White Lies by Linda Howard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Who Is This Man?
FINAL DECISION: An enjoyable story of a woman who falls in love with a man thought to be her ex-husband but then she isn’t quite sure that he is.
THE STORY: Jay Granger’s life changes when the FBI comes to her door to tell her that her ex-husband has been in a terrible accident and that they need her to come identify him. Although they have been divorced for five years, Jay cannot abandon Steve Crossfield. She is drawn to the man in the hospital bed but when he wakes he seems so different from the man she remembers loving before.
OPINION: This story is not complicated and I figured out quickly what was happening, but the story is well executed and the characters are so interesting that I was engaged throughout the story. This book was originally published as a category romance and thus lacks some of the sophistication and complexity allowed in a longer novel. I liked these characters who fell in love without really knowing the truth about what happened to Steve. The connection of these characters is visceral — a recognition of spirits. The real mystery in this one is how the truth about Steve’s actions and identity will be revealed and what that will make for the hero and heroine. A fun (not funny) read.
WORTH MENTIONING: Kell Sabin.
CONNECTED BOOKS: WHITE LIES is the fourth book in the loosely connected Rescues series. It can be read as a standalone.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.
Heartbreaker by Linda Howard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Pleasant Romantic Suspense Originally Published as a Category Romance
FINAL DECISION: This is an enjoyable read which hints at the more compelling Howard books. For me, the book lacks deep emotional connection with the characters and thus is more forgettable.
THE STORY: MIchelle Cabot inherited her father’s ranch and found that he was deeply in debt. Recovering from an abusive marriage, Michelle is determined to prove herself by working the ranch — even without help. When she discovers that her father had taken a large loan from a neighbor, she is nervous about meeting him again. John Rafferty is the man that Michelle had a crush on years ago and she ran from the intense attraction between them. John has wanted Michelle for years even as he thought her a useless ornament. Now he considers making her his mistress in order to give her an easier life but MIchelle is determined to prove herself a strong woman.
OPINION: I typically really like Howard’s older category romances. They are where I first discovered her before she began writing her popular romantic suspense novels. HEARTBREAKER is a good book but has never had the depth and interest of the other books in this series or her Mackenzie books. I didn’t feel as much connection with or between the main characters and this left me somewhat detached from the story. Not a waste of time read, but not necessarily one I love to revisit.
WORTH MENTIONING: This book is one of the earlier books dealing with domestic abuse.
CONNECTED BOOKS: HEARTBREAKER is the third book in the Rescues series. It can be read as a standalone as it only has a small connection to the second book in the series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.
Diamond Bay by Linda Howard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
One of My Old Time Favorites
FINAL DECISION: This old time romantic suspense book is one of my favorites. I love the strong dominant hero who is completely undone by the determined and independent heroine.
THE STORY: Rachel Jones, a widow and former investigative reporter, finds a man washed up on her beach. Rachel came home after her job caused the death of her husband. She now runs two souvenir shops and writes. She the stranger washes up on her beach, her instincts tell her to keep it quiet. Instead she cares for him herself. Kell Sabin is the chief of a shadowy group of U.S. agents. An attempt on his life has left him weak and vulnerable and in the Rachel’s hands. Danger surrounds the two as they grow closer even as Kell knows that they have no future because he must be alone to do his work.
OPINION: This book was one of the first romantic suspense books I ever read. I loved that this story had suspense but focused on the romance. It is limited because of the length of the novel and its origin as a category romance. The characters are more complex than a normal category romance and the story is exciting and the relationship complicated. Kell is determined to be alone because of the possible pain his life presents, but he cannot hold out against the determined love of a strong woman. I also loved that Rachel loves Kell and so she accepts him totally even if that means that he will leave her. No whining from Rachel even as her life is turned upside down. The book is part of the serious alpha male hero trend in the 1980s but Rachel is no naive innocent. She is strong and a partner.
WORTH MENTIONING: This book was first published as a category romance in the late 1980s.
CONNECTED BOOKS: DIAMOND BAY is the second book in the Rescues series. It has overlapping characters with the first book in the series MIDNIGHT RAINBOW. DIAMOND BAY can be read as a standalone but is more enjoyable as a companion to MIDNIGHT RAINBOW.
STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.