Archives

rumor has it kalan

Category Romance Review: Rumor Has It by Celia Scott

rumor has it
Rumor Has It by Celia Scott
Rating: five-stars
Published: 1990
Illustrator: Frank Kalan
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Romance #3040
Published by: Harlequin, Mills & Boon
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 192
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Category Romance Review: Rumor Has It by Celia Scott

MILD SPOILERS 😉

The Book

Celia Scott‘s Rumor Has It is a modern-day Cinderella story where the fairy godmother is not an actual person, but a false rumor that transforms a frumpy heroine into a glamorous new woman who finds her prince.

Well, a British guy, anyway. That’s close enough.

The Plot

Part One

Lucinda is a sweet and slightly overweight librarian. Really she’s a voluptuous gal with curvy thighs, big boobs, and full hips. If this book was written today, she’d be described as thicc. Lucinda is clumsy, nearsighted, and plagued by insecurity.

She lives with her father, stepmother, and model-slim stepsisters. Poor Luce is constantly berated by her family members. In their eyes, she’s a hopeless mess.

Enter Leo, a dashing Englishman who has business with her father. The family conspires to set up Leo with Lucinda’s more glamorous, slim stepsister. However, Leo’s mind is just on work.

Circumstances lead to Leo and Lucinda being forced to share a one-bed motel during a storm, a typical sitcom/rom-com situation. Except for a brief glimpse at Leo’s butt cheeks, their night is wholly innocent.

Part Two

Soon after, Leo heads back to England. Gossip travels fast in Lucinda’s small hometown when Lucinda’s family learns the two spent a night together.

Of course, it was purely platonic (Thi but the townfolks’ shocked reaction makes Lucinda let people think what they want. They all wonder what did a hunk like Leo see in a frump like Lucinda?

Lucinda is now viewed by the townspeople in a different light as she blossoms with confidence. She gets a new hairdo. Instead of losing weight, she learns to dress appropriately for her shapely figure instead of what’s dictated as “fashionable.” (Just like Clinton and Stacy on What Not to Wear recommended! Remember that show?)

Leo returns to the States. He is shocked that everyone, including Lucinda’s angry father, thinks they had an affair.

He then turns the tables on Lucinda and “blackmails” her into pretending they’re a couple. But as they spend more time together, is it really pretending?

Final Analysis of Rumor Has It

Celia Scott’s Rumor Has It was a sweet, funny, and very adorable romance. There’s humor, a delicious hero, and a heroine who learns to love herself before love finds her.

It’s an old favorite. Arguably my most-favorite Harlequin Romance.

Rating Report Card
Plot
5
Characters
5
Writing
5
Chemistry
4
Fun Factor
5
Cover
4.5
Overall: 4.8

Synopsis

It wasn’t a lie, exactly

The rumors about the night Lucinda spent stranded on Marshall’s Island with the dashing Englishman, Leo Grosvenor, simply got out of hand.

Denials of an affair only brought knowing smiles, and Lucinda began to enjoy having people believe someone as glamorous as Leo found her desirable. As the rumors flourished, so did Lucinda.

Besides, she reasoned, Leo was safely home in England. She certainly never expected he would return to South Port and force her to live the lie.

Rumor Has It by Celia Scott
CATEGORIES: , , , , , , ,

***

hilltop tryst

Category Romance Review: Hilltop Tryst by Betty Neels

category romance
Hilltop Tryst by Betty Neels
Rating: three-stars
Published: 1990
Illustrator: Will Davies
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Romance #3071
Published by: Harlequin, Mills & Boon
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 192
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Category Romance Review: Hilltop Tryst by Betty Neels

VERY MILD SPOILERS 😉

The Book

Hilltop Tryst is another sweet romance by the famous Betty Neels featuring–as always–a fair-haired doctor as a hero, although this time he’s British, not Dutch. Nor is the heroine a nurse. She’s the daughter of a local successful veterinarian and works with Dad.

