Island Of Dolphins by Lillian Cheatham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Oh, Drama! This was just what the doctor ordered. Sometimes I crave these older Harlequin chock full of drama. The hero is a real b*stard in this book. He needed a slap or two, to be honest. I can't imagine why he thinks that being mean to a woman shows his love and devotion. I didn't really like Mark at all. He was just a bully in my opinion. But, there is something about Lillian Cheatham's writing that keeps me reading and enjoying her books, even if the hero is a putz. I did like Juliet. She had some gumption, although she turned a little weak-kneed at Mark's punishing kisses.
I can't explain why these oldies appeal to me. They are like my soap operas, but even better. The whole, "I hate you but I want you, and you will be mine." And the "Oh, you are such a brute! Stay away from me, but I can't help seeing that you are very sexy!" storylines make for great reads. And then there's Mark's geeky (that part was cool) but spineless brother (not cool) who throws temper tantrums when he doesn't get his way. He even lies and says Juliet has been sleeping with him because he's jealous of Mark taking her away from him (although she's only his assistant and doesn't have any romantic feelings for him). Throw in an evil ex-mistress (also the island nurse) who wants to get back her short-lived status in Mark's revolving bed. And then there is a scheming teen who has been promised by her overbearing mother that she will net Mark as her husband. Classic!
Great scenery with the Caribbean island setting, and a heroine who is a skilled editor and knows her subject (her stepfather was an expert in cetaceans and she actually wrote his book for him although she didn't take credit). There are a couple of scenes with the dolphins, which add to this book's appeal.
Really, Juliet was a lovely heroine. She was worth fifty of Mark. He was a real jerk, who didn't know a good woman when he saw one. He needed his mouth washed out for some of the nasty things he said to Juliet. Just when I was starting to think he might be a decent person (when he saves a local boy after a near-fatal stingray bite), he turns into Mr. Octopus Hands with a bad mouth. Sigh. The fool was very much in love with Juliet, but he was very clueless on how to show it. And, somehow Juliet fell in love with this creep. It was fun to read.
This really gave me my needed Vintage Harlequin drama fix. If you like this sort of thing, I think you'd enjoy this book, because it was very well written. Too bad Lillian Cheatham wasn't a very prolific Harlequin author. Her books always satisfy.
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