Tag Archives: heroine in pursuit

hard to get mortimer

Category Romance Review: Hard To Get by Carole Mortimer


He seemed completely immune to her
Rich girl Lara Schofield had never met a man she couldn’t instantly captivate, and in fact she’d made a hobby of collecting hearts and breaking them while she remained personally uninvolved.

Until she encountered Jordan Sinclair. He was devastating, everything a woman could ask for. And he was utterly indifferent to Lara.

But what Lara wanted, Lara got, and she was determined to have Jordan Sinclair. Even if it meant playing with the potent fire of his passion, and playing with Jordan was very dangerous indeed….


Reviewed by Introvert Reader


The Book

Oh boy, when I read “the heroine in pursuit plot” synopsis for this Harlequin Presents, was I ever excited to read it. Heroines who are determined to get their men are my favorite kinds! Alas, when the object of said pursuit is a mean arsehole, the chase isn’t worth it. Still, Hard to Get by Carole Mortimer was a wild, emotional whirlwind. With a more charismatic hero, I could have loved this as opposed to liking it.

As with so many Presents, this is an utter trainwreck, so you can’t look away.

The Characters

Lara Sinclair, our heroine, is beautiful, rich, vain, and spoiled–the very opposite of a heroine. She’s a daddy’s little girl type. Lara’s used to getting what she wants with ease. All the boys want her. She flirts and trifles with their hearts, never giving what she knows is so easy to get.

At a party, she sees the hero, Jordan Sinclair, and decides she wants him as another toy to play with. She approaches him with supreme confidence just to be stunned with brutal dismissal.

The game is on, and Lara is more determined than ever to have him.

The Plot

Lara chases after Jordan only to be rebuffed at every turn. Even so, Jordan shows up in her life at parties and spends time with her wealthy father getting all buddy-buddy.

Lara overplays her hand with an unhinged guy who then attempts to rape her and Jordan saves her. He shows contempt for Lara, blaming her for what almost occurred.

Then Jordan does a 180 and decides he’s the man for her. But now she doesn’t want anything to do with him, so Jordan convinces Daddy-dear that it would be in Lara’s best interest to do so.

This is all a rather contrived way to get there, but the pair do go out. Before anything serious can occur, Jordan goes off on a business trip. However, it seems as if Jordan is still playing hard to get, as Lara hears he’s back in town, yet he hasn’t contacted her.

So Lara goes on a revenge date with the guy who previously tried to rape her, only to have Jordan show up and find her flirting like a drunken Scarlett O’Hara at a barbeque. So Harlequin’s logic entails that Jordan picks her up like a white knight and brings her to his home, before violating her. Jordan is horrified to find she’s a virgin. Lara is horrified, too, of course! It was rape, no euphemistic forced seduction here.

Despite this, when Jordan proposes Lara accepts–to her father’s delight. As a wedding present, Lara’s company shares will be transferred to Jordan. Lara and Jordan get married and embark on a loveless distant union. Too late, Lara discovers her love for Jordan. She also realizes she’s pregnant. Wisely, she doesn’t tell her husband, because Jordan reveals that the reason he married her was for revenge. His revelations as to who and why he’s seeking vengeance stun Lara, and she agrees to a divorce.

But you know there’s got to be a happy ending, in some over-the-top melodramatic way! There is, and these two insane people will find their way together in an unhealthy romance that will last a lifetime.

Final Analysis of Hard To Get

Carole Mortimer can make me enjoy some really wacky plots. Unfortunately, Jordan was too cold, which I usually enjoy as a trait in a hero. But he was also very cruel. There was little time to understand his motivations until the big revelation. And then it was too little, too late. I never warmed up to him.

Lara, on the other hand, grew as a character from a spoilt rich princess to a young woman of self-regard and control. I liked her and wished she got a better man.

Hard to Get was a heck of a ride, but it felt disjointed and uneven at times. The tug and pull of their relationship could give a reader whiplash. The so-called hero deserved an anvil to the head.