The Set-Up

The title Hilltop Tryst makes it sound steamier than this book really is. It’s a very clean, closed-door Harlequin Romance, so no trysting here!

One morning, Beatrice is taking a walk with her dog, and she meets the hero, Dr. Oliver Latimer, a heart surgeon, along the way. Oliver’s a nice, stolid type. There’s a bit of trouble with another dog, and Oliver arranges to bring the pup to Beatrice’s father for a check-up.

Everything lines up making it seem as if Oliver’s interested in Beatrice. He’s kind to her, spends time with her family, and–in typical Betty Neels fashion–doesn’t make a move! When Beatrice’s father has a heart attack, they’re fortunate that Dr. Latimer is there to save the day.

Enter our other man, a more debonair and seemingly sophisticated vet. Have you known many vets? Most of them are really nice folks! But hardly dashing when compared to heart surgeons.

Sunnyvale’s Top Vet

The Plot

Anyway, this OM takes a liking to Beatrice as she to him. Oliver’s nice and all, but he’s so placid and just there. Unfortunately, Beatrice discovers that the OM has his sights set on taking over her father’s thriving business. Cozying up to Beatrice was simply part of his plan.

Ashamed, her heart in tatters, Beatrice turns to Oliver, who is there to save the day. He proposes a phony relationship with Beatrice and offers to take her on a Continental-speaking tour.

Along the way, Beatrice realizes she wasn’t really in love with Sam Losco, sleazy pet doc. She was just blinded by his flash. As Beatrice gets to know more of Oliver on their trip, she realizes it’s he whom she prefers.

There’s some bit of dull action before the two meet up again on that same hilltop. They declare their love for each other. Again, no trysting, but promises of marriage and forever are made.

hilltop tryst

Final Analysis of Hilltop Tryst

This was a charming Betty Neels romance, but not really very exciting. I was reading another Harlequin Romance at the same time as this (a Jessica Steele I’ll review later) and found that a saucy read more to my liking.

To my (not) surprise, reviews on sites rate Hilltop Tryst much higher than the other one I enjoyed. Oh, well, I like a little drama in my romances, even the sweet ones.

Hilltop Tryst, I’d mark as good, not great. Oliver gets points for being an animal lover, but not enough to change my overall sentiments.

3 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
3
Characters
3
Writing
3
Chemistry
2
Fun Factor
3
Cover
4
Overall: 3

Synopsis

A Dependable Man

When Beatrice’s world turned upside down, Oliver Latimer was on hand to pick up the pieces. There was something solid and reassuring about Oliver. Beatrice felt safe with him. But he wasn’t an easy person to get to know.

Accompanying him on a lecture tour to Europe convinced Beatrice that there was more to Dr. Latimer than she’d imagined. In fact, she came to believe he was the only man she could truly love. But Oliver kept his feelings hidden. What did he really think of her

HILLTOP TRYST by BETTY NEELS

Category Romance Review: Game Plan by Rosemary Hammond

Game Plan, Rosemary Hammond, Harlequin, 1990, Will Davies cover art
Harlequin Romance #3026
3 1/2 Stars

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I cut my romance teeth on Harlequin Romances back in the early 1990s when I was a preteen. They taught me so much about the world! 😛 Rosemary Hammond’s Game Plan was the second adult contemporary romance I read. It was the first where the protagonists consummated their relationship. Sex in a book! Shocking! And, of course, the not-at-all sexy heroine was a virgin! This book is over 35 years old, so yes, it was very tame and innocent. But what did I know back then?

The Plot

Remember that Flock of Seagull’s song “I Ran”? The lyrics went: “I never thought I’d meet a girl like you/ Meet a girl like you/ with auburn hair and tawny eyes/The kind of eyes that hypnotize me through…”

Well, it was in Game Plan that I learned that very tall, voluptuous redheads who put their hair up in buns, dress in severe, drab suits, and wear glasses are seen as plain. Honestly, what kind of man would be attracted to that type? 😁

The story is this: a serious young college professor refuses to give a football star a passing grade and then clashes with his coach. There are plenty of fireworks as they butt heads and experience sexual tension.

