Monday, April 09, 2007

Dreaming of You; L. Kleypas

I know there are quite a few romance readers out there who feel Derek Craven is the bestest, hottest, most tortured romance hero ever- except maybe Jamie Frazer. I like Derek. I agree he's right up there as far as the deprived, tortured soul aspect. Not so sure on the bestest, hottest part though. Derek Craven is a prostitute's get, raised in the deepest slums of London by sympathetic prostitutes after his mother leaves him in the gutter. After a harrowing childhood on the streets, he's the owner of London's most posh, upscale gambling den. Like many deprived souls before him, Derek finds comfort in amassing material items and money as a hedge against past privations. Derek has also hidden many of his finer qualities behind a protective facade designed to keep the unobservant at bay.

I had the most problems with Derek's love interest, Sara Fielding. Raised by older indulgent parents, Sara manages to be an intrepid adventuress & author- yet Ms. Kleypas asks us to believe that such a woman would seriously consider marrying Percy the henpecked, overindulged, cosseted only child whose every thought is governed by his mother. Why would Sara do this? *eye roll* *insert sarcasm here* Because Percy is safe and solid and no one else could possibly love Sara anyway. *snort* Yet this woman runs around the London slums consorting with thieves and prostitutes and slumlords without qualms or protection (she patently doesn't know how to properly shoot the pistol she carries). Lies to her parents' friends who are trying to keep her safe. Deceives her parents (& Percy, as if that should matter) and seems blithely unconcerned that such deceptions might negatively mark her character and ruin her reputation.

My biggest 'drop you right out of the story' moment occurs when a drunken Sara is in the middle of a riot in the London dockyards with one of Derek's rivals, a man she barely knows & who has an unsavory reputation even in the stews. Jenner, the man she ran out of Derek's club with, has dumped her in the middle of the street when some thugs try to make off with his horses. Derek rescues her & tells the toughs threatening to rape her, "Back off! She's mine!" or some such blather. In the middle of all this hullabaloo, while a quantity of men are trying a) rape you and b) kill you Ms. Kleypas asks the readers to believe that this is Sara's first night drinking alcohol and the first time Sara realizes she loves Derek- that she, Sara, really is his. I had to stop there & I put the book down over the long Easter weekend to try & set aside this bit of inanity. I mean really- you're drunk, you run off with a stranger who abandons you in the middle of the street in a bad part of town and a bunch of toughs try to abduct and rape you. THIS is when you realize who you love.

I did manage to put this series of actions aside & finish DOY. I like Derek (and Sara) quite a lot on either side of this night's actions. Although she continues to like Jenner even after this incident. The ending. The maniacal Joyce & her sociopath husband, who allowed Joyce to nearly murder Derek because Derek deserved it for cuckolding other husbands. The devoted friends. Etc. Almost didn't make it though.

Originally published by Avon in 1994. Haven't decided if it's a keeper since it came so close to being a DNF, but it's on the 'wait and see' shelf. Ms. Kleypas is an author I often either really like or really don't like. This is the first on the fence title (by her) for me.


Anne said...

It was a DNF for me. I couldn't get past the cockney speak. Sigh. My favorite is still Devil In Winter... Sebastian... need I say more? LOL

CindyS said...

Yikes! I guess coming back to romance reading was not all it's cracked up to be. I did love this one despite the overly sachrine Sara but I agree with Anne, I loved Sebastian more ;)


Bookwormom said...

Hi Anne- I've not read DIW yet, but it's in my TBR. MAybe I ought to have tried that one first?

Hi Cindy- Yeah, maybe I should stick w/SFF for now. Currently reading the new Mercedes Lackey Luna title (borrowed from the library, Just in case. lol)