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having faith

Category Romance Review: Having Faith by Barbara Delinsky

Having Faith, Barabra Delinsky, Harlequin, 1990, cover artist TBD

Harlequin Temptation #297

VERY MILD SPOILERS šŸ˜‰

2 1/2 stars

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

I don’t know the qualifications for getting the Harlequin Temptation Award of Excellence, but I wasn’t impressed with Barbara Delinsky’s Having Faith. I think the award was merely a way for editors to play favorites with authors without having to pay them more. That’s just me being cynical.

The Plot

Faith and Sawyer are divorce lawyers on opposite sides of the same nasty case. (Oh my, freaking divorce lawyers in a romance novel!) They’ve been good friends for many years. Both went through rough divorces, and they have a very amicable platonic relationship. For over 15 years, they’ve been friends with no sexual attraction. Then one night, they get rip-roaring drunk and have “oopsie” sex.

The pair reveal a lot more to each other than they ever have beforeā€”not only that they’re compatible in the bedroom but also that they’re both jerks. The two of them make fun of their exes: Sawyer complaining how his ex-wife’s boobs sagged, Faith, talking about how her husband was a dud in the sack. They drink some more and have more sex, then wake up with massive hangovers, in shock at what they’ve done.

After their night together, Sawyer decides it’s time to take it to the next level and be together. Faith, on the other hand, has intimacy issues. While she loves being friends with Sawyer, she’s not sure they’re compatible as a couple. And besides, there’s the drama of them representing opposing clients.

My Opinion

I didn’t buy the book’s initial premise as these aren’t kids. Sawyer says he’s a Vietnam vet, and since Delinsky wrote this in 1989-1990, the youngest he can be is in his late 30s. Or more likely early 40s. Faith is in her mid-thirties, at least. Maybe it’s just me, as the older I get, the less sexy it seems to be sloppy, black-out drunk. (I’m certainly no saint, but I haven’t done that in a couple of dogs’ ages). Your eyes get red, you slur your words, your face contorts all weird, and your body gets all wobbly. It’s not a seductive state to be in. Tipsy maybe, but three-sheets-to the wind, no.

It stretches the imagination that these two good-looking, successful people shared no prior sexual connection. They “platonically” flirted like fools with each other. They were BFFs who shared very intimate secrets. Then, “out-of-the-blue” one night of heavy drinking was enough to make them forget their boundaries. I get the whole friends-to-lovers trope, although it’s not one of my favorites. It’s hard to accept when the pair have been friends for almost two decades.

Oh, I’m sure there are plenty of love stories in the real world where people have been lifelong friends and suddenly fall in love, and that’s wonderful. But that story doesn’t make for a romance that I would gladly plunk down cash to buy unless there’s a funny twist on it, as in Lass Small’s Four Dollars and Fifty-One Cents.

Final Analysis of Having Faith

Eh, I always thought the friends-to-lovers film When Harry Met Sally was overrated. It’s not a trope I seek out. I like romances where love springs up unexpectedly. Personally, my best-liked romantic-comedy is Don’t Tell Her It’s Me, aka The Boyfriend School. Shelley Long plays a romance novelist who acts as a matchmaker for her nice but loser of a brother, Steve Guttenberg, with a reporter performed by the wonderful Jami Gertz.

As for this book, I thought it was undeserving of any particular acclaim, especially considering that Harlequin released it in May of 1990. Two other great Temptation novels were released that month: #299 Changing the Rules by Gina Wilkins and #300 Glenda Sanders’ Island Nights. In contrast, Having Faith was not anywhere as enjoyable. It’s not a terrible read, just nothing special.

carnival by jenna ryan

Category Romance Review: Carnival by Jenna Ryan

category romance

MILD SPOILERS šŸ˜‰

The Book

The setting of Carnival, a Harlequin Intrigue by Jenna Ryan, is the dark, dreary English moors. It’s a well-plotted romantic suspense book that will keep you on your toes.

The Plot

There’s been a violent murder committed. American attorney Lexie Hudson is hired to represent the accused killer, Diana. She is young and inexperienced at her job but idealistic and hardworking.

Then there’s Rick Matheson, a handsome Australian carnie worker. He is anxious to help Lexie seek out clues and also keep her out of harm’s way.

But Rick is no ordinary laborer. He’s a Scotland Yard detective employed undercover to uncover the real murderer. Rick is also there to find the missing treasure that’s the motive for the homicide.

Lexie and Rick work together, following a labyrinthine trail of clues as they try to solve this mysterious puzzle. In the meantime, they fall in love. The two share quite a sexy relationship. Rick was a nice, protective hero, and I really liked him.

The Ending

Carnival was one of those mysteries with a HUGE twist at the end because the person who committed the crime was the least likely person to execute it. No, it wasn’t the hero or heroine. Let’s just say:

***MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD***

If you’ve seen…

…the Edward Norton & Richard Gere film Primal Fear

…then you’ll be able to guess who the killer is.

***END SPOILERS***

Final Analysis of Carnival

Carnival by Jenna Ryan was a good thriller. It’s not super memorable. Still, it’s a gripping read that will keep you turning the pages to see who-dun-it.

3 Stars


Synopsis:

Nothing had prepared her for this

Thick fog seeping off the Devon moor. The brooding ruins of an alchemist’s castle. And the carnival itself, whose maze of tents and caravans hid the priceless Saxony jewels — and the identity of the carny who’d killed for them. Preparing her first criminal case, Lexie Hudson was glad of Australian roustabout Rick Matheson’s friendly face — frankly, the place spooked her.

But Lexie wasn’t too scared to pursue any and all leads, and that worried Rick, working undercover for Scotland Yard. His concern wasn’t entirely professional — he was greatly attracted to the young American lawyer, who wasn’t experienced enough to know that the gravest threat to her well-being was her burning desire to uncover the truth.

CARNIVAL by JENNA RYAN