- Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Mallard (2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0821773984
- ISBN-13: 978-0821773987
- Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.7 x 3.3 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,407,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
While her hero, Fawkes, was more likeable and human, her heroine did nothing for me and her behavior was silly from start to finish. She has this great guy who has dreamed of rescuing her from her brutal husband and giving her a good life for years, and she repays him by betraying him and lying to him continuously.
Another problem I had with this story was a lot of the dialogue. I know for a fact that the four letter "F" word did not exist in England during the 1100's, and it is used excessively here. Also, Donovan has a habit of repeating a lot of words. One reviewer said that she uses the word Quim a lot and I totally agree. I got so tired of reading phrases like, "Her throbbing quim," or "Her wet quim." Instead of the sexy scene it was intended to be, I was laughing.
All in all, No Surrender did not hold my interest. It might not have been so bad if it was labeled erotica, but when I read a romance novel, I want to read about romance.
First, I don't expect a romance to contain an extremely high caliber of writing. However, I do get frustrated reading romances where I know the writer is lazy. I was unable to smoothly read this story because I kept pausing to reword sentences. Too many hads...had this and had done that...passive voice is a killer for prose.
In comparison, "Stealing Heaven" by Madeline Hunter brims with sharp prose. It's in the present, it draws you in and captures you. It's not lazy. I haven't finished it yet, but the prologue in and of itself is superior to the quality of the writing in this novel.
Secondly, holy mother...how many times can you say quim in a row? How many more times can you squeeze wet quim into one paragraph? After the first few chapters all the wet quims wearied me. It's as if the author plugged in an automated "fantasy" blurb whenever she thought the protagnists needed to agnoze and think about sex (which is frequently). But, as with most blurbs, there is no true heat, no passion borne of discovering a delicious mind in a delicious body...it was all body and it didn't make me feel anything but vaguely repulsed. If I'm going to read graphic things, at least make it passionate. This was like trying to imagine two machines going at it. Not romantic and not attractive.
That said, there is a glimmer in this novel. The author is effective in relaying her setting and I think with a bit more soul and a bit more care for the prose, it could have been fabulous.
It's a light read, and probably an okay read if you aren't in a picky mood.
Love? Personally I saw little evidence of love between these two characters unless you equate love with sex. After spending two hours in a dark room having sex, he decides he is in love with her (!) and spends the next three years on crusade completely celibate for her and planning to rescue the lady from her husband when he gets home. He's built her up to be some sort of paragon or goddess and is bound to be disappointed. And he is. When he returns to rescue her, he is betrayed by her as she has warned her husband that he is coming. What Fawkes doesn't know is that she is trying to protect someone and will scheme and plot no end to protect this person. But Fawkes prevails, they marry and it is nothing like he has dream about for three long years. There is so much tension, so many lies, so much distrust between them and all can be laid at Nicola's door. Her scheming is endless and rarely works out the way she hopes. She seems to just make things worse and worse to the point that Fawkes finally will trust not a word she says. Very sad since he has loved her from the beginning (or at least he thought he did). I felt so sorry for Fawkes. He was a good, kind man mistreated by a woman who refused to trust him - though you can cut her some slack since her first husband was such a pig.
This would have been a much better book if there had been any non-sexual relationship between these two characters. You'd think given the way they started out and that they haven't seen each other in three years, that they would spend some time trying get to know each other. But they have very litte conversation with each other and spend little time together. Instead they are immediately estranged and are only brought together in the end when a tragedy nearly takes one of them. But again, I was so disappointed that they are brought back together by sex - not by honesty, words of love or affection. What a let down.
If you are simply looking for an erotic story, I suppose this book will suit. But if you want more emotional depth and feeling between the couple this falls short. Emma Holly blends the erotic and emotional much better (see Beyond Seduction/Innocence).
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