Yesterday I kicked ass. I edited, wrote, plotted and promo'd. Then I collapsed on the sofa whining for a comfort read. My poor brain was threatening to go on holiday without me (it was considering hiding out with the sponges in a tropical coral reef).
Fortunately, I'd picked up an old copy of "Taken Over" by Penny Jordan on Sunday. I love her early 1980s fiction. The feminist in me goes to sleep, and I just read and enjoy -- and even have a little sniffle. I wallow in those vintage Mills and Boons.
But then my brain woke up from sulking about tropical reefs and pointed out what I can learn from Penny Jordan's books. And why I love them so much. She writes a woman's uncertainties so well. Even when the situation sounds completely improbable, the underlying emotional tension of self-doubt and fear resonate with me.
This is a good example of trying to reuse an old romance plot that doesn't age well. The young woman traumatized by an early brush with sex is a Penny Jordan standard, and it made some sense in more restrictive times. But this was published in 1992; moreover, the heroine's parents are present, and are obviously nice, sensible people, not religious fanatics. Yet we're supposed to believe that because of one drunken one-night stand at 18, she think she's a fallen woman whom no good man could ever love. I'm not exaggerating.
It was a moderately interesting story for awhile, but by the end it was a giant snoozefest. Very little happens other than her trembling. She trembles with fear, she trembles with attraction, finally it all works out and she trembles with joy. I'm giving it 2 stars because I was surprised and pleased that the heroine -- sorry, I've already forgotten everyone's name, that's how exciting they were -- actually blames the hero for taking advantage of her while she was drunk. (Though in fact, he didn't really.) An older skool Jordan heroine would only blame herself.