I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Undaunted: A Western Romance Novel by Diana Palmer
Published by Harlequin Books on June 27th 2017
FINAL DECISION: I enjoyed this book as a one time read. There are some extreme moments in this book that make the hero hard to like, but that is not unfamiliar for Palmer readers. My complaint is that I think the hero needed to grovel more because of his horrendous behavior.
THE STORY: Kate Martin has done something terrible. She accidentally hit the jet ski of the local billionaire, Garrett Carlton, with her employers speedboat. As a result, Garrett was injured and is now blind. Kate feels a tremendous amount of guilt and secretly takes on the role of Garrett’s assistant in order to help him. Garrett is very bitter and coldhearted, distrusting women but finds himself drawn to the sweet young woman who he meets. The problem is that sooner or later he will find out about Kate’s deception.
OPINION: Diana Palmer has a certain type of story that she tells. There is often a young, innocent woman who falls for a bitter older man. The man believes that the woman is more sexually experienced and eventually treats her poorly. This book has a variation on that story, but the bones remain intact. I’ve been reading Palmer for 30 years and I enjoy her stories. This book is good, but I had two problems with it that reduced my rating somewhat.
Kate is a nice person but incredibly naive. I understand that she comes from a conservative and sheltered background, but it is impossible for me to believe that someone could be so silly in modern America. She is a nice person but too naive for me. That, however, didn’t lower my rating. What did was Kate’s reaction to injuring Garrett. She is a liar and is in fact deceiving him. She is also guilty of a crime and hiding out. If anyone doubts that, consider that hit and run would be obvious if she were driving a car instead of a boat. That bothered me throughout the whole book. Her behavior didn’t match with her character. This was too big a problem for me to set aside.
Garrett is a man with a soft heart who has been battered so much that it has made him bitter and hard. While he longs for belonging and love, he has convinced himself that he doesn’t want it because he has been hurt and disappointed. My complaint about him is that he is incredibly cruel to Kate because he is attracted to her. He is the one who hired her. He could have her leave if he doesn’t want to have her around. Instead, he treats her terribly.
One of the biggest complaints about Garrett in online reviews is what happens when he finds out about Kate causing his accident. Actually that I didn’t mind as much because at least there was a reason for his anger and behavior. My biggest complaint was that I thought that Garrett needed to grovel a big more because of his actions. I think he deserved it.
There was, however, something I really enjoyed about this book. I thought that the characters were well constructed and I felt their intense longing for connection. I also enjoyed the construction of the conflict between these two. I am definitely not disappointed that I read this book and especially for fans of Diana Palmer, this is a good read.
WORTH MENTIONING: This book has a large age difference between the hero and heroine. He is 38 and she is 23. While this is not that unusual in historicals, it is not as common in contemporary books these days.
CONNECTED BOOKS: UNDAUNTED takes place in the Long,Tall Texans world. At this point it is difficult to determine which book in the series this is, but several characters will be familiar to readers of that series. For new readers, however, the prior book in the series are not necessary. This book acts as a standalone.
STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.