Sunday, February 01, 2009

Hired: The Sheikh's Secretary Mistress

Having read The Sheikh's Bartered Bride by Lucy Monroe, I was eager to read another sheikh book by her. I started this book and it kept mentioning an older brother who lived with his wife prior to marriage, and so I was thinking he must have a book also. So my gaze focused on the short story collection Hot Deserts Nights with a Lucy Monroe story, and sure enough, it was about Khalil and Jade called Mistress to a Sheikh. So I took a break and read this story first to get a frame of reference. Then I jumped back into Hired: The Sheikh's Secretary Mistress. I enjoyed this book, but I had a couple of issues with it. For one, I thought the heroine Grace was a little too self-deprecating. Yes, I know she was slender and shy and didn't think much of her looks, but I didn't like how high she put the hero Amir on a pedestal above her. I wish she had a little more self-worth. Don't get me wrong, I love the shy, unassuming, plain Jane heroines, but I like the ones with a little more spark and self-love. It is clear that she has always been shy and in the background, so I guess it makes sense that she would be so down on herself. But it bothered me. She was a very capable person and she wasn't ugly. But she had this opinion like she was worthless other than her skills as a PA. Even as a shy sibling in a large family, I am sure that Grace's parents showed her enough love to know that wasn't true. I was about to get disgusted when she goes to get a makeover to get Amir to see that she was a worthwhile bride candidate, when he had propositioned her in a prior scene. Obviously he liked her already. For some reason, makeovers in romances rub me the wrong way. I don't mind if the heroine never got to spend time on herself and does go and do that, but when she feels like she needs to change herself to make herself more acceptable, that bugs me. The only thing that saved it for me was that a) the hero said she looked great before and didn't all of a sudden notice her just because she got her hair fixed and wore more revealing clothes. I know men are that shallow in real life, but I don't like shallow heroes in the books I read. b) It was made clear that she had possessed inner beauty before and was just bringing out the real her. Okay, if you insist. The other thing that bugged me about this book was the hero's insistence on not allowing himself to care for Grace in a meaningful way. He had loads of girlfriends, and paraded them in front of Grace, getting her to shop for gifts for them. That was rather unfeeling of him, as he knew that she was attracted to him, if not in love with him. I think he should have tried to be more discreet in this case. And to compound matters, he asks Grace to make a list of suitable bride candidates for him. How callous is that? In his mind, he thought he was doing the right thing because he cared for Grace and loved her as a friend, but knew he couldn't allow himself to love his wife since he had loved and lost his first fiancee when she did. Okay, I understand your fiancee died, but you were eighteen years old. Get over it.And then he decides he's going to have a sexual relationship with Grace but still not marry her, knowing that she's a virgin, but not marry her. That's really lowdown. I admit that I am old fashioned. I like heroes who do care for the heroine and do have honorable intentions. I don't mind if they seduce the heroine into marriage, or seduce her with the intention of marrying her for certain. But I hate when the hero seduces a heroine just for a sexual relationship and has no intention of a permanent relationship (marriage). That's my issue and so I was annoyed at Amir's behavior. He confides his intentions to his older brother, Zahir, who is a confidant for him. Zahir seems to see that he has feelings for Grace that he isn't owning up to, and doesn't tell him that he's being a selfish jerk, probably because he thinks it will lead to him marrying Grace. And Grace just falls in with his plans, because she loves him. It bothers me in some of these romances that the heroine loves the hero so much she'll throw away her self-respect and negate her own self-love. Personally I don't want anyone to love me to this degree. You should love others as you love yourself, so obviously caring about yourself and having self-esteem is important.I guess I'm a masochist. I read these books because they inspire strong emotions in me. Well this one definitely did inspire strong emotions. So I will keep this book and possibly reread it, because it was well-written, but I can't help feeling aggravated with the heroine and the hero for their attitudes. Frankly I wish that Grace had told Amir to kiss her anatomy where the sun doesn't shine. Maybe he would have got a clue earlier. Hopefully Zahir will be a lot more gallant than his brothers and not act so dishonorably towards his woman like his brothers did.

No comments: