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Harlequin romance with better prose
on January 5, 2013
I think people like this book for the same reason people like Twilight--It's the perfect fantasy. Young heroine with immeasurable beauty that turns eyes everywhere, charming personality that "wins over everyone she meets" (a phrase that is repeated in the book), everything she touches turns to gold, handsome men with impossibly blue eyes are head over heels for her, a rich man with a heart of pure gold fawning over her...Need I go on?
But oh the cliches! I actually closed the book in disgust at the following exchange:"The park is beautiful in the moonlight, isn't it?" "Nowhere near as beautiful as you are," said [the rich handsome man with a heart of gold].
Cliched theme number one: if you only wanted something bad enough, oh so bad, your soul screams that you want it...then it will be yours [via contrived and unrealistic plot points]. How many times has Fiona wanted something "with all her heart" "desperately", and then have her wish granted Santa-Claus style? E.g. Somebody selling a house to her at 1/10 the value? Complete strangers offering 1st class passage to her and co.?
Number two: Working class people, no matter the continent, only marry for love. Never saw an unhappy marriage anywhere amongst the working poor.
Number three: Characters are stereotypes. Stereotypes. Stereotypes. The evil evil villain of pure evil evilness. The kind-hearted fussing matron. I mean my goodness there's even a gay-best-friend character, who is of course a sweet, extremely handsome man with impeccable fashion-sense and lives only to help the heroine out.
Ehhhhh, what can I say. The author just didn't bother with any sort of verisimilitude in her characters. Drop the H's and I guess we've got ourselves a Cockney accent. That, and a lot of name-dropping of historic figures, but in a clunky and obvious way that felt like the author was going "hey look! I did my research, ok?" The main characters' views and actions were so blatantly modern and utterly anachronistic--their attitue towards sexuality and sexual preference being the most glaring example. Okay maybe the heroine is a forward-thinker 150 years ahead of her time, but everywhere she goes--New York, London, wherever--she meets people that think exactly the same way? Also, I find it very difficult to believe that someone shrewd enough to navigate amongst the very upper circles of New York's business elite after having made bajillion of dollars, could be so naive about why his grown children really don't like his girlfriend. Can I say DUH?
The Tea Rose is a fun-in-a-mindless way, lighthearted read. I can't get past the things discussed above though.