Wednesday, January 18, 2017

seriously romantic: first comes desire by tina donahue

i'm always up for a romance novel that takes place in an exotic locale, because nine times out of ten they take place in america or the british isles. first comes desire takes place in madagascar, so interesting location is definitely a box it checks.

unfortunately, it also checks the ridiculous purple prose box--actual phrases include "meaty balls" and "beefy rod," which, um, are not sexy. i personally prefer not to think of raw meat when sex is happening. and even more unfortunate, the way this love story develops is totally schizophrenic.

diana has hunted tristan down because she thinks he kidnapped her brother--he didn't. when he gets the better of her, he locks himself in her bedroom, and tells her she wants him, kisses her when she says no, and informs her that the children she will bear him will not be bastards because they are getting married.

then when his crew demands a turn with her, he seemingly acquiesces without a fight, lets her think his quartermaster is going to rape her, only haha, it turns out he wasn't actually going to do that. it's all a ruse to allow them to escape to tristan's private island. during the boat ride over diana suffers some sort of thought transplant because instead of being pissed at him for all of the above actions, she wants him to commit to her for love and not desire. and doesn't fight marrying him on the beach when they land on the island.

the push and pull between the leads continues this way until they solve their main issue with the left behind crew and the evil canela, the token native girl in love/lust with our hero,  the original villian of the piece, benedict bishop earns barely a mention, which is super bizarre, but oh well. with diana spouting so many misogynistic ideas about being a wife that as a modern woman and a feminist it's all a bit hard to take. i don't mind an alpha hero, i don't mind a dominant either because usually behind the dominance and alpha-hole attitudes there is an underlying respect for women. but tristan wasn't written consistently for this to be true. and diana swings between badass and ninny too many times to count. and this is such a shame because i thought there was a good idea here. it just suffers terribly in the execution.

**first comes desire will publish on february 7, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/kensington books (lyrical press) in exchange for my honest review. 

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