Dear Romance Novel Authors,
Please do not place a sex scene in a novel just for the sake of a sex scene, I really would prefer a passionate kiss rather than an ill-placed sex scene inside a burning mill.
P.S – I don’t read romance novels for sex. I read them so that I can get lost in someone else’s life and escape mine. I read them so that I can relive the joyous occasions from my own life through the characters. When I can relate and empathize with the characters, even better!View Spoiler » Yes, you read that right! The H/h had sex in a burning mill while they were trapped, against the hot stone wall (I can assume it was hot since there was a raging fire)…..Oh yeah she had smoke inhalation the next day (should have refrained from those lusty gasps of air) and not sure about her outcome from the hot stone “happy ending” massage. Romances are getting hotter these days especially since Fifty Shades erupted off the shelves (ugh!) there’s a demand for hot, hotter and hottest sex but Sabrina Jeffries really takes the steam for an inferno sex scene!
Novellas are HARD. I get it. As an author, you have to create a believable relationship, i love yous, happy endings, weddings etc. within a 100 pages or so.
THIS HAD SO MUCH POTENTIAL!
Initially, the first five pages are meh but when the H/h start sparring about their passion for cotton mills, it gets interesting. Miss Amanda Keane is an American cotton mill heiress who is visiting her brother in England for Christmas & Lord Stephen Corry is one of the invited guests at the Christmas house party. He is an enthusiastic journalist of underage mill hiring practices who defies his station for this just cause. In his experience, all mill owners are irresponsible when it comes to the welfare of working children, and he makes the mistake of categorizing Amanda with them. She is a passionate owner who is not just ethical but also compassionate, and sparks fly when Stephen and Amanda try to each prove their point.
It was all going well with the story..and then..fire…THAT SCENE….and then THIS scene….
Lord Knightford (guest from the house party who is also part of the rescue party) pops his head through the upper window of the burning mill (isn’t this mill burning?) and it went something like this:
Lord Knightford: Oh hey “Old Boy” the mill workers are saying there’s another exit to the blocked mill
Lord Stephen/Ms Amanda: Where is it?!
Lord Knightford: ??????? errrrr..umm….BRB
Like seriously? There’s a blazing inferno at a cotton mill, two people are trapped in it, they know how quickly one of these fires can burn but yet they have sex during the fire, inside the mill and afterwards, a “rescuer” is casually bandying about, without a sense of urgency and the lack of knowledge of crucial information during a crisis AFTER he has spoken to mill workers who know the mill inside out…. WTF!?
I think what really got to me was how trivially the fire was portrayed….I felt the sense of urgency of a powerful, raging force ready to engulf anything in its path when the scene was first described and there was build-up of drama and the scenes that followed led to intimacy in an inappropriate situation and idiocy, which looses the reader completely!
What I did love was the use of historical fun facts of Victorian Christmas traditions of mistletoe berries and how it was used to shape the story. Ms. Jeffries’s historical research shines through this novella (I learnt a lot!) and she does choose a particularly difficult conflict scenario for a novella and handled it well. The meeting of two people, forming an attraction and resolving the conflict of distance from two different parts of the world in Victorian England is not the easiest thing to write about within a few pages so that was a very commendable effort indeed.
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Well, I definitely had a lot to say about such a short little novella! It is worth reading just to get to those silly scenes and have your say….I wonder if that mill scene had anything to do with the title….curious and curioser….
*Thank-you Sabrina Jeffries, Netgalley & Pocket Star Books for the ARC.
**This title was previously published under the Anthology “What Happens Under the Mistletoe”