Still, it hits so many crazy buttons, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it.

3.62 Stars

Paradise and More

Historical Romance Review: Paradise and More by Shirl Henke

historical romance review
Paradise and More by Shirl Henke
Rating: four-stars
Published: 1991
Illustrator: Pino
Book Series: House of Torres #1
Published by: Dorchester, Leisure
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper
Pages: 443
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonThriftBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

Historical Romance Review: Paradise and More by Shirl Henke


The Book and the Cover

Paradise and More by Shirl Henke is memorable to me for having one of the most eye-catching covers in romance. A dazzling beauty by Pino Daeni, it features a fully naked couple in a glorious clinch, their nudity covered by some strategically placed flowers and the book’s title.

Lamentably, I have a later reissue where their nakedness is hidden behind a respectable-looking stepback. Why would anyone want to hide that stunning beauty?

As for the book itself? I was conflicted. It’s both excellent at times and frustrating at others.

The Old World

A swashbuckling historical, Paradise and More is the first entry in the House of Torres duo. This romance is in late 1400s Spain. This is a seminal time in history with Columbus’ exploration into the “New World.” This was months after the expulsion of Jews from Spain. The Catholic Monarchs of Castile and Aragon had just reconquered the Iberian Peninsula from the Muslims who had entered Hispania 700 years prior.

Lady Magdalena Luisa Valdes–for some unfathomable reason–falls madly in love at first sight with Aaron “Diego” Torres, the son of a wealthy converso family (a Jewish family that converted to Catholicism).

Aaron is arrogant and contemptuous of Magdalena, a wonderful character with the kind of fortitude that makes a heroine legendary. Beautiful and kind-hearted, Magdalena has to navigate court intrigues to avoid the eyes of the Reyes Católicos. This is to say, the King’s wandering eyes and the Queen’s jealous ones.

To flee from prejudice and persecution, Aaron decides to travel the uncharted seas with Columbus as his second-in-command, to search for new lands. Meanwhile, Magdalena befriends Aaron’s family, becoming like a second daughter to them.

After a successful conquest, Aaron returns to find Magdalena living in his parents’ household. He takes advantage of her crush on him and forces himself upon her. After ravishing her, he leaves to return to the newfound colonies. The Torres family demands honor and avow their wayward son must marry their darling Magdalena.

Destiny has tragedy in store for the House of Torres, as they are accused of heresy by the Inquisition and then executed.

The New World

Alone in the world, Magdalena has but one mission in her life: to be with the man she loves. She follows Aaron across the ocean to Columbus’ settlement in Hispaniola. Despite his contemptible behavior towards her, Magdalena still wants to marry Aaron.

However, when Magdalena arrives, she finds Aaron already has a mistress, the Native Princess, Aliyah. What’s more, Aliyah is pregnant with Aaron’s child.

As a lone European woman in Hispaniola, Magdalena draws much attention from men, including the brothers of Columbus. Aaron cannot deny the allure she holds. And though he will never be forced to do anything against his will, Aaron knows his family’s final wishes were for him to marry Magdalena.

The tropical backdrop makes an appropriate setting for their heated attraction. Their passion for each other grows to a climax. After they marry, Aaron and Magdalena find that their adventures together are just beginning. Aaron’s spurned mistress connives with the villains to destroy him in every way she can. Aaron and Magdalena must work together to overcome even more obstacles.

Final Analysis of Paradise and More

I loved that Paradise and More took us to late 15th-century Spain, an era I can’t get enough of. Columbus’ expedition into the Americas was an unusual backdrop for a romance. Shirl Henke did a great job capturing the era, even though her protagonists were sometimes a bit too modern in their thinking.

This epic, late-era bodice ripper is a tumultuous read that features a loveable, resilient heroine, but the hero is a bit of a jerk and not in a good way. Although I must say, the love scenes were…oh my! ¡Muy caliente!

