by Elaine Hopper

November 2002
ISBN: 1-58749-334-9
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This pair of charming tales revolves around the theory that sometimes love isn’t really love but infatuation, and it takes the real thing to come along and make you realize it. However, it approaches this concept in a backwards sort of fashion. The first tale, Shipwrecked, introduces us to Katie McLaughlin, tough talking, vulnerable woman fighting to overcome the loss of her fiancé. The boat she takes away from the tropical islands just happens to explode, stranding her on an uncharted island with its captain, Scott Vanderhorne - of the very wealthy Vanderhornes. To a woman who has just been dumped by Sam Stone, of the very wealthy Stones, another rich dude is the kiss of death. But Scott’s kisses don’t kill her. On the contrary, they awaken Katie to some very solid realities.

The second tale is really the prequel to the first, because it explains how and why Sam came to dump Katie. It also involves boats, tropical islands, pirates, and this time a tornado rather than an explosion. Add to that a really big shark.

Both these tales are lighthearted fun and the characters themselves are wonderful. All four lovers are entertaining, appealing and realistic, suffering the ups and downs of romance with the usual baffled confusion and lustful responses.

Unfortunately, the plot of Wooing Jenny, the second story, is a bit of a letdown, coming on the heels of the well thought out Shipwrecked. When neither hero nor heroine is brave enough to stand up to their families and say, “go away”, it’s hard to develop much respect for them, and without that, the story is considerably weakened. It stretches our credulity to accept a grown man agreeing to marry the woman his parents have chosen for him rather than lose his inheritance. And the heroine herself should have just told her parents to butt out.

So the first tale is an absolute gem, first rate characters, lovely plot and spicy romance. The second tale is certainly worth reading, but doesn’t quite meet the high standards of the preceding story. I do recommend both, however, especially for cool winter’s night reading material... there’s nothing like a trip to the tropics, even if it’s only via the pages of a fun romance like this one.

Reviewed in December 2002 by Celia.

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