Bride By Design (Contract Brides) by Leigh Michaels
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I was hoping for a good, older Harlequin goodie when I picked this up, but I didn't get my fix that I wanted. Reading this was like swimming through molasses. I don't know if it was my mood or if the story just didn't do it for me. I suspect it was a bit of both. Now I am not the girl who thinks every book she reads needs to have descriptive sex, so that wasn't my problem with this book. It was that I didn't feel the love between David and Eve. Eve was fighting tooth and nail not to feel anything, I do get. She was recovering from a damaging relationship with a man who turned out to be married, which I can respect. However, the execution on that was poor. I never felt that Eve had an ethical dilemma with the adultery so much as that he was thinking of leaving his wife for her, and specifically his kids. Yes, taking a man away from his children is bad, but it's also bad to participate in an adulterous relationship and contributing to a man betraying his wife is equally bad. I didn't expect Eve to wear a scarlet letter 'A', but she didn't seem to have any angst about the actual act of cheating. The author threw in a casual 'he said he was separated', which means nothing to me. He's still married. So, yes, that was an issue with this book.
The other issue is just that it felt mediocre. No passions were stirred in the slightest. I didn't care about the love story. David was mildly appealing. He was a nice guy, he was attractive, but he was bland to me. I liked him, and that was as deep as it got. Eve was bland as well, when she wasn't abrasive. I didn't care about her that much. I normally like when the heroine is slow to fall for the hero and he has to work to woo her, when it's done well, but in the case of this book, it didn't work for me. As far as Eve, I didn't feel any sympathy for her and I don't think David did that much wooing.
End verdict: This was disappointing for a book of my favorite theme: marriage of convenience. I guess my needs for a good and quick romance were too great for this book to satisfy. I give it three stars because it wasn't a bad book, but it was just okay. Lukewarm is a good word for it. One thing I did like was the fact that David was a jewelry designer, and his creations sounded beautiful! Oh, and it was set in Chicago, a much beloved city to me. There was even a scene where David had ordered pizza. Chicago style pizza---sigh!
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