I was in a mood to read this since I was looking for a good interracial romance. I have enjoyed this series, although it's been years since I read Boss Man. It's not perfect. The writing needs some extra tweaking. It's serviceable and a little forced at times. But it's also very charming and Cole and Lauren are a good couple. Lauren is a sweet girl. I loved her and I wanted the best for her. It's hard when people are used to seeing you a certain way and they can't get outside of that when you grow up.
Cole's a bit of an idiot and he knows he. He knows he threw away a good thing. Now he wants to convince Lauren they belong together. Lauren should have moved on, but she hasn't. She still loves Cole just as much as she always did. But she's not going to put herself in the same emotional danger zone with him. It's going to take some serious convincing on his part, if he can get his head straight and acknowledge what he really wants.
I loved seeing the couples from the first books. Fancy and Headley are friends with Lauren, but also Fancy is Cole's best friend. She is the voice of reason and gives Cole some truths he needs to hear, although he's reluctant to listen. Max and Troy are settled down and very happily married. They want to help their friend be happy too. Cole feels left out because they have families and he doesn't. Although he always thought that wasn't what he wanted anyway. He's come to realize that they have real lives and not just playboy lives. That gets old after a while. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:11, "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me." That's what Cole has to do.
It's true that this wasn't as good as the first two books, but it's very enjoyable. I liked seeing Lauren get the man she loved, and for Cole to realize what he wanted was something he had almost thrown away.
Russian literature seems to have a very bleak undertone to it, though I must admit that the only Russian authors that I have read are Dostoyevski and Chekhov, and the only other author that I know of (and do intend to read one day) is Tolstoy. I guess when you are swamped with the plethora of English writers, then writers from other nations really have to stand out to be noticed, but then I suspect that that is also the case in England.
I am not sure if Russian literature developed in the same way that English literature developed, but as I have mentioned previously Russia was pretty much thrust into the modern age where as the countries of central Europe gradually developed, and I suspect that this sudden rush had an effect upon the national consciousness. Russia never experienced a reformation and at the turn of the 20th century was probably the only country in Europe that operated under a feudal system of government. However, ideas had been filtering in for the last hundred years, and revolution was boiling under the surface.
However, the Seagull is not about revolution or the backwardness of Russia, but rather it is a play about unrequited love that is played out among a group of artists who are trying to define themselves through their art. We have a novelist, an actress, and a playwright, and each of them have their own ideas of who they are and their own ideas of how they desire to express themselves. The playwright is an interesting character in that his plays are simply non-traditional and also play out in the existential role. The problem with that is that nobody actually understands what is going on but him, which in a way leaves him feeling that he has failed as an artist.
Then there is the idea about unrequited love. In this play it is not simply one person pursing another but I believe up to four people who are all pursuing each other, and getting nothing in return. Unrequited love is a very painful experience to go through, and I ought to know because I have been through it too many times to count, and it is not simply me pursuing a woman who does not want to return my affections, but being blind to another woman that wants me to show affection to her. I guess the other problem is that I am what is known as a hopeless romantic. I want romance in a world where romance is dead and only the physical matters. Okay, people are still romantic today, but I have in the past got so caught up in a passionate desire for a romantic relationship that I have blinded myself to what is really going on.
Hollywood has a lot to answer for with regards to unrequited love though because, unlike this play, these love triangles all end up working themselves out. Take the Big Bang Theory for instance. For two seasons Leonard is chasing Penny but getting nothing in return, and all of the sudden it works out in the third season (but not for long, though by the sixth season they are back together again). In real life this really does not happen, or at least in my real life this does not happen. Instead, I have ended up moping around my house pining for a woman that I can simply never have, yet as I look back on it now I see how foolish I have been. In fact, a part of my life I almost felt that I was not complete unless I had a woman to pine over, and in fact the pining was more desirable than the relationship itself. In the end though, I have come to feel content with my singleness , but I still don't know how long that will really last (the singleness that is, not the contentment).
I read this years ago, but I didn't really remember much about it. Downloading the Kindle and doing a reread was a good move. I liked this quite a bit. I miss the books where the heroine is a plain Jane. That trope doesn't seem as popular nowadays. The heroine tends to be exquisitely beautiful now more than anything, at least in my opinion. Sara wasn't really a plain Jane. She just wasn't tall and model Slender and blonde. Alex certainly had a very powerful obsession with her. Everyone could tell he was in love with her, except Sara. I like when the hero is crazy about the heroine, but she's a bit oblivious (but not in a she thinks she's too good for him kind of way). Alex is definitely a Lynne Graham hero but he's not quite as arrogant as some of hers run. He seems a bit more vulnerable. I think there would have been less trouble for them both if he had just been honest with Sara about being in love with her. Instead, he was sending out all these mixed signals and getting mad at her because he thought she was still stuck on her ex-fiance.
Glad I did a reread when I did.
Oh man, I loved the hero in this book. He was scrumptious. He reminded me of Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent from Devil in Winter in that he's a long, lean panther who talks like a panther purrs. He screams "I'm Bad For You, but I'm So Good!" He was delicious. He definitely goes on my lickable hero shelf. I fell hard for him because he is so super-sexy, and because he gave Hattie steadfast love in a way she'd never had before. At one point, he withdraws from her, and Hattie can't deal with that. He does it because it was difficult for him to deal with the fact that she refused to be honest with him. Hattie doesn't know how to deal with him not being in her life the way he's been for over ten years, and that is the impetus for change. That was when he realized she didn't know how. She didn't know what unconditional love was and the concept of being accepted no matter what. She spends most of the book pushing him away emotionally, and being a bit of a brat, so that tiptoes on the edge of being a bit tedious. Crews managed to change the tone soon enough that I was just burned out on it. I think the reveal for why Hattie has behaved the way she has so long was a pit too rapid in its delivery (and it felt a bit lightweight to be honest), and I would have liked better pacing in that regard. I did love the surprise that Nicodemus gets. I was really surprised myself. I like a good twist in a story.
This book is pretty heavy on internal dialogue and that probably wouldn't work for some. But I felt it was well done, and I think the characters are wonderfully complex. I think this is a nice mix of modern cultural awareness but with the old school intensity dynamic that makes many of us Harlequin Presents readers such advocates of the vintage novels. The sensuality is intrinsic and hot and underlined by the fact that these two people really love each other and can't imagine a life without each other.
I'm hoping that I enjoy His for Revenge, about Hattie's brother, as much as I did this book.
Overall rating: 4.25/5.0 stars.