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tangled hearts ross crouse

Category Romance Review: Tangled Hearts by JoAnn Ross

category romance
Tangled Hearts by JoAnn Ross
Rating: one-half-stars
Published: 1990
Illustrator: Daniel Crouse
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Temptation #333
Published by: Harlequin
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 224
Format: Paperback, eBook
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Category Romance Review: Tangled Hearts by JoAnn Ross

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

I have to give it to JoAnn Ross for her book Tangled Hearts, in that she tried to do something unique for a category romance novel. It’s just unfortunate for me that I didn’t like where she went with it.

The cover of this Halequin Temptation tells it all, pretty much. There’s a couple engaged in a sexy embrace while in the background is a black-and-white image of a lone man.

The Plot

Alanna Cantrell got married to Mitch Cantrell six years ago. Their whirlwind courtship was passionate and thrilling. But soon afterward, terrorists captured Mitch, a journalist, who was taken hostage and presumed killed.

Over the years Alanna has picked up the pieces of her life. By the time the story opens, she’s seeing Jonas Harte, a staid, steady, predictable kind of guy, certainly not the type to gallivant off to war-torn countries for the thrill of reporting a story. Just as Alanna and Jonas are about to announce their engagement, who should turn up from the dead, but Mitch, Alanna’s husband?

Through flashbacks we are shown how Mitch and Alanna met and see their brief time together before his disappearance. This was the first category romance I recall where the heroine slept with two different men (albeit one in the past and the other in the present).

Although shocked to see Mitch, Alanna’s happy he’s alive, but not necessarily happy he’s back in her life. Alanna claims she’s content with Jonas, an architect, as he’s not the type to ever do anything outrageous and dangerous. Back in her youth, a wild man like Mitch appealed to her. Now that she’s older, she needs a more solid type.

The Two Men

Jonas overhears Alanna complimenting him for his “boring’ qualities and seeks to prove that, in his own way, he’s just as adventurous and passionate as her ex. He is determined to win her over.

Mitch hopes desperately to resume his relationship with his wife, shocked that he’s returned to a much different woman than he remembered.

In the end, too many years have passed for Alanna and Mitch to bridge the gap. Alanna has changed, and so has Mitch, but they didn’t do it together, so they are too far apart to be together once more.

I felt so bad for Mitch, who spent years in captivity, with only his thoughts of Alanna to bring him hope and comfort. When he’s finally released and runs home to meet his wife, a woman who has been more of a fantasy in his mind than substantive reality, she’s moved on.

Final Analysis of Tangled Hearts

I just never warmed up to Jonas, who was sort of milquetoast for my tastes. He was a nice guy but dull. So I think Alanna got with the wrong hero. However, there was a sequel to this book, Tangled Lives, where Mitch met a woman more in tune with his lifestyle.

Again, I appreciated the love triangle aspect of Tangled Hearts, where the two men vying for the heroine’s love are both fundamentally decent people. But I’ve seen this done better in other romances and couldn’t help but feel that poor Mitch got a bad break. My “hated it” rating is a bit harsh, but this romance left a sour taste in my mouth, which I’ve never forgotten.

Rating Report Card
Plot
1
Characters
1
Writing
3
Chemistry
2
Fun Factor
0.5
Cover
2.5
Overall: 1.7

Synopsis

Torn between two lovers

On the eve of her engagement to Jonas Harte, Alanna Cantrell received a most unexpected present the return of her husband, Mitch Cantrell. Six years ago, the dashing foreign correspondent had swept her off her feet. Then Mitch was kidnapped by terrorists and presumed executed. Slowly and painfully Alanna had built a new life for herself.

Mitch wanted his life back… including his wife. Visions of his beautiful bride had sustained him through his captivity. He loved Alanna and swore not to lose her again.

Jonas loved the woman Alanna was now, but could he fight her memories? Jonas vowed to prove that he was the right man. He was determined to win Alanna again!

TANGLED HEARTS BY JOANN ROSS
moment of desire

Historical Book Review: Moment of Desire by Rachel Cosgrove Payes

historical romance review
Moment of Desire by Rachel Cosgrave Payes
Rating: five-stars
Published: 1978
Illustrator: Alan Reingold
Published by: Playboy Press
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Georgian Era Romance
Pages: 412
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Book Review: Moment of Desire by Rachel Cosgrove Payes

MILD SPOILERS 😉

The Book

Moment of Desire by Rachel Cosgrave Payes might be an aberration, both for her–I wasn’t fond of The Coach To Hell, the other Cosgrove Payes book I read–and the historical romance genre.

An Anti-Heroine?

This romp was published by Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Press. The company churned out bodice-ripping romances and schlocky sci-fi well into the ’70s and early ’80s, part of the second golden era of pulpy trash. And yes, this book is trashy.

Its heroine is so conniving, so cunning, and so single-minded in her pursuits of love and revenge that she made me love this book beyond all logical reason.

After a couple of decades of reading romance, I can’t say I’ve encountered too many heroines like Melusina Wilton, and that’s a damn shame.

The Set Up

Moment of Desire begins as 14-year-old Mellie Wilton, a buxom, blue-eyed blonde, tries to catch the eye of a much older nobleman at a violent bear-baiting.

She worries that her dress may not be low-cut enough to obtain his prurient interest. Unlike other heroines in Romancelandia, Mellie doesn’t bat an eyelid at the sight of animal cruelty. She indifferently laments the fact that she has no money to gamble. (Despite modern perspectives, that’s what bear baitings were for, after all!)

Mellie is youthfully self-centered and cares only for her pleasure.

She lives at the English court, as her mother is a lady-in-waiting to German King George’s wife.

Unfortunately for Mellie, her mother is a real lusty tramp, screwing around with married lords and pissing off their wives. Mellie’s mother shags the wrong woman’s husband, and not even the Queen will aid them.

So Mellie, her mother, and their loyal maid are thrown out into the streets.

The Tawdry Plot

Tragic events result in Mellie being forced to sell her body in a brothel. To her joy (and then horror), her first customer is her beloved crush, who, to her dismay, proves to be no hero.

For months Mellie plies her trade and learns how to entice a man beyond all reason. Meanwhile, Mellie dreams of one day finding her true hero: a man who will take her out of her life of whoredom, bring her to his mansion, drape her in fancy clothes and jewelry and love her faithfully.

And she does. But there is a catch…

Mellie is bought by her beloved john, not for himself, but to wed his openly gay son and be a broodmare for grandchildren. The young son despises Mellie and is accompanied everywhere by his handsome tutor, who’s not so keen on Mellie himself. Despite it all, Mellie sympathizes with her unwilling husband; she may be a tough bitch, but she’s not a heartless one.

What About the Hero?

This is a story of the young, sexy, voluptuous, blonde former hooker finding true love with her older sugar daddy. As a hero, Ritchie Jamison, Earl of Henning, isn’t as fun as Mellie, but he’s no jerk.

Despite a reputation for being a ladies’ man, he doesn’t sleep with anyone other than the heroine. He’s handsome, mature, and rich, although sort of dim and dull.

But because Mellie loves him and Mellie’s so great, I desperately wanted her to get her man!

Who Cares! The Heroine Is the Star of the Book

What is so terrific about Mellie?

Everything! She is who she is, complex yet straightforward. Those she loves are fiercely protected, but those who have wronged her better watch out!

She ends up in ridiculously harrowing situations and plots her way out of them, skillfully succeeding. Mellie is no swooning, foot-stomping, virginal heroine who waits for the hero to save the day.

She kills without flinching. She fights for her man, and the way Mellie plots revenge and crushes her adversaries in such a cruel and calculating manner, it’s such evil fun!

I don’t want to spoil the shock. I was astonished that a heroine could be so remorseless!

Final Analysis of Moment of Desire

Moment of Desire by Rachel Cosgrove Payes was full of amusing spectacles, like a glitzy old-time soap opera.

One quibble, though: the last few chapters are a bit anticlimactic as Mellie has disposed of all her enemies, and there is just one more hurdle to mount before she can find happiness. But if anyone deserves it, she does.

As in the words 1980’s English “pop tart” Samantha Fox: “Naughty girls need love too!”

Rating Report Card
Plot
5
Characters
5
Writing
4.5
Chemistry
4.5
Fun Factor
5
Cover
3.5
Overall: 4.6

Synopsis

Beautiful, spirited young Mellie Wilton thought the handsome Earl of Henning was going to rescue her from her degrading life in London and take her to his wealthy estate in Kent because he wanted her for his wife. When he tricked her into marrying his son so that he would have an heir to his fortune, Mellie became enraged. Tormented by a husband who could never love her, yet consumed with desire for the man who had deceived her, Mellie was filled with a burning need for fulfillment and revenge.

MOMENT OF DESIRE by RACHEL COSGROVE PAYES
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