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Book Review: Secret Admirer

Secret Admirer

Secret Admirer by Susan Napier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We have a couple of appointments today, so I was going to reread this Napier title during the inevitable hanging around in waiting rooms with no or terrible magazines in their lounge area. But I ended up gulping this steamy novel down last night.

Back when I was a voracious reader of Mills & Boon, Napier was my favourite of their authors. & this was my second favourite of her titles. But I’m thinking if I did reread some of the others…well, some would definitely stand the test of time better than this one!

Obviously, since I am giving it 4★ and read it at the speed of sound, I didn’t hate it. But the whole plot was based on the hero behaving like a creepy stalker and The Twist. (side note: I heard Ms Napier speak while she was working out the plot for this novel – so I was actively looking for this novel for a couple of years. Knowing The Twist didn’t spoil the book for me at all, but I can certainly understand other readers being annoyed at the spoiler filled reviews on Goodreads.) This was a very original idea at the time.

I’ve just finished reading

The Passionate Pen New Zealand's Romance Writers Talk to Rachel McAlpine by Rachel McAlpine

and Ms Napier mentions that the very short word counts on modern Harlequin Mills & Boon make it hard to do much plot or character development. This book could have used another 5k words I think, because most of the plot was the h & H snarling at each other. In spite of this, Grace and Scott were appealing both physically and in character. The sex scenes were pretty hot.

Weak resolution of a couple of plot strands, but still would recommend.…

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Book Review: The Passionate Pen

The Passionate Pen: New Zealand's Romance Writers Talk to Rachel McAlpine

The Passionate Pen: New Zealand’s Romance Writers Talk to Rachel McAlpine by Rachel McAlpine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


For me to analyse what the romance writers say would be a breach of trust. Our explicit understanding was that they would speak for themselves, and they have vetted my edited transcripts of our conversations…

Rachel McAlpine

And this is both this books strength and it’s weakness, as the interviewed authors trusted noted NZ author McAlpine enough to open up to her about their lives, but it can be short on biographical specifics.

But their lives are all interesting. Some come from backgrounds of considerable hardship. Many had to leave school early because their father’s business was failing, some were isolated in ramshackle farm houses. Mary Moore says that in the first five years of her marriage the only female visitor she had was when her mother came to stay. Some of their manuscripts were posted overseas and there was no response, positive or negative for months.Many of these women milked cows, churned butter. Still want to sneer over them wanting to escape into light romance?

A positive common theme is the great affection the older writers had for Alan Boon from Mills and Boon who was endlessly supportive. Essie Summers went out of her way to help other romance writers and became a close personal friend of some of them, in particular Gloria Bevan and Miriam Macgregor. Some like Eva Burfield and Daphne Clair wrote in other genres.

In New Zealand, romance writers are very supportive to one another; in this I suspect they differ from “serious” writers. People who write literary books depend on grants for survival…

Jessie Nichols

She could also have added that the NZ literary elite can be snobbish and envious of those that enjoy commercial success.

In spite of all the hardships I had a sense that these were happy women who had enjoyed rewarding lives, other than Rachelle Swift A tough childhood in England, followed by a difficult life in New Zealand.

ButRobyn Donald still going strong – a new title Claimed by her Billionaire Protector was published last year.

Ms McAlpine’s sensitive touch has allowed us to get to know these women. I’ve tried to use this book to fill in gaps in their biographies on Goodreads. Romance now if not a more respected genre, at least women (and men) can be more open about enjoying it.

This quote isn’t from this book,but I can’t resist using it!

“On romance books: We might assume then that men, major consumers of thrillers, westerns, and detective fiction, enjoy being beaten up, tortured, shot, stabbed, dragged by galloping horses, and thrown out of moving vehicles.”

Daphne Clair

Indeed. Why the assumptions that romance readers are the only readers who can’t tell the difference between real life and fiction?…

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