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too many husbands

Category Romance Review: Too Many Husbands by Elise Title

category romance
Too Many Husbands by Elise Title
Rating: four-half-stars
Published: 1990
Illustrator: Cinille
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Temptation #282
Published by: Harlequin
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 212
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Category Romance Review: Too Many Husbands by Elise Title

MILD SPOILERS 😉

A Christmas Romance Filled With Merriment

There are Christmas tales that inspire, ones that make us cry, and others that make us laugh with the joy of being alive. The Harlequin Temptation romance, Too Many Husbands by Elise Title, falls into the latter category. It’s a zany romp of a romance that could have been an old-fashioned screwball comedy on the live screen.

What does a woman do when she has not one, nor even two, but three husbands coming over for Christmas?

No, this is not a remake of the 1940 romantic comedy of the same name starring Fred MacMurray and Jean Arthur. Nor is it related to the similarly-styled film My Favorite Wife, which starred Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. Even so, you can see their influences, as Too Many Husbands is as silly and enjoyable as those films.

The Wacky Plot

At only 28, Casey Croyden’s a hotshot in the commercial real estate market. Due to her laser-beam focus on business, she has one failed marriage behind her. When the largest Japanese hotel chain owner decides to set his sights on the US market, Casey is just the one to make the deal.

The only impediment is that Toho, the owner of the hotel chains, is a “traditional” man. This means he might not accept entering into a deal spearheaded by a single woman whose focus is solely on her career. So Casey concocts a plan to have Toho and his wife Akiko stay with her in a huge rented house in a cozy New England setting with Casey and her husband. That is, an actor hired to play her husband.

Enter John Gallagher. He’s Casey’s new next-door neighbor. His unexpected arrival on her doorstep has Casey mistaking him for the actor she hired. She plants a big kiss on him, to John’s bewilderment, and acts as if they’re madly in love. John, to his benefit, plays along.

It Gets Even Wackier

Things take a wacky turn when David, the real actor, shows up. Caught in a trap of her own making, what’s Casey to do? What would any good actor do? Improvise! David is relegated to Casey’s brother, who’s also spending Christmas with them.

Remember, though, this is called Too Many Husbands, not One Husband Too Many. Who else turns up? Casey’s ex-husband, Wes. Casey and her ex aren’t on bad terms, but his appearance is bound to cause confusion. As a result, he’s given the role of a family friend.

To make the situation even more insane, John’s ex-wife, Brenda, appears. An ex-wife would muddy the waters more, so she’s presented as Casey’s best friend.

If you’re counting, that’s three husbands and two wives, not including Toho & Akiko. That makes for a winning combination as a full house beats out a three-of-a-kind hand!

It’s a full house indeed when Casey’s PA drops by to check on how the merriment is progressing. She’s shocked to find her normally cool-headed boss all distressed. What’s with this Christmas tomfoolery?

Somehow Casey should be out of her mind trying to broker a deal with Toho, all while trying to keep up appearances. John is her solid rock, and she can’t help but rely upon and be attracted to him. The pair are forced to share rooms and matching robes. “The Walls of Jericho” (a reference to the famous 1930’s comedic romance It Happened One Night) are raised to keep things platonic.

John is even described as looking like Clark Gable. (Although he looks nothing like him on the cover!) John remains a man of mystery, as we never learn much about him. We do know that he has no feelings for Brenda, their divorce was amicable, and he only has eyes for Casey.

Final Analysis of Too Many Husbands

Too Many Husbands is a hilarious romance. Nothing is meant to be taken seriously except the love story. As said, this book is a screwball comedy in the style of films from the 1930s and 1940s.

Have you ever seen the Frasier episode “The Two Mrs. Cranes,” where Daphne, wanting to fend off an old boyfriend, pretends to be married to Niles? Then Roz shows up and pretends to be Nile’s wife, “Maris,” who is “married” to Frasier. And the cop father pretends to be an astronaut? That was one of the funniest moments on television, and that’s what this book is like. One bit of slapstick silliness followed by another!

