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HP discussion. Good bad and inbetween.

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Posted on Mar 25, 2011 7:03:42 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 25, 2011 7:04:43 AM PDT
Lives2Read says:
Some of the earlier Lindsay Armstrong books were also very angsty. Has anyone read "Finding Out" by her? I've been trying to lay my hands on that book for the longest time, with no luck. Detailed spoilers will be appreciated. :-)

Posted on Mar 25, 2011 7:55:25 AM PDT
I think Lindsay Armstrong is one of a very few HP authors who writes a story over a long period of time like a year or two. Most have the H and h fall in love, resolve misunderstanding, and say "I love yous" within 3-6 months.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2011 10:42:07 PM PDT
Finding Out by Lindsay Armstrong

The hero is a real basket case and is very emotionally and mentally cruel to the heroine though most of the book. MichiganGirl(?) is the poster who recommended this book originally, so her opinion would be welcome as well.

So, Lin becomes a model at 17 to support her mom for a change. Mom did slave labor for years and Lin couldn't stand it anymore. She makes enough to get mom a house but then is stuck in modeling because now there are: house payments. She's tired of it all, especially fending off the men who think she's a slut.

The hero is David. Lin is dating his younger bro and David assumes she's after the money. In reality, they're just good friends. Until suddenly the bro proposes. She gently turns him down and he leaves, gets killed on the highway at 100 mph.

Enter David. He accuses her of causing the death and blackmails her into marriage as a punishment. Sure enough her modeling jobs dwindled just as he had threatened and she couldn't deal with mom out on the street. Lin has a breakdown on their first anniversary, so he takes her on a trip on advice of the doctor.

In the different environment, he's able to see she isn't what he thought and they communicate a little. He confesses that his bro hit an oil slick; it wasn't suicide. If I were one to get violent, that would have been it. Obviously he knew for the best part of a year that it was an accident, but he still heaped the guilt onto Lin. When she asks why he didn't let her go then, he says he wanted to punish her.

For a year, he hasn't touched her, has only condemned and criticized and shoved money down her throat in retaliation for being a gold digger. Sigh...

Gets worse. Takes her to a resort and starts the seduction. He always acted as though she was too dirty to touch, but he's been attracted all along. He almost gets her there, but when she freezes up and protests, he calls her a bad name and forces her. I could almost have forgiven him if he'd let her go now that he was so totally wrong about her morals and lifestyle.

No. He claims to be intrigued, has to get to know her better, so onward with the seduction. It's his duty now to make sure he can make it really great for her to make up for his bad behavior. It does get better and they seem to have a relationship starting to grow.

Until they get home. After a few months, she begins to feel like a mistress, being visited at the guy's convenience. He's always working or off on a trip. Nothing between them but the bedroom. At last she says something about it with less than stellar results. She tells him she loves him. Asks him does he love her too? He shakes his head sadly and tells her he's sorry. She leaves the next day and he handles the divorce, etc.

Eighteen months or so later, she spots him at a race track. He starts to fight his way through the crowd and she runs. All this time, she thought she was recovered, that she was getting on with her life. When she gets home, she's completely shattered.

Of course, he shows up. Tells her about the affair he had with his stepmom. How it affected him. So I could see maybe he might have had some reservation about older man/younger woman. But the reason for the breakup was that he didn't want to be a puppet like his dad. So after they returned from their trip, he tried to keep her, but at a distance.

What finally was a little helpful was that he had been doing a lot of soul searching and come to the conclusion that he bypassed the guilt over what he did to his father by changing it into this negative attitude toward women. I had kind of though maybe that was the case earlier in the book, when they had the showdown. I asked myself how he could have done that and stilled looked his father in the eye. Of course, but covering it up and changing it in his mind.

Part of me wanted her to give him a black eye and help him to the door, but they were so obviously miserable without each other and now really communicating, that they have a good a chance as anyone. Still worried me that she had a small resemblance to his stepmom.

