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This year I have read my share of bad books. To be exact I have read ten books that I rated as one star and have claimed that at least one book was the worst that I've read this year. That statement was premature and had I read this book first I would not have been able to make that claim. I have endured amazingly dull vampires, xenophobic psychics, anti-feminist artists and suspense novels that completely lacked suspense and I would happily read them again if I could get back the time that I wasted reading this novel.
When I picked up this book in a charity shop I thought it sounded promising. Set in the 1930s this book is the story of Adrianna, a priveleged woman who has just lost her father and her inheritance. When her fathers sleezy lawyer tells her that she has to marry him if she wants her inheritence Adrianna runs away and meets Quinn who is her opposite in every way. As those of you who regularly read my reviews may have realised, I like storie where opposites attract. I like romance that has a bit of conflict, I think it adds a spark (and people wonder why I'm still single). So this book really did seem promising.
The plot does go pretty much how its described on the back of the book with a few additional plot points thrown in, like the housekeeper, Lola, who wants Quinn for herself and will do anything to ensure that Adrianna can't have him and Quinn's disabled brother, Jesse, who Adrianna helps.
I guess at this point you want to know exactly what was so bad about this book that I would give it minus one star if I could, just because it seems unfair to the other one star books to put them in the same league as this book. I really don't know where to begin.
I guess I could start with the plot. As a romance story I thought that this plot had a lot of potential and still think that it could have been very good but it was just so poorly done. Garlock's attempts to build suspense fail miserably which left me feeling bored throughout most of this book. I thought that Garlock went a little bit over the top with the number of villains in the story and instead of adding to the suspense and excitement it just took away from it. I think if she had either concentratd on Richard trying to get Adrianna to marry him or Lola trying to stop Adrianna from getting together with Quinn she may have had more success building the suspense. It just becomes too far fetched.
As a romance novel this sucked (firguratively). There is absolutely no build up in the relationship between Quinn and Adrianna. One chapter they're barely acquantances, the next couple of chapters they are regularly interacting with little or no signs of a growing attraction and then suddenly they're in love. I didn't feel any kind of connection between the characters. There's nothing exciting about the romance, it's just all very dull and ordinary.
Usually I wouldn't comment overly much on the sex scenes in a book, generally a line to say if it was good or not will suffice but in this case the sex scene (yes, singular) was so poorly done that I feel it deserves a paragraph of its own. Now, you know that any sex scene where a participant shouts out "darling" is not going to be particularly hot but it can still be romantic (personally I prefer if it's both). This one is neither. I think it would have been hard for Garlock to write this scene in a way that made me feel the romance because I just didn't feel the connection between the characters, as it was her attempts to make this scene romantic just bored me. The scene was too long and there was too much thinking and not enough action. It's also not clear at any point during this scene whether or not Adrianna has an orgasm and while she seems to have been left satisfied it seems that this could be more to do with lack of experience rather than good sex.
For me there is one thing that is vitally important in a romance novel and that is the characters. Romance novels don't need to have a good plot, they don't need to be plausible and they don't even need to be well written for me to enjoy them but they do have to have characters that I like. I found Quinn to be very two dimensional to the point where I don't really have much to say about him. Although he was supposed to be the hero in this book I felt like Garlock had only just begun to explore his character. All of the details are there but somehow they just don't create a believable character. Adrianna has a bit more substance but unfortunately she's such a thoroughly unlikeable character that it didn't make much difference. The way she regards Lola proves her to be nothing more than a snob, even though Lola is a horrible character too. The villains aren't written well either. There are three villains in this novel in total (a few too many if you ask me) and each one is portrayed as being mindlessly crazy.
One other thing that annoyed me to the point that I think it's worth mentioning in this review is that Adrianna's father dies at the beginning of this book and within about two weeks she seems to have forgotten about him, except when it's convenient for the plot. I understand that she has to get away from the evil lawyer but surely she would still be grieving for her father?
I would not recommend this book. It's boring, the hero and heroine have a poor connection and the characters are poorly written. AVOID.