An epilogue wrapping up this story would have been the perfect bow to add to this gift of a Christmas romance. There are some loose ends, so it’s not perfection. But whether it’s Christmas or any time of year, Too Many Husbands is an exceptional, sidesplitting tale that will keep you smiling for a long time.

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

Synopsis

Naughty and Nice…

All Casey Croyden wanted for Christmas was a husband. Not a permanent one – just a man to play the part and help her impress the traditional Japanese businessman she was entertaining over the holidays. Sounded simple enough. Hire one from Actor’s Equity.

When John Gallagher arrived on her doorstep, the attraction between them was no act. And the debonair Mr Gallagher was no actor! Casey didn’t have the faintest idea who he was, but she had no time to trifle over details. Especially over the other minor glitch in her plan…what to do with him when the lights went out!

Too Many Husbands by ELISE TITLE
falling angel

Category Romance Review: Falling Angel by Anne Stuart

Falling Angel, Anne Stuart, Harlequin, 1993, Cover Artist TBD

American Romance #513

SPOILER FREE REVIEW 😊

3 1/2 Stars

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

Anne Stuart’s Falling Angel is yet another paranormal from the American Romance line. This is a holiday-themed romance that begins on Thanksgiving and culminates in a Christmas miracle.

Plot

Emerson Wyatt MacVey had lived only for the love of money. He was a corporate raider who thought nothing about ruining lives and impoverishing people, much less breaking women’s hearts—especially the heart of Carrie Alexander from the small town of Angel Falls, Minnesota. But living a life of depravity took its toll upon the blond, handsome Emerson, and he died of a heart attack at the young age of thirty-two.

Our story begins at the Pearly Gates, where the angels above try to decide how to judge Emerson. Instead of sending him to hell, where he will surely suffer torments for all eternity, he is given a second chance. He is allowed to return to Earth in a new form: the black-haired Gabriel Falcone on Thanksgiving Day. His job is to help people and undo the damage that Emerson had wrought. He has until Christmas to get things right.

Gabriel arrives in Angel Falls in a pickup truck and quickly finds himself trapped in a snowbank. Looking for help, he comes upon the home of Carrie Alexander, the very woman whose heart he’d broken as Emerson. She’s having Thanksgiving dinner with friends and invites the stranger in to join them. Carrie introduces “Gabriel” to her friends. Gabriel must learn to help the folks he comes upon and regain Carrie’s love. Carrie, for some reason, finds Gabriel similar to someone she knew in the past…could it be Emerson? But he and Gabriel are as different as night and day!

Will Gabriel be able to prove to Carrie in one month that he truly loves her? That he’s worthy of being loved?

Final Analysis of Falling Angel

Gabriel’s struggles to be a good man are the main highlight of this book. Carrie is a sweet–very sweet–character. She’s a bit too perfect, and the story here lays the saccharine factor on real thick. It is a Christmas story, however, so it’s seasonally appropriate. There’s a bit from both “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol” here.

Falling Angel was quite a change of pace from the Anne Stuart romances I’ve read, where her heroes were intolerable with their cruelty and contempt towards their heroines. In Falling Angel, Stuart takes that evil villain and forces him to be a good guy. I wouldn’t rank it as my favorite Christmas Romance, but it was entertaining enough to earn a positive review.

Read this during the Christmas Holiday season, and it will get you in a merry mood.

forever mine valentine crouse

Category Romance Review: Forever Mine, Valentine by Vicki Lewis Thompson

category romance
Forever Mine, Valentine by Vicki Lewis Thompson
Rating: four-half-stars
Published: February 1990
Illustrator: Daniel Crouse
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Temptation #288
Book Series: Mine Valentine Series #2
Published by: Harlequin
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 224
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Category Romance Review: Forever Mine, Valentine by Vicki Lewis Thompson

MILD SPOILERS ⚠

The Book

Vicki Lewis Thompson‘s Forever Mine, Valentine, Booke #2 in her “Mine Valentine” duology was my introduction to the now, sadly, defunct Harlequin Temptations line.

The Temptation imprint launched in North America in March 1984. These books were far more sensual in nature than Harlequin’s other series, the Romance, Supperromance, and Presents lines. Temptations featured main characters from all walks of life, not just the rich. They took place anywhere, from small towns to big cities to tropical destinations.

