05 January 2013

Desert Prince, Bride of Innocence (Pregnant Brides No. 1; Harlequin Presents No. 2884)


Synopsis: Prince Jasim bin Hamid al Rais was concerned that his womanizing elder brother was bewitched by his child's nanny – the throne of Quaram could be threatened by scandal! Though Elinor Tempest appeared to be a fragile beauty, Jasim wasn't fooled; he'd deal with this strumpet himself...

Only after he'd ruthlessly seduced her did Jasim discover Elinor really had been a virgin – and she'd fallen pregnant! A royal baby couldn't be born out of wedlock so, faster than the desert wind, Elinor became Jasim's unwanted bride...

First line: His royal highness, Prince Jasim bin Hamid al Rais, frowned when his aide told him that his brother's wife was waiting to see him.

Stats for my copy: Mass market paperback, published by Harlequin Enterprises Limited, 2010; purchased at a library book sale.

My thoughts: Before I start, I will confess that romances with heroes who are billionaires, royalty, princes/kings, sheiks, etc, are my least favorite. I'm not into fairy tales and someday-my-prince-will-come (though I do love the TV show “Once Upon A Time”), and while I'm fine with a hero who has a lot of money, I'm not really into extravagance, which seems to go hand in hand with royalty. So this book already had a mark against it when I picked it up. That being said, I have read and enjoyed some stories that fall within these parameters (Jane Porter can always suck me in), and I have a pretty open mind when it comes to reading, my disinclination to ever crack open a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey notwithstanding. So I always go in with high hopes.

Unfortunately, they were not met this time around. I felt bombarded by all the adjectives in the book. Nothing is described simply, but rather with several words where one or two might suffice. If you love flowery descriptions, then this author probably will appeal to you. For example:

His firmly modelled lips compressed, he lifted his dark imperious head high. (page 12)
Sheathed in a faultlessly cut black business suit that was the last word in tailored sophistication, Jasim looked spectacularly handsome and stylish. For a split second, Elinor collided with deep-set dark golden eyes that glittered like fire in the impassive planes of his bronzed face. (page 78)
Glorious red hair framed the pale beauty of her face and her emerald green eyes were bright with umbrage. She was fizzing with impotent rage at his condemnation and the sight in no way cooled his deep abiding anger with her. (page 134)
Separately, those quotes don't look so bad, but 184 pages of those constant descriptions was wearying.

I like an alpha hero, but Jasim just did not appeal to me at all. He was insufferably arrogant and constantly accusing Elinor of being a slut or a gold-digger, though in more flowery and elegant words than mine. Elinor was young and inexperienced, so I could forgive her for her foolishness. And she was sweet enough, but kind of bland. Or maybe she just seemed bland next to Jasim.

The point when they finally admit to themselves and to each other that they love each other was very satisfying. It was just a tedious road to get there.

And one more small gripe, which might be considered a spoiler so stop if you hate those:

Elinor sneaks away from Jasim and they are then apart for 18 months. I find it very hard to believe that Jasim, with all his money and power, coud not track her down quicker than that. Seriously.

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