Top positive review
A Feminist text?
on 20 January 2015
This is a really modern Mills & Boon with changing attitudes clearly visible in the story. The story is as follows:
Lizzie, an interior designer, is in loads of debt but responsible for her sisters and her twin nephews. The house is about to be repossessed and they’re struggling to put food on the table. It’s all down to the credit crunch, you see, and Lizzie’s business failing during that time (who needs an interior designer when everybody’s skint?) One of Lizzie’s ex-clients can’t pay her and offers her a deal in a Greek apartment block instead. It turns out to be a fraudulent deal and she ends up face to face with Ilios Manos, with him saying she owes him a lot of money (money she hasn’t got). How is she to pay him? We-e-e-lll…. it’s a Mills and Boon, so quelle surprise! Ilios decides he needs a wife and that she’ll do. He’ll also pay her £100k to pretend to be his wife until he has concocted some dealings of his own and then to go away again. This seems like a better option than the local food bank/homeless shelter to Lizzie, so she accepts. The problem is that Lizzie finds Ilios very attractive – the inevitable happens and she ends up pregnant (probably with twins). There’s no spoiler here when I say that by p. 189, they’re all set to live happily ever after.
It sounds like a traditional romance – but there is something a bit different about this one. Whereas previous Jordan heroines would have gone all out to fabricate fibs about their desire for the hero, Lizzie is a truly modern woman, embracing her animal nature and admitting she wants him. She’s not afraid to admit her emotions either telling Ilios she loves him and not obsessing about it. Indeed, Ilios is the damaged one in this text – reluctant to accept love from anyone and hating her (briefly) when she gets pregnant. (Apparently that was all her fault.) In fact, it’s hard to see why Lizzie loves Ilios so much. Okay, he looks like a Greek god, but he’s just not very nice. He admits he’s done time in prison, and has basically cheated his way to being a billionaire. He repeatedly accuses her of having no honour and harping on and on about what an honourable chap he is; but really, it’s a case of the pot calling the kettle black. When he does eventually admit his love for Lizzie, she really has redeemed him and saved him from himself. In that case, this is no longer such a patriarchal romance (as Mills and Boons tend to be), but is, in fact, a feminist text. Amazing, hey? Who would have thought it? And what it does show is the adaptability of Jordan to be a thoroughly modern author – she may have written 187 novels across three decades but she adapted her heroines and plots to change with the times. It’s just one of the reasons why I like her work so much. This is a great example of her work – the romance in it is well developed and one can really relate to Lizzie’s heartaches. Great for a good emotional read. (Just one criticism – the kindle edition has LOADS of typos in it – annoying, but it’s still a good story)