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56 of 69 people found the following review helpful
This doesn't belong in the Romance genre
on November 14, 2000
It goes against all of my instincts to give any Jude Devereaux book a less-than-stellar review, but I just can't recommend this book for the purpose it pretends to have.
This is not a romantic book, at least not in the traditional man-woman way. The storyline is enjoyable enough - an intelligent, attractive woman who is clearly ahead of her time meets a cranky, handsome man, who is clearly behind the times. As a story of personal growth, the book works. Temperence learns that in order to give, you have to take a little; James learns...well, I'm really not sure what James learned. He seems strangely dishonorable, disdainful and a whole lot of other "dis"-es I can't come up with right now. This is a book about Temperance and her journey, and James is almost an afterthought, more of a plot device to move Temperance along than anything else. I've rarely read a book where I wasn't remotely interested in the main male character, but this has the dubious distinction of being the most memorable example of that so far.
I could count on one hand the romantic or intimate scenes between the two characters, and even those felt stilted and awkward. Temperence and James would make good friends (or heaven forbid, brother and sister), but lovers? Not that I could see. After reading the book twice, I still don't have a clue why either of them are supposedly attracted to the other. There was no build-up, no feeling that these two had any passion for each other. When they do get together, it's forgettable (apparently for them too), uncomfortable and unsettling and James is insulting. It just felt wrong, for reasons I can't articulate.
I agree wholeheartedly with the reviewer who felt the ending was jarring and unsatisfying - none of the characters act remotely like they did throughout the rest of the book. I won't spoil it, but when I saw the date written on the last chapter, I actually said, "HUH?" out loud. I still don't get it, and plan on dumping this book off at the nearest reseller to make sure I don't read it again by mistake.
Buy this book if you are interested in one woman's experience in the early days of the women's equality movement, but save your money if you are looking for a passionate or tender romance with characters you know are destined to be together. You won't find it here.