Published by Harlequin Books Genres: Contemporary
FINAL DECISION: I enjoyed this book as an early Anne Stuart hero. I understand that some people might be offended by the heroine having feelings for her “brother” but as it was obvious that he wasn’t, I wasn’t bothered. I like the ambiguity of whether the hero is good or bad. The negative is that the heroine is not as well developed as later Stuart books.
THE STORY: Rachel Chandler comes to Hawaii to find her brother she hasn’t seen for fifteen years. Her brother, however, is a haunted man to whom Rachel feels an unnatural attraction. (Of course, the man is not her brother, which one might expect from this being a mainstream romance). Dangerous events threaten Rachel, and she needs to figure out who to trust.
OPINION: This is Stuart experimenting with another hero who has ambiguous motivations. She perfected this in the Ice series, but here the story is not as well developed, and neither are the characters. At the time this book was published in 1984, it would have been so different from other category romances. Stuart is an author who broke boundaries, and this book is attempted to go into the darker parts of romance.
Many of the taboo books now are from the Anne Stuart tree of writers. But here, she is interested in messing with the expected narrative of category romances. For much of the book, neither the heroine nor the reader knows the hero’s motives and who he is in the story. In subverting the trustworthiness of the hero, the book allows the reader to question whether it is a good idea for the heroine to get involved with him.
I liked how Stuart upends the expected story, but I didn’t think the heroine was strong enough here. She was a bit meek for my interest. Later Stuart books had stronger heroines. This book can have benefitted from Rachel being more assertive earlier in the story. The book is a bit bonkers, but I liked the twists in the story.
WORTH MENTIONING: TANGLED LIES is one of Anne Stuart’s early books. She perfected the hero who has ambiguous motives and might be the villain as sh
CONNECTED BOOKS: TANGLED LIES is a standalone.
STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.