The first half of this book was so good and filled with action: bloody sword fights, the hero’s entire family being killed, forced seduction, and the spanning of years & continents. Although, when Magdalena got to Hispanola, the pace slowed down a bit.

Aaron was a douche canoe. If not for the machinations of the scorned “other-woman,” Aliyah, the last half would have dragged needlessly.

All in all, I found Paradise and More to be a mostly diverting historical romance that took both history and romance seriously. This had a great cover, a likable heroine, and a unique setting. It needed a to-die-for hero to elevate it to a spectacular level.

For those curious to continue the story, the love lives of Aaron’s two sons are told in the sequel, Return to Paradise.

4 Stars

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 4.2


Second in command to Cristobal Colon, Aaron sets sail for the Indies seeking adventure in the new world and fleeing persecution in the old. Caught between King Fernando’s desire and Queen Ysabel’s jealousy, Magdalena follows the man she has always loved to the ends of the known world and beyond. Drawn together across religious barriers and storm-tossed oceans, they discover a lush paradise fraught with danger and desire.

the waterfalls on the moon

Category Romance Review: The Waterfalls of the Moon by Anne Mather

Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


The Spoiled Anti-Heroine

In Anne Mather‘s The Waterfalls of the Moon (I love the old Harlequin Presents titles), the teenage heroine is in pursuit of a much older man, but the hero’s not taking the San-Quentin tail so easily.

I can’t say many of Anne Mather’s works number among my all-time favorites, but, for the most part, I had a good time reading them. She could make unlikeable heroines that were somehow fascinating, and Ruth is one of them. She’s a spoiled teen, rich beyond reason, bored, and chases after Patrick with a cold calculation.

All you have to do is change record players to iPhones (although record players have made a huge comeback) and there’s no difference between this shallow youth’s mega-rich lifestyle and that of the pampered princesses of Bravo & MTV reality TV. She parties, she lunches, she shops, she dates…casually. As this is a 1970’s era Harlequin, Ruth is not sexually experienced.

She is, however, quite cunning, and when circumstances lead to Patrick getting black-out drunk they’re together, she takes advantage of the situation to suit her desires.

The Plot

Patrick is in England temporarily, and the last thing he needs is a woman, let alone a privileged girl nearly two decades younger, whose Daddy will buy her whatever she wants, including him.

Regardless, Patrick’s body wants what his head does not, and so a battle rages within him: “I want you, I don’t want you, I want you, I don’t want you… I’m stalking you & now I have to get pass-out drunk because I am so jealous thinking about you with other men!”

And Ruth thinks: “I love him! He passed out in my bed & thinks we did it! Of course, we didn’t, but I won’t tell him the truth until it’s too late.”

So Ruth manipulates Patrick into thinking that they spent a drunken night together. Worse, to come, she makes him believe she’s pregnant.

Patrick, being the old-fashioned type, agrees to marry Ruth. However, he’s got work in Venezuela, so that’s where Ruth is to live for the next several months. One thing about Ruth is that she’s no wishy-washy person; she knows her mind, as devious as it is. It’s in for a penny, in for a pound with her.

So Ruth goes to Venezuela, into the depths of the jungles, to be with her man. Then he finds out the shocking truth, and our love story unfolds from there.

Final Analysis of Waterfalls of the Moon

I enjoy a good heroine-in-pursuit romance, and The Waterfalls of the Moon was mostly that. I wish there were more happy interactions between Ruth and Patrick, but the plot setup took a bit of time in this short category romance. Still, if you’re looking for a vintage romance where the heroine isn’t the usual epitome of moral perfection, this one has a tangy bite to it.

