Friday, April 25, 2008

Let Me Love You by Mary Wine

TITLE: Let Me Love You
AUTHOR: Mary Wine
PUBLISHER: Samhain Publishing
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 51k)
GENRE: Historical erotic romance
COST: $4.50

Brianna Spencer is a young woman alone in the mining town of Silver Peak. With her father missing, it’s up to her keep the bank from taking their mill away, but it also makes her prime prey for every man in town, looking to get himself a wife and a potential fortune. Every man, that is, except railroad deputy Sloan McAlister. After he rescues her from a would-be suitor, he finds it impossible to get her out of his mind. But the last thing he wants is to ruin a good woman like Brianna…at least, until she asks him to…

For me, there’s a fine line historicals have to walk. Not enough detail, and I’m left wondering where and when the story is taking place. Too much, and I’m mired in a history lesson instead of a story. History doesn’t interest me. People and relationships do. That’s really the only reason I bothered finishing this book.

I suspect the author’s voice just isn’t for me. Her attention to detail is to be commended, but it weighs down huge portions of the story especially in the beginning when I’m trying to get myself hooked into the characters. The opening scene is actually quite good, with the bad guy attempting to coerce Brianna into marrying him and Sloan stepping in to save the day. But as soon as Brianna flees, it goes downhill. It drags with details about her sewing and her cooking and her virginity. I actually walked away from the story at that point. I didn’t know enough about Brianna at that point to care about her chores.

The other aspect that worked against the story is how cliché-ridden it was. If you’ve read it in a western romance before, you’ll read it again here. There was the attempted rape, the misunderstood half-breed Kiowa, threats of white slavery, a father who’s conveniently out of the picture and then brought back in with barely a blink. Everything that came out of the bad guy’s mouth made me giggle, especially his talk of planting babies in her. What he lacked in subtlety, he made up for in cliché. Poor Sloan doesn’t fare much better – “The only thing that is going to be seen is my fist coming towards your face. That’s my woman out there in the night and no one steals from me.” And for some inexplicable reason, much of Sloan’s description gets specified as “male” – he has male reactions, male scents, male nipples, male disgruntlement, male groans, crisp male body hair…you get the idea. It was just too, too much.

The reason I stuck with it as much as I did is because I liked the characters. Brianna is strong without being a bitch about it, and Sloan has his own dark alpha appeal. Once they get past his pull/push attitude of the first half, they settle into a nice, albeit familiar, relationship. My only wish is that they had a better story to serve them. The prose kept me from enjoying their tender moments, and the dialogue kept me from fearing for the heroine’s safety. That leaves very little else for me to work with in this story.


6/10 – Slow pacing, long sections of over-description, and clichéd dialogue makes it harder to get through


7/10 – An alpha with principles, he’s best when he’s charging in the latter half of the story


7/10 – Strong without being over the top

Entertainment value

4/10 – Too many clichés and long sections where all I get is description bore me too much to get any more than superficially invested in the story

World building

9/10 – The author goes to town on providing details about her historical world, so much so the rest of the story suffered.



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