Wednesday, November 19, 2008

November's TBR Challenge

The Sea Wife by Holly Cook
Published: 2003

Amazon Blurb: When Myles Dampier saved her from drowning, Sabina Grey imagined him to be a selkie; a legendary seducer from the deep who meant doom to foolish maidens. He was no myth, however, but a flesh and blood Englishman - one who resembled a hardened pirate but acted as tender nursemaid, one she fell in love with and married on the high seas.

Yet once in London, Myles became a virtual stranger. He'd returned from exile in Australia to avenge himself on those who had stolen his youth. And he would use any means - even his new wife - to do so. But the man who had saved Sabina's life would not destroy her spirit and her heart with his obsession for vengeance. This time, she vowed, she would rescue him. She would show him that punishing the sins of the past, wasn't worth sacrificing the love in his future.

I'm a bit conflicted on this month's TBR challenge.
I started earlier this time - didn't leave it to the last minute like I have in the past. I started reading the book and I have to say, I really enjoyed it for a while and was going on like gang busters. But then something happened. The hero was an ass! Although we didn't know it for a while, he was pretty cold and calculating. He was unforgivably cruel to the heroine. I quite liked Sabrina. She lost everything in life. Earlier her father had passed away and she was on her way back to England when the ship she sailing on sunk during a storm. She lost all her possessions, the couple she was traveling with didn't make along with most of the people on the ship. Just as she was a death's door, she was rescued by Myles Dampier the hero(?)
I admit he was an intriguing character at first, mysterious and rather aloof. The time on the ship that rescued them was pretty good. But then we got to see the motivation behind what Myles was and why he was the way he was. Years earlier he'd been unfairly sent to Australia as a prisoner when his 'crime' was eloping with the woman he loved. Now he's become a self-made man and has returned to wreck vengeance on the people he thinks wronged him. And marrying Sabrina was just part of his plot. He withheld things from her and was needlessly cruel. I ended up skimming this one until the end when Myles confesses the error of his ways and professes his undying love. He makes the sacrifice of being willing to let her go, if that's what she really wanted. Of course she chose not to, but I think she would have been better off served leaving.
Now for why I found this book conflicting. The storyline was interesting. The writing was pretty good. But it was told entirely from Sabrina's POV - as far as I could tell. I got halfway through before the skimming started and still by that time we hadn't been in Myles' head at all. If the author had switched, and we got to see some of Myles' inner turmoil and why he felt he needed to continually hurt Sabrina, the book would have been so much better I think.
As far as I can tell, this is her only book and it was written in 2003. I would like to see more of this author and see if she could write a more sympathetic hero. She has a lot of potential, but it just wasn't realized for me in this book.

Final grade: 3 out of 5


Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

I hate cruel heroes, especially when they are asses to the heroine.
Please tell me there is no "forced seductions" in this one.

Anonymous said...

The cruel hero and heroine-POV-only seem to go together a lot. Perhaps because they're both kind of old-fashioned. -- willaful

Renee said...

Hmm...I've been thinking about the whole "revenge" plot device lately. I LOVE Lisa Kleypas, but am not really enjoying Someone to Watch Over Me, and I think it's that when the hero is willing to exact revenge to the exclusion of other things, it's a character flaw that I just can't get over. Even with the hero's POV, I just keep thinking that characters that are willing to use others to exact revenge aren't really fantasy material. (And that's really a big part of romance, isn't it?)

Now, the only exception to this I can think of is when it's a romantic comedy where often the revenge (and vengeful character) is a source of humor and it undercuts the nastier side of revenge.

Hope your next book is more enjoyable!