Sunday, April 19, 2009

As You Desire

The title:
As You Desire
The author: Connie Brockway
Publication: Dell, 1997
Got it from: Powells

As you may recall, I recently reviewed Bridal Favors by Connie Brockway, which so far is leading contender for my favourite book this year. I was excited to get a copy of As You Desire, because it tops many people's best-of-romance list and is supposed to be extremely funny. Plus, it's set in Victorian Egypt. What's not to love?

Unfortunately, I think I may be the only person on the entire planet who didn't love this book. I can see why other people would like it, but it just didn't do it for me. For one thing, the heroine was wayyyy too Mary Sue-ish. Even her name - Desdemona, or "Dizzy," smacks of Disney Princess. She's young, naturally, and can read twelve different languages. She's a genius, don't you know? And so beautiful, men fall all over themselves to get near her. I actually put the book down and started making gagging noises during the scene where Desdemona walks into a restaurant and -

Well, let the passage speak for itself:

"I say," Lord Ravenscroft suddenlybreathed, "Now, there is a treasure worth coveting. Have you ever seen such a piece of tiny, golden perfection?"

...Marta followed the direction of everyone's gaze to where Miss Carlisle's progress through the room was marked by a wave of men scurrying to their feet as she passed.

OH COME ON. I can tolerate that sort of nonsense in the heroine's rival, but the heroine herself? Please. Whatever happened to the heroine who is only beautiful to the man who loves her? Yes, men fall all over me when I can walk into a room, too, so I can really relate. Not.

Many women read romances for the hero, but in this case I found Harry to be - meh. Okay, so he's a spy. He has a learning disability that makes him tormented and brooding. He is also completely in love with the heroine before the story even starts, so where's the tension? Actually, they're both crazy about each other, they just can't admit it. I much prefer the slow realization of love rather than the will-they-or-won't-they stories. It would have been so much better if Harry hadn't been completely smitten from the beginning.

Honestly, I just couldn't get into this book. It took me forever to read because I just wasn't feeling it. (I can't wait for all the comments of 'but this is my favourite book ever and you ruined it you stupid harpy!') The ending was a little less annoying than the rest of the book, but by then it was far too late for me to love it.

I give As You Desire two stolen Egyptian papyruses out of five.

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