“ Genre: Fiction / Erotic / Author: Maya Banks / Kindle Edition / Book is published 2010-05-29 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd. „
**Warning! This review is of an erotic romance novel and may contain material that offends. It is intended for adult eyes only**
Colters' Lady is the sequel to Maya Banks' novel Colters' Woman. In Colters' woman we were introduced to three Colter brothers who have known all of their lives that they would end up married to the same woman, it's just something that runs in the family. So when they met Holly and all fell in love with her there were no surprises for them. This book is set 30 something years after the original novel and Holly has three grown sons and a daughter. Her sons are determined that they won't end up in the same kind of relationship as their mum and dads but when Seth Colter meets Lily at a soup kitchen where he's volunteering he knows that she's the one for him. Unfortunately when he introduces her to his brothers they both feel the same way about her. Soon Seth and his brothers have to come to terms with the fact that they may end up in a relationship with the same woman.
One thing that really struck me with this novel was how much Maya Banks' writing has improved. This isn't the first novel of hers that I've read since Colters' Woman but I think that it's inevitable that when there's a sequel, especially one where the plot is almost identical to the original, that you make comparisons between the two books. I remember thinking that Colters' Woman was an enjoyable but poorly written book. It was only reading this book and thinking back on the original that I realised how much better this one reads. The words just seem to flow better and the dialogue feels far more natural than the first novel.
Initially I found this novel quite difficult to enjoy. Lily is homeless when the novel begins and Seth takes her home with him. I find it really difficult to take things like homelessness lightly, even though I know it's just a romance novel and the whole damsel in distress thing is so popular in this genre. I couldn't help thinking when Seth took her home that if that was in real life it was more likely that she would be raped or trafficked than taken care of. This isn't so much a criticism of the book as such, it's just that personally I don't like when serious issues are trivialised for the purpose of a romance novel. Not that I don't think that issues of homelessness should be addressed in fiction, certainly I would have welcomed this if that was the way that the plot was written but it was very clear that the homelessness was just a device to make Lily vulnerable so that the brothers could rescue her.
Before buying the book I had read reviews complaining that the first half of the book contains no sex scenes at all. I actually thought that was a good thing. Although fans of Maya Banks have probably come to expect hot erotic scenes throughout her books I think it would have been in terribly poor taste. Here you have a terrified, vulnerable woman. The last thing I would want to read is someone taking advantage of that, even if that person does love her. However, what I would say about the sex scenes is that they are very hot and appropriately kinky but just not enough. It was like Banks was just giving us teasers and then leaving us wanting more, which wouldn't have been so bad if there was more to come but there are very few sex scenes in this novel.
The characterisation in this novel was okay. It's a short novel, there are four main characters, four characters from the previous book that Banks includes in this one plus a character whose novel is next in the series. This means that very little time was given to each character. The characters are all very distinct from each other but at times it seems more like they're archetypes rather than fleshed out characters. I guess you can't have it all in a novel and I certainly enjoyed revisiting Holly and her men, as well as being introduced to their daughter. However, because the characters weren't well developed the romance seemed a bit shallow. I felt as though there wasn't really much there. All of the brothers have a strong attraction to her that they say is love but I don't think the whole love at first sigh plot line can really make up for a well developed romance and in this case it seemed to be used as a short cut to a happily ever after.
The plot to this novel is similar to the plot for Colters' Woman so I was surprised at how distinct it is as a novel. There is no way that I would get the two books mixed up in my head at all which I think is a strength of the novel. I can't say that I was overly fond of the plot of this novel. Throughout the book you know that Lily is hiding something, you just don't know what it is. I quite liked that, it gave me reason to keep reading but when you find out what it is, it's just so tragic. This novel left me in tears. I guess that's a positive thing. The novel was so well written that Banks managed to make me feel some of what Lily was feeling. However, I think the resolution to Lily's situation, which was absolutely heart breaking, comes too close to the end of the novel so it left me feeling bad. This is fine in any other genre but in romance novel's you expect to feel good by the end, even if you've sobbed throughout the rest of it.
It feels like I've done a lot of criticising in this review when I actually did enjoy the novel. It took me some time to get into it but when I did I was hooked. It isn't a literary master piece, it's a really hot, very sweet romance novel and that's exactly what I expect of Maya Banks.