For the heroine, Claire, the only men who are interested in her are mature males (read: old dudes in walkers). Plus there’s a dumb, hulking student who’s described looking like actor Bill Fagerbakke who played Dauber on the series “Coach” and voiced Patrick Star of “SpongeBob Square Pants”. Poor Claire, the pickings are so slim when you’re cursed with wretched plainness!

Then enter Jake, the tall (much, much taller than Claire), green-eyed, former athlete whose alpha maleness makes him one of the rare few who can see through the facade of glasses, bun, and plain suits and appreciate the hot, sexy woman beneath. He pursues her, and 3/4 of the way through the book, he thaws through her frosty demeanor.

Final Analysis of Game Plan

Today, after reading about 1,000-1,500 romances, Claire and Jake’s love story would probably not blow me over as it did then. Back then, it was a simple romance about an ultra-macho football coach and a shy, undersexed college professor who drove men wild, although she didn’t know it. I guess Game Plan was one of those right books at the right time. This was a pleasurable read to my easily impressionable mind.

(PS) The Will Davies cover is nice to look at, but did the hero resemble a young Michael Douglas or am I seeing things?

//z-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/onejs?MarketPlace=US&adInstanceId=1df0d7bf-e955-436f-9517-8138315e87dc

spell of mountains

Category Romance Review: Spell of the Mountains by Rosalie Henaghan

category romance
Spell of the Mountains by Rosalie Henaghan
Rating: four-stars
Published: 1989
Illustrator: TBD
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Romance #3027
Published by: Harlequin, Mills & Boon
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 192
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Category Romance Review: Spell of the Mountains by Rosalie Henaghan

TOTAL SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

Spell of the Mountains by Rosalie Henaghan, Harlequin Romance #3027, has the honor of being my first romance. Or at least, it was my first “adult” romance. I had read some Carolyn B. Cooney and the like, but never a love story about adults.

Back in January or February of 1990 a package of 4 books mysteriously arrived in the mail. Whoever ordered them I never learned. My mom gave them to me since I was a bookworm and read everything from the back of the cereal box at breakfast to the labels on

After I read them, my love for romance was born! I signed up for a monthly subscription to Harlequins Romances. A few months later, I moved on to Temptations, and any other series I could get my hands on.

The Plot

I remember being entranced by the “exotic” location of Christchurch, New Zealand. (This was long before Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films made the land of Kiwis a hipster vacation destination.)

The heroine, Sophie, and her father owned a farmstead that was deeply in debt. Jonathon, the hero, was an egotistical, big-shot millionaire who wanted to build on their land.

Fireworks ensued.

Eventually, the two come to an arrangement that allowed Jonathon to buy up the land and build real estate on the property. He and Sophie drew ever closer, despite their differences.

As I was a romance “virgin” when I read this, I LOVED the book. It was so thrilling, in such an innocent way.

The scene at the end when Sophie admitted her love for Jonathan after he let his true feelings be revealed is when my 12-year-old self became addicted to the genre for the rest life.

Final Analysis of Spell of the Mountains

If I read Spell of the Mountains today, I admit it wouldn’t be as amazed. It’s a rather simple, by-the-numbers romance. There’s the arrogant hero, defiant heroine, a tug-and-pull relationship of “I hate you” versus “I’m attracted to you” and then a true love declaration at the end.

It was also quite chaste. The main characters did not have sex, instead sharing only passionate kisses.

But since Spell of the Mountains by Rosalie Henaghan was my first romance, it will always have a special place in my heart!

Rating Report Card
Plot
3.5
Characters
3.5
Writing
3.5
Chemistry
4
Fun Factor
4.5
Cover
4.5
Overall: 3.9

Synopsis:

I’d sooner kiss a snake than you!”