3.5 Stars

the magic of you

Historical Romance Review: The Magic of You by Johanna Lindsey

historical romance review
The Magic of You by Johanna Lindsey
Rating: five-stars
Published: 1994
Illustrator: Elaine Duillo
Book Series: Malory & Anderson #4
Published by: Avon
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Era Romance
Pages: 406
Format: Audiobook, eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonThriftBooksAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

Historical Romance Review: The Magic of You by Johanna Lindsey


The Magic of You and No Time for Romance

By the time Johanna Lindsey‘s The Magic of You was published by Avon in June 1993, I was a rising Junior in high school.

From 7th to 9th grade, I had been obsessed with romance novels, reading everything from Lady Chatterley’s Lover to category romances to thick, door-stopper historical epics.

So at that time, I was not as fanatical about reading for fun due to a full course load at school, with no lunch period and little time for extra-extracurricular activities.

On the day I came upon that blue Elaine Duillo and Fabio step-back paperback at a Waldenbooks in the local mall, I squealed in delight. It was a sequel to one of my favorite Lindsey books Gentle Rogue.

I excitedly plunked down $5.99 plus tax (oh my, how expensive books had gotten; only 3 years earlier, a mass-market paperback could go as low as $4) and hurried home to read it.

To this day, The Magic of You remains the only book I have ever read and finished TWICE in one day.

the magic of you
The Magic of You

The Heroine in Pursuit

The heroine-in-pursuit plot seems like such an unusual trope in historicals. If it isn’t, it’s at least rare in the romance novels I read.

More often, it’s the hero pursuing the heroine, if not out of love, because he wants her body.

Here, Amy wants it all from Warren: his body, his love, and his laughter.

A free-spirited, confident heroine in pursuit of an uptight, stuffed-shirt hero who tries his best to resist her is my absolute favorite trope. I don’t think I’ve seen it done better in any book than this one.

Lady Amy Malory is female, but that doesn’t mean she’s distinct from her libidinous Malory uncles. And she’s much more so than flirtatious cousin Regina.

Amy might be a 17-year-old virgin, but she knows what she wants. That would be Warren Anderson, the brother of her uncle’s James wife. The dour American is much older at age than her at (I think) 36.

Yes, there’s a considerable age gap between the two, but it doesn’t make any difference in The Magic of You.

Amy is strong-willed, determined, witty, and utterly charming.

Warren is the complete opposite: a stick-in-the-mud type who was deeply hurt in the past by the woman he loved. Now the only woman he has any feelings of consideration for is his sister, Georgina, and his newborn niece, Jacqueline.

“I want you, Warren Anderson.”

The Magic of You

The Hero in Flight

Warren hates the Malory family. In particular, his brother-in-law, James.

When James Malory compromised his sister, Georgina, it took all five burly Anderson brothers to take turns beating James into a pulp to force him to marry her. James has never forgotten that.

Nor have the Andersons forgotten that James was a pirate who plundered some Anderson family ships. Not to mention that he’s a blasted Englishman, while the Anderson are American.

The blood feud runs strong between the two families, despite George and James’s marriage.

So it’s no surprise that Amy’s uncles are vehemently opposed to any union between Warren and Amy. But Amy doesn’t care. She will use all her feminine wiles, all her charm, all the magic of her love to transform bitter Warren into a happy man.

And because she’s a Malory, Warren has met his match.

Final Analysis of The Magic of You

The Magic of You is an imperfect book, I know. It’s not one of Johanna Lindsey’s most well-written historical romance novels.

Doesn’t matter. I loved this one. Loved, loved, loved it.

5 Stars

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 4.8


As wild and reckless as the most incorrigible of her male cousins, Amy Malory has reached a marriageable age and has set her sights on a most inappropriate mate: the straight-laced American ship captain who once nearly had her Uncle James hung hanged for piracy.

Warren Anderson is shocked by the brazen advances of his despised enemy’s beautiful niece. Though determined to resist her, he burns for the enchanting British minx. And an impassioned heart implores him to surrender to a love that could stoke the smoldering fires of a family feud into a dangerous, all consuming blaze