Sirocco (Mills & Boon Vintage Modern) by Anne Mather
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Mixed feelings about this one. I think that it's a lot of fun reading vintage Harlequin Presents, because it's a window into the past. I get a kick out of the characters wearing clothes that will never (let's hope) be in fashion again, and I can visualize they way they look. For instance, Alexis is quite fond of velvet suitcoats and silk trousers. Not something that you can get away with now unless you are deliberately channeling 70s pimp.
Overall, this is pretty strong writing. I just didn't like Alexis, at all. I thought he was manipulative to the extreme. While I will be the first admit I like stalkerific heroes, I felt like he was stalkerish in a very unsexy and offputting way. I know the difference between fiction and fantasy, and it's appealing when the hero is obsessed with the heroine, as long as he's not controlling and manipulative about it, and he's clearly not stalking every mode she makes. After Rachel helps him the first night, he is pretty much following her every day or has his servants doing it. He knows where she works, who her roommate is, and other pertinent information that made him seem like a scary guy who might do Rachel harm. I also didn't like how sexually aggressive he was. Rachel made it clear she was engaged, and Alexis did everything he could to destroy her relationship with her fiance'. While her fiance' was a big time tool, that wasn't right. I guess for me, the difference in why a hero can be stalkerific in a good way or just a plain old creepy stalker is unselfish love and concern for the heroine. I still didn't really believe Alexis loved Rachel at the end of this story. I think he was strongly attracted to her and obsessed, but I didn't get a sense of "I would die for you" kind of love from Alexis.
I agree with another reviewer that the descriptions of the Arab people in Alexis' family and his servants was a bit on the racist side. At least stereotypical. That was a turnoff as well.
So let's talk about what I liked. I did like Rachel, although I wish she wasn't such a pushover. It was pretty odd how the author hints at the fast that her fiance' is selfish enough to expect manual gratification but doesn't reciprocate. He doesn't seem to find Rachel sexy to me. I wondered about that. I felt like maybe he wasn't attracted to her, or that he was possibly gay. I still don't know about it. But I did like Rachel. I think she deserved better than both her ex and Alexis, personally.
I think the love scenes were pretty good, but too bad I felt like Rachel was coerced into sexual situations moreso than truly voluntary. So that did take the blush off the rose for me.
I'm sure many vintage HP fans will like this more than me. The hero really kind of killed it for me. Otherwise, it was a diverting blast from the past.
View all my reviews