When Sophie had angrily insulted New Zealand hotelier Jon Roberts, she’d never expected him to respond with a wager. If he managed to wangle her cherished homestead motel away from her, he’d announced, he would claim a kiss as his prize…

Sophie had no intention of losing out to arrogant Jon! Until a fateful mountain snowstorm trapped them both together — and all her best laid plans went awry…

In the wintry wonderland of the mountains, Sophie — the icy snow queen — began to melt with Jon’s charms. But chilling winds from their past still blew between them… .”

Spell of the Mountains by Rosalie Henaghan
palace-of-the-peacock-violet-winspear-jh

Vintage Romance Review: Palace of the Peacocks by Violet Winspear

BOOK REVIEW vintage
Palace of the Peacocks by Violet Winspear
Rating: three-half-stars
Published: 1969
Illustrator: J h
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Romance #1318
Published by: Harlequin, Mills & Boon
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance, Vintage Romance
Pages: 188
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Vintage Romance Review: Palace of the Peacocks by Violet Winspear

The Book

Palace of the Peacocks may be a bit of an ultra-vintage oldie, as it was published in 1969, not post-1972. However, I’m running short on reviews for this weekend. Plus, this book is a Violet Winspear Harlequin Romance–an author whose works I enjoy.

This one was a nice read, sweet but filled with enough drama to add some zing.

palace of the peacocks

The Plot

In Winspear’s Palace of the Peacocks, the heroine Temple Lane is typical of many of her vintage romance sisters. She is orphaned, diligent, faithful, and unworldly.

She flies to Indonesia to meet up with her long-time fiancé, but her life falls into shambles after discovering his affair with a local girl. Without any funds to get back home, she’s desperate to find employment. Temple disguises herself as a boy to gain passage on a ship. She’s bunked with a stoic, one-eyed Dutchman named Ryk van Helden. (Winspear had a thing for maiming heroes, didn’t she? Blinding them, cutting off their limbs, etc.)

Eventually, Temple’s true identity is revealed. When Ryk hears of her plight, he offers Temple employment, transcribing old journals in his beautiful, enchanting jungle palace.

Ryk also provides Temple with room, board, and a female servant. The maid makes no bones about her resentment of Temple, as she has designs on Ryk herself.

As the weeks pass, Temple slowly falls under the combined spell of the romantic tale she’s working on and her seductive surroundings.

Not to mention, there is her cold yet dangerously attractive employer. Ryk treats Temple dismissively, acting superior to her in every way. Temple, though is no meek girl and meets his seeming disdain head-on with lots of spirit.

Final Analysis of Palace of the Peacocks

I really enjoyed Palace of the Peacocks, despite it containing my big romance pet peeve of the hero-in-mourning-for-his-dead-lover. Fortunately, Winspear doesn’t ever go into Ryk’s head; he’s written enigmatically until the very end.

That’s what I like: a man of mystery, albeit one the reader knows, deep down, he’s falling hard for his heroine—none of this psycho-analyzing the hero’s thoughts every two pages.

And, of course, there’s the extraordinary long-awaited declaration of love in the end!

Palace of the Peacocks is a satisfying romance with a jealous other woman, a charming locale, a heroine who gives as good as she gets, and a seemingly-aloof hero who falls madly for her.

3.75 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
4
Characters
4
Writing
4
Chemistry
2.5
Fun Factor
3.5
Cover
4
Overall: 3.7

Synopsis

Temple Lane had gone out to the Java Seas to marry her fiance, but all her plans fell through when she found someone else had taken her place. In her desperate endeavours to get away from the situation, she met the Dutchman Ryk van Helden -and promptly found she had jumped out of the frying pan into the fire! It was difficult enough being the only white girl for miles around – but the greater problem was how to cope with what she soon recognised as the devastating attraction of her new employer. True, he seemed to look on her as just another of the waifs and strays he was so fond of collecting – and Temple knew he had never forgotten the girl he had once loved, and lost -but nevertheless, he was a man of magnetic appeal, and even if he could remain impervious to the situation, could Temple?

PALACE OF THE PEACOCKS by VIOLET WINSPEAR