The setting of Forever Mine, Valentine, is mainly in a shopping mall in Colorado, where St. Valentine himself is a character in the guise of Charlie Hartmann, a sweet, seemingly doddering old man.

The Plot

Jill Amory left her old life behind–including a stable dentist boyfriend–to wander across the country on foot with just a backpack. She paints windows for businesses to earn a little money and has a deadline to travel through all the States. Jill doesn’t quite know what she wants in life, but she knows it’s not commitment.

Spencer Jegger owns a successful sporting goods store in the mall. He’s athletic, attractive, and friendly to all, including Charlie, who insists that Valentine’s Day miracles are in store for Spence.

Charlie tells a disbelieving Spence that he and Jill are destined to be lovers for life. While Spence doesn’t trust the old man’s predictions, he is interested in Jill.

Spence hires Jill to paint the windows of his store, and in the meantime, he and Jill form a playful relationship with sexual tension bursting through the surface.

Jill is hesitant about getting close to Spence. He’s an incredibly good-looking man and makes his interest in her known. Jill’s mind is not on settling down, not even for a short while for a love affair. She’s aiming to roam, to search for something, some purpose in life.

I didn’t understand Jill’s hesitancy towards commitment to Spence and was glad when she decided she knew where her true home was.

Charlie is a cute character, doing everything he can to get Spence and Jill together. The two are destined for each other, he fervently declares. Isn’t it Valentine’s season? Doesn’t Jill’s surname, “Amory,” has the word love in it?

That’s more than a mere coincidence. It’s a sign from the heavens above that they’re meant to be!

Charlie also has a cute flirtation with an elderly mall walker, a lady who wouldn’t mind cuddling up to the supposed St. Valentine.

A Brief Memory About Forever Mine, Valentine

Forever Mine, Valentine by Vicki Lewis Thompson left quite a mark on my impressionable younger self. This romance introduced my young mind to real love-making in books. I’d read sex scenes before in V.C. Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic and Stephen King’s Carrie. But they were brief and not as detailed as what I read in this one!

My goodness, I was such a dorky, nerdy bookworm back then. I passed this book around to my friends, spreading the salacious content around in school until one day, I got in trouble with my social studies teacher.

She took the book away from me in class one day and made a big scene, which was humiliating, although fortunately, that was the worst of it.

Well, except for the fact that it earned me a reputation for years as “that girl who reads the sex books.”

After a while, I learned not to care about what others thought and held my head high and proud whenever I held a clinch-cover romance, and someone teased me about it.

Never be ashamed of the genre!

Final Analysis of Forever Mine, Valentine

Forever Mine, Valentine was a sequel to Vicki Lewis Thompson’s 1989 Be Mine, Valentine, where Charlie had previously wielded Cupid’s bow and arrow to great success. Yes, the angels from above sent the old scamp down to spread love among mortals!

I loved that aspect of the Temptation line. There was so much variety; the books could have any crazy plot or simple, mundane ones. Temptations told all kinds of stories; the only qualifier was they had to be sexually steamy enough for a new era of romance readers.

This Temptation romance had a hefty dose of humor and lots of steamy love scenes making it an engaging Valentine’s Day treat.

Rating Report Card
Plot
4.5
Characters
4.5
Writing
4.5
Chemistry
5
Fun Factor
5
Cover
4.5
Overall: 4.7

Synopsis

Hartman strikes again!

Old Charlie Hartman was out of his mind! To insist that Spence Jegger would marry the first woman he saw on Valentine’s Day was pure madness, given Spence’s opinion of marriage. And an aging vagabond playing St. Valentine was a bit much for even a friend like Spence to accept. Until Charlie pointed out Spence’s “intended,” Jill Amory.

All Jill wanted, however, was to finish painting Valentine messages on the windows of Jegger Outfitters and be on her way. She had a deadline to meet…on the other side of the country. Now all of a sudden two crazy men – one of them the tempting Mr. Jegger himself – seemed determined to influence her schedule…and her heart.

FOREVER MINE, VALENTINE