Posted on Mar 26, 2011 12:15:51 AM PDT
boogenhagen says:
Re Finding Out--The H David is probably one of the most psychologically messed up HP H's ever. He is really unlikeable, first the whole I am going to punish you for being a gold digger thing, then when she really has a breakdown and needs to be away from him, he takes her on vacation with him, forces sex on her and then continues to have sex with her telling her it is for her own good so she can learn to like it. They actually have several weeks of sex before she has a climactic moment and by that time she has fallen in love with him. He then takes her back to his childhood home which he has never allowed to be changed since his step mama decorated it, and treats her like a sex toy. She tries really hard to break down his barriers, tells him she loves him and he dumps her.

They are divorced for a year and a half before he comes to see her and she is so miserable she is crying her heart out. He then explains about the affair with his step mom, whom he did not even like, and how she told his father about the affair. He then alludes to the fact that to him she initially reminded him of his stepmother and thinks maybe this is why he was so sadistic to her. Strangely enough even though I thoroughly dislike David by this point, Lindsay Armstrong manages to write the big confession scene so that you actually feel almost sorry for David.

Lin the h is such a great contrast to David, she tries so hard to fight his impressions of her, she is continually snubbed by his circle of friends, yet fights the social humiliation and when he dumps her, she goes out and tries to rebuild her life. She isn't whiny or self pitying, she just tries to keep going but she is so psychotically in love with him, she just really loves and needs him and that angst is well written.

Lindsay Armstrong takes the hated blackmail/forced seduction trope with a completely unlikeable H who needs either a lobotomy or electric shock therapy and really makes it work. I totally believed the HEA, and although it is a WTF relationship, they really do love each other and it shows in the writing. Be warned if you read this book it is angst fest galore but I did like it, I just wished Lin would have gotten a better man to love.

Posted on Mar 26, 2011 2:18:05 PM PDT
Michigangirl says:
I liked the book also. Half the appeal was it was all the old trope bad HP stereotypes. The hero hates the heroine for being a gold digging slut. He punishes her by marrying her, not sleeping with her and giving her the social standing she supposedly wants along with all the money she wants to spend. He could blackmail me anytime. Stay at my house, no no no, I don't want anything from you except that you should host my parties, attend some with me and just spend all the money you want. Awesomeness.

Anyway, heroine finally has a breakdown because the hero has treated her like crap and now on their anniversary party, he's invited his mistress who happens to be another model who hates her guts. She has a breakdown..they call it a breakdown but I call it good old fashioned depression. Hero feels a little guilty and decides that she needs a holiday away from it all except him, because heaven forbid he was the cause of it. I think he brings new meaning to TSTL. They start working out their understandings but NO he wants nothing more personal to do with her and when she tells him she loves him they basically get a divorce. The heroine goes through the logical depression shutting herself off from the world etc. And then she picks herself up, dusts herself off and starts living again. When she gives him that smile at the tracks, the whole book became worth it. I loved that. I actually liked the heroine a lot and really enjoyed the kind of horribleness of the book.

This is one of those, I don't know why I love it as much as I do books. Because when I found out the hero slept with his step mother, that should have ruined it. His stepmother that he hated, cheating with her on his father that he loved. Yuck. But then again, we already knew he was stupid, so it certainly wasn't his brain that was doing the thinking ever. After all, what super smart man punishes the evil gold-digger by marrying her, setting her up socially and giving her all the money she wants to spend?

Posted on Mar 26, 2011 4:52:48 PM PDT
Finding Out - I liked the book too, though not the hero. Maybe it was the heroine's determination not to let him destroy her. I read it a second time and woke up dreaming about it. I was surprised this was an Armstrong book. I read a few of her books years ago and they seemed kind of 'sweet romance with a bit of conflict.' I usually like the angst and drama of books best. Does anyone know if she has any others like this?

He told the heroine that he had never slept with the OW, but there isn't any indication whether he was celibate or not since their breakup.

