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The Ties That Bind - Jayne Ann Krentz

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Genre: Romance / Author: Jayne Ann Krentz / Mass Market Paperback / 256 Pages / Book is published 2002-07 by Harlequin Books

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      09.07.2009 18:18
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      Don't read.

      -Plot-
      Shannon is an artist living happily in a quiet house in a rural town somewhere in California. Garth is a businessman who has been betrayed by almost everyone in his life and can't trust anyone. When he takes a holiday by the sea he meets Shannon and begins a "weekend" relationship with her. But for how long will Shannon be content just to have him at the weekend?

      -Opinion-
      This is quite possibly the worst book I've read this year, and I've read a few awful books recently. I've read and enjoyed many of Krentz's books in the past so it surprised me that this book was so bad.

      This is a very short book, more of a short story than a novel but it isn't written like a short story. It's more like an incomplete novel where Krentz has to skip over various parts of the storyline, character development and developing relationship in order to not make it novel length. At times it felt more like I was reading a plan for a novel and not the actual book. It starts off quite promisingly with Garth and Shannon meeting, there is a friction between them that promises an interesting romance but then Krentz skips straight to the part where they've got over any initial conflict without really exploring that in the text, it's just assumed that they got passed it and now get on quite well.

      The plot is pretty awful. Garth wants to keep Shannon out of his world because he thinks it's too dangerous for her and is later proved right when a business transaction gets violent. I don't have a huge amount of experience in business, I've always worked for charities but I'm sure that it's not normal for people to become homicidal over a business proposal! Garth acts like it's an every day occurence and almost like it's normal behaviour. The storyline was ridiculous. You would think that Garth was part of some kind of Mafia family, not a computer company.

      For me the most important thing in a romance novel is the characters because you don't read a romance novel for the plot, you read it for the interaction between the characters. In this book the characters are even worse than the plot.

      Garth comes accross as a mysoginist who thinks that all women are out to get him and those that aren't are too weak to do anything except hide away in the country waiting for him to come home. He's rude, stubborn, old fashioned and just generally unlikeable. Plus when I read the name Garth I think Waynes World so I just couldn't take the character seriously!

      Then there's Shannon who is quite possibly the most pathetic female character I've ever read. She basically let's Garth walk over her for most of the book, has no backbone and is just generally quite a weak person.

      This book is supposed to be a romance novel but I cannot believe that Shannon and Garth could ever live happily together. Their relationship borders on abusive with Garth being incredibly controlling, patronising and sometimes almost cruel to Shannon who is painfully sweet and naive throughout the whole novel. There doesn't seem to be any connection between the two of them and it seems quite clear throughout that they can never make each other happy. Garth continually puts his business before Shannon and what Krentz tries to pass of as a compromise between the two of them is Shannon giving up a life that she was happy with for Garth who doesn't really sacrifice anything because he was unhappy in his life before Shannon anyway.

      At the beginning there are some interesting secondary characters. I can't remember names now but Shannon has friends who are a couple who seem really happy together, are having a baby and don't believe in marriage. Later in the book they are persuaded by Garth (a man with one failed marriage under his belt and no doubt if there was a realistic sequeal written there would be two divorces) that actually marriage is the right way to go and the only way to protect the baby. I liked at first that there were characters who held these views and I thought it was nice to have a variety of opinions regarding family in the book but then Krentz seems to suggest that only marriage and children is the right way to do it and it bugged me. Admittedly it's because I don't want to get married and it felt like the author was suggesting that my opinions and lifestyle were wrong.

      Then there was Shannon's other friend who is a feminist. I am also a feminist and liked that there was a feminist character in the book, even if she wasn't a main character but as the book progresses it becomes obvious that she is only there for the characters to ridicule and for Garth to show how wrong feminism is.

      I didn't like this book. The plot was poorly developed and unrealistic. I didn't like the characters and I can't believe that Garth and Shannon will ever live happily ever after together.

      Not recommended

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