chance to say “I love you”?

THE PERFECT COUPLE by MAURA SEGER