Posted on Mar 26, 2011 6:32:24 PM PDT
Michigangirl says:
I don't know about Lindsay Armstrong but there is a book by Carole Mortimer that reminds me of this. The hero and heroine hook up with lots of misunderstandings and somehow they wind up getting married solely because she might be pregnant and he had to go to some tournaments and didn't have time to stick around and see if she was. The hero was a professional tennis player and his coach's daughter was really really close with him. She basically manipulates the heroine, who's really insecure, and the hero thinks the heroine doesn't like that he lost a game because the other girl told her he wouldn't want her around to witness it. Blah blah blah. Anyway, the heroine finally gets fed up with him and his other woman and the way he's treating her and tells him she's not pregnant. She leaves him and I don't remember if they get divorced but 2 years later they finally meet up again and as it turns out, she'd lied to him and she was pregnant she just didn't want to stay with him solely for the baby.

It reminded me of this book because you get near the end and then they break up and two years go by before they see each other again.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2011 7:00:57 PM PDT
Halo424 says:
I was getting ready to order this book and now I am so glad I did not. It sounds horrible and he has a mistress to boot. And to sleep with your StepMother is just so YUK. I don't remember reading about this kind of behavior whenever I remember the 70's and 80's HP's. I mean, yes the guys were alpha jerks and psychotic with jealousy but not so immoral. It is so disappointing.

On the other hand I just read another odd storyline in an HP. It was called Marco's Pride (Large Print Harlequin)and it was about a divorced couple with twin girls and he was engaged to a Princess and his ex-wife was bringing the twin girls to visit him because she had cancer. In reading the reviews I thought the Princess was the h because the H was so in love with her and they were getting married in a couple of months and were very happy but she didn't end up being the h. I am not sure I loved it but it was a different type of plot and it definitely gave me angst. Has anyone else read this? It bothered me for some reason and I wondered if it left other readers unsettled.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2011 8:47:50 PM PDT
boogenhagen says:
Lindsay Armstrong has a whole plethora of angsty books, I just started on a big LA reading spree so here is some more angsty ones:
An Elusive Mistress (Harlequin Presents), Dark Captor (Harlequin Presents),Saved From Sin, Reluctant WifeLeave Love Alone (Harlequin Presents, No 1487) and When Enemies Marry... (Mills & Boon Large Print Romances)

The Carole Mortimer book is Hidden Love (Harlequin Presents # 587) and the H in that never does redeem himself, it was one of her bad books IMO

Re Marco's Pride-- I did not like the book at all. Marco should have married the Princess, not because I felt there was any great love involved, more because they were both such self-aggrandizing narcissists who needed everything their own way that they were basically perfect for each other. I had a really hard time believing in the HEA because Marcos hated everything about Payton. In his eyes she was good for only one thing and eventually not even that. He was a self-involved prig and Payton should have run far and fast. IMO Marcos did not love anybody but himself.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2011 9:20:01 PM PDT
seton says:
I dnf-ed WHEN ENEMIES MARRY this month. I found it dull/generic and could not continue. May I ask what is the "angsty" part in it? Maybe I am not understanding the word as everyone is using it?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2011 9:53:47 PM PDT
Michigangirl says:
You have definitely had better luck than me. I tend to find all the bad ones where the hero sleeps with whoever while he's married to the heroine and she generally apologizes because she's not mature enough to handle him and she drove him to the other women anyway.

When I posted his mistress I meant in the past tense. He was with her before he was with the heroine. Actually he was with her when the heroine was with his brother. While she was with his brother, they were friends and hanging out, the brother wanted more and actually asked her to marry him.

But when I thought that, I realized that at the beginning of the book, which is when the heroine finds out the other woman is invited to the one year anniversary party, she thinks of how so many people have been whispering to her that she needed to watch out because her husband was spending a lot of time with the other woman. In other words, a LOT of people were telling her that an affair was either attempting to start or was already ongoing and it was obvious enough for other people to note it.

I don't remember if he said he didn't sleep with the other woman in the book. But then again, I don't have a clue why he would suddenly be so close to her all of a sudden if nothing was really going on. And he didn't give two figs about the heroine and wasn't sleeping with her so quite frankly, it would surprise me more if he didn't have something going on with her. Someone else might remember if he said anything about it?

