Hostage of Passion by Diana Hamilton
My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars
I can't give this four stars because I felt my attention wandering (although I did have a lot on my mind). It was a good book, and I loved the fact that Sarah was able to keep Francisco on his toes. I really like when a heroine is not struck dumb by the awesomeness of the hero and manages to keep her faculties, despite her developing attraction and emotional bond with the hero. Although it seemed as though he had the upper hand, there was more even-handedness in the power struggle than I usually see in Harlequin Presents of this sort. In short, Francisco neither always got the last word, nor doee he always his way.
Although Francisco seemed like an arrogant stuffed shirt, I was able to see the gentle, caring side of him. He took very good care of the people in his isolated valley, and they loved him, for good reason. I could also understand why he was so smotheringly protective of his sister. It was clear that he loved her and wanted what was best, and his mother put a very unfair burden on him as a young man. I could also get why Sarah was so 'ice queen', calm and composed. Her father is an artist who isn't the most stable guy, and it made her childhood and young adulthood very uncertain. Her stolid, proper lifestyle as an adult is a rejection of his value system, and it makes sense. When it comes to parents, you either follow in their example, or resolve to be nothing like them. Of course, Sarah chose the alternative. When faced with threats on her father's life by the top-lofty, dangerous-appearing Spaniard for running off with his young sister, I could see why she tried to intervene to save her father's life, even if his antics got on her nerves.
I liked the courtship that unfolds between Francisco and Sarah. There is no full love scene in this book, and I think that was a good choice. I like the way Diana Hamilton decided not to show this, because things happened so fast between them, and it was nice to see that their feelings develop sweetly with a few kisses and passionate caresses (enough to show the strong attraction), and no actual sex to cloud the issue. In short, they were able to sort out lust from love. The ending was very sweet, Francisco going to claim his woman and showing that she means a lot to him, and her doing the same.
I couldn't rate this one last night when I marked it done, because I wasn't sure about whether I should go up to 4 stars. After reflection, it's pretty darn close, so I think I will bump this up to 3.75 stars.
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