Passion by Lisa Valdez is a good debut. However I did have a few problems. The premise of the story starts with a single letter from Lucinda, telling her childhood friend, Abigail, about her indiscretion. Several years later, Abigail sees the letter as a coupe for her daughter, Charlotte, to be a countess. Let the
screwing games begin!
Lucinda’s oldest son, Mark, is devastated by the letter and tries his best to fix things even if it destroys his own plans for the future. This pretty much is the plot of the story which isn’t bad. Also, a warning to those of a sensitive nature: this book uses explicit language and the sex scenes are pretty raw. Kudos here for Ms. Valdez as I wasn’t skimming them. The only problem I had here was the lack of sexual chemistry initially between the two characters. I thought it felt rushed and it was never fully established or sustained enough for me. It didn’t really affect the sex scenes much as they were pretty hot but I wish there was more to these characters besides lust. Also, I never really felt a real attraction between them other than Mark wanting Passion’s body, which goes on for more than half the book. Eventually, it gets beyond that.
The numerous love scenes were nicely done as the author made a point of keeping the protagonists separated after, showing them in their everyday life after they’ve left the Crystal Palace. The reader didn’t feel overwhelmed with sex, sex, sex. It worked. The characters were intriguing but one-dimensional. There wasn’t enough depth to them. We never really learn much about them other than what is needed to move the story along. Passion is a widow who was in a cold marriage with a husband who couldn’t satisfy her sexually or made her feel sexually inadequate. Mark certainly puts a stop to that thinking quick. So when she meets Mark at the Crystal Palace, it becomes their own world where she is the center of attention. Sex with a stranger gives her the freedom to be herself. Also, the fantasy of having sex with a stranger is something that some women fantasize about. The funny thing for me is that if this was a contemporary, I probably wouldn’t have finished this book because the reality of it would have interfered. But that’s me.
In conclusion, character development was a major problem for me. It was half-way done and could have made this book smash all the competition with one swoop. Rarely do you have well developed characters and hot sex all in one book. Robin Schone did it once and it was good – The Lady’s Tutor. I didn’t really care for her follow-ups, however. Lisa Valdez, can only get better and this makes Passion such a difficult book to grade as I did enjoy reading it despite the flaws and I guess that says a lot. I have faith that Ms. Valdez can and will get better. For a first book, she impressed me. It’s a recommend from me if you don’t mind explicit language and numerous sex scenes.
Other aspects of reading that I usually look for like emotional intensity was not there for me. You have to have well developed characters for that for me. But this book entertained me, no doubt about it. I agree with the reviewer at AAR, if I was grading this book, it would be a strong B from me as well. I see the problems with the book but I also see a lot of promise from this author. We’ll just have to wait and see what she does with Patience. Looking forward to it.
[tags]Lisa Valdez, Historical Romance Author[/tags]