Hidden Love! That's the one, I could never remember the title, just that tennis player in the front. I don't consider it a bad book. It certain wasn't one of her greats. When compared with books she's written that I absolutely love, that book is fodder. But I've also read so many books of hers that I just didn't care about and thought were boring or I hated for me to really not like that one. The hero was dumb, and the other woman got away with so much. But it really wasn't that bad.

That's something that never happens in older HPs that I've read. The OW is some nasty mean vile person and she generally gets her HEA in the end. At least nothing ever comes of it. Take the OW in Hidden Love. She basically used the heroine's insecurity over the hero to manipulate everything. And she even pretended they were in a relationship and that she basically always did a little something for him blah blah. In the end she's happily engaged to someone else and I don't think she ever told him how horrible she was. I need my vengeance.

Posted on Mar 26, 2011 10:13:17 PM PDT
readsalot says:
re: Marco's Pride
This was a DNF for me. I completely loathed the hero, if you could call him that. He was a terrible father (his poor excuse for not visiting his kids was just plain stupid and i thought he was just making excuses), horrible husband and I felt as if he would've been satisfied with either, h or the OW, whom I endlessly felt sorry for. Getting cheated on not just once but twice by the same a-hole, some women just don't learn.

When the H starts turning towards the h, which wasn't until he finds out she's sick, he was simply not redeemable, therefor their HEA wouldn't have been possible for me.

re: Finding Out
I was intrigued until I read that he slept with the stepmom. However, this wasn't the deal breaker, not UNTIL I read that he thought h reminded him of her..... Oh, I need to vomit..... how gross!

A Priceless Love by Emma Darcy
I just read this tonight and found it quite enjoyable. It kind of reminded me of a Miranda Lee's, Mistress for a Month, in that, the H seems to be the one without the "power" in this relationship, which is usually the h's role in these HPs. He's been the one who's been enslaved by her since the very beginning and through out the whole book, he's giving and giving all for her. There isnt much angst here, so if you into obsessed, pining heroes, try this one! :)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2011 10:24:15 PM PDT
boogenhagen says:
seton-- angsty for me is the compelling fear or anxiety that the romance will fail, generally with a lot of misery on the h or H.

When Enemies Marry--The angst part for me was when the old girlfriend's husband has a heart attack and the H leaves the h to go be with her. Since he had married the h to throw suspicion off the affair with the old gf, the h thinks he has left her. She leaves him and goes back to the convent. I just checked and it is only about the last fifty pages that are really angsty.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2011 10:26:35 PM PDT
Halo424 says:
Re: Marco's Pride, I couldn't believe in the happy ending either. First off he didn't even go to his own daughters' birthday and never went to see them. Then the first time he does he yells at one of them because she lost her blanket and is crying. Granted he did send his assistant on a plane to retrieve it later. That was what was so strange, He was like Jekyll and Hyde. He is engaged to the Princess, presumably sleeping with her, although it never really says it out right, Yet he is kissing the h the minute he is alone with her basically. I felt kind of bad for the Princess in a way because the h truly was the OW. He began an affair with the h years back even though he was with the Princess, and then he went back to the Princess when the h divorced him and then he went back after the h when she came to see him. I could see it as a vicious cycle. It really unsettled me and it had all these good reviews and I am starting to think I need therapy. In the end it was touching but I just can't get over the fact that a) he never visited his daughters and b) he could switch his emotions from one woman to the other and back again so easily. It was just too strange, but I actually liked parts of it and I did feel their love for each other. I would never recommend it to anyone though.

Okay, I vented.

Posted on Mar 26, 2011 10:30:46 PM PDT
boogenhagen says:
Re Finding Out-the potential mistress was never a mistress according to the H, her family was long time friends with his family and they had several business interests together. I did believe he never had anything going on with her because in his eyes she wasn't a slut and he was only attracted to sluts who reminded him of his stepmother. That was how screwed up the H was in that book.

Re A Priceless Love by Emma Darcy-- I love that book, he was so obsessively in love with her and she was so blind to it. I really felt his pain but yet I liked the h too.

Posted on Mar 26, 2011 10:31:44 PM PDT
readsalot says:
Re: Marco's Pride

I did get teary when h's illness was discussed, most especially when she was thinking of her girls, and how she would have to leave them with the H, whom never seemed to have time for them. It's really too bad that she was paired off with a H who was such a eternal jerk.

