The Last Illusion by Diana Hamilton
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
This was a pretty good book, but it's one of those books where it would have lasted thirty pages if the leads had just sat down and had a long conversation. There's only so long that you can sustain tension in a book in which the lead couple splits up due to lies and misunderstanding, without one of the leads being shown in a negative light. In this case, I did like Charley, but she seemed really immature in her decision-making. I couldn't help but think that maybe she needed some time to grow up. She married very young (soon after losing her parents), before her personality was even formed, and she felt so insecure that everything that happened in her marriage seemed like an indictment against herself as lacking as a wife/woman in comparison to the dreaded other woman.
Sebastian was actually a decent guy, although I wish he had been a little more proactive in demanding an explanation and explicitly clarifying his end of things when they were newlyweds. Again, back to what I sad before about the falseness of the conflict. You couldn't really blame either character, although they both messed up, so you're left to wonder what was the point of the four year separation. I think the author probably wanted Charley to have time to grow up, but I wish that their reason for breaking up the first time was more organic and less contrived (OW's machinations). Yeah, I realize that the OW drama is a very important sub-theme in Harlequin Presents books. This one was just so hackneyed and unbelievable, really.
I think this is one of those books you just have to be in the mood for. It's fairly classic Harlequin Presents from the late 80s-early 90s. Charley's fiance is such a buffoon, and actually quite unattractive (both physically and personality-wise). It's hard to believe that she would have fallen for him, other than the fact that she was just lonely and hurting and the oaf took advantage of that. I guess it was a good thing that Sebastian wasn't complacent enough to give her a divorce right way (wanted to fight for their reconciliation-although words wouldn't have gone amiss!). The heroine could use some maturity, even after four years apart from the hero, and the hero should learn to stand up for himself better. I do have to say the chemistry and sensuality was well-done and helped my rating considerably. I'm typically not into Latin heroes, but he was kinda scrumptious.
A slightly better than middle of the road read. Overall rating: 3.5/5.0 stars.
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