Posted on Mar 26, 2011 10:36:56 PM PDT
This is something I've been having a hard time with, HP book descriptions that don't make sense, like this one, "Now Tamsin has Alaric's undivided attention-and he finds himself drawn to her burgeoning purity!" from Protected by the Prince by Annie West.

What does burgeoning purity mean?! She's sorta easy but is somehow turning virginal?

Has anyone read this one?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2011 10:45:24 PM PDT
Michigangirl says:
That is so true. He thought the heroine was a slut until he found out she was a virgin. Then he was kind of thinking...hmmm unexplored territory, this might be interesting.

Or even possibly. Well, maybe I can turn her into one eventually.

I still like the book, but it's so easy to make fun of.

Marco's Pride. Why did they get a divorce?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2011 10:46:24 PM PDT
seton says:
Booge -- thanks. I dont think I got to that part when i dnf-ed. Considering that I didnt really see the connection between the H/h, I probably wouldnt have found it angsty anyway.

re: PRICELESS LOVE - Emma darcy
I enjoyed this one too. Found it a dramatic read. It's not in my ED Top 10 but would certainly make my Top 20.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2011 10:50:59 PM PDT
Michigangirl says:
Burgeoning purity.

When a character randomly glows and heals minor cuts. A period right before full purity, which will be attained when person sacrifices self to save all humanity. Burgeoning purity is shown with a steadily brightening soft glow. Full purity is a brightness greater than the sun, making the viewer unable to look up the person achieving it.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2011 10:51:26 PM PDT
Halo424 says:
MG, he never said he loved her and she thought he only married her because she was pregnant. He never even tried to get her to stay though and when she left, he never went after her. Or at least that is what I think. I have it on my Kindle and it is charging. I will look when it is ready just to verify.

Posted on Mar 26, 2011 11:16:35 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 26, 2011 11:17:33 PM PDT
Lives2Read says:
Re: Finding Out
I skip reading the posts for a day and look what I miss. Thanks for the spoilers, Cinnamon Girl, Michigangirl and Boogenhagen. Wooh, what a book. I think I know enough about it now to give it a miss, even though I suffer from author-itis: I have *all* the old Lindsay Armstrongs, except this one. The resemblance and the affair with the stepmom are just too icky.
Michigangirl, I totally agree. If blackmail means a lavish lifestyle and pots of money, bring it on! :-)

Posted on Mar 26, 2011 11:22:58 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 26, 2011 11:31:04 PM PDT
boogenhagen says:
So is the H of Protected by the Prince going to have to wear sunglass at night and what happens when she reaches full radiance? Will the relationship survive?

Books like Marco's Pride and Hollywood Husband, Contract Wife are why I can't read Jane Porter anymore. She always writes these user narcissistic megalomaniac H's and her writing isn't good enough to salvage the situation. The only book that comes close is Sicilian's Defiant Mistress and that is only because I was so sorry for Cass that I just wanted her to have a little peace and it seemed the only way she was going to get it was to be with the pig H.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2011 11:34:01 PM PDT
Michigangirl says:
Definitely agree there. Though I did like the one about the girl who was raped when she was at a party that the hero was throwing. Later her father tries to force her to marry another man who's out to kill the sultan and she's kidnapped by the hero and taken back to his home country. That one was good not great, but definitely better than most of her other stuff.

That's how I feel about Julia James and I swore after the last book I'd read I would never pick up another of hers. Now I check to see how shallow it is and then dive right in.

The one I read, the heroine was plain and wore baggy clothes. I think this is a teen movie. The hero didn't look once at her let alone twice. Then he gives her a makeover for some reason and suddenly she's beautiful and he wants her. Also the heroine was so in love with the hero and the only good thing she could think about him was how good looking he was. Definitely deserved each other but since those were the only plus qualities I could see in the H/h also, I hated that book.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2011 11:40:25 PM PDT
Human nightlight or burgeoning purity?

Thanks Michigangirl and Boogenhagen, I needed a laugh.
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