(This is the last of the batch of romance novels I got, so you don't have to be flooded with these posts for weeks).
's recommendation, I got Kinley MacGregor's Born in Sin
, as scottishlass
promised me this is a "mad, bad, dangerous to know hero redeemed by love of heroine" done right.
I am about a third in and I love love love it to bits, despite it breaking two of my cardinal romance novel rules, both having to do with naming. The book is set in 12th century Scotland and England and the secondary characters have normal names, but hero and heroine? Oh my. The Scottish heroine is named Caledonia. Now, this is a fine name for a body of land but as a name for a 12th-century Scotswoman? You mean, her parents named her for the Roman name for Scotland? Bizarre. But that is as nothing compared to hero's name which is...Sin. Indeed. Let's pause for a moment while we digest it. Yes, he's a 12th-century English/Scottish nobleman with this name. To give MacGregor credit, she tries to justify it by saying he had other name(s) but this is the one he gave himself because he has ISSUES. I'd say he has issues, with a name like that! I promise you, author, naming him Robert or John would not have made him any less manly.
Anyway, despite the naming nightmare, I am really adoring the book - the heroine is strong-willed and smart and knows how to fight and is awesome. And I like the hero - he never inspires me with the slightest desire to smack him because issues/reputation or whatever is going on, he never treats heroine in any way but well and with respect. scottishlass
clued me in that MacGregor is another penname for Sherrilyn Kenyon, the author of the Dark-Hunter novels I used to really wallow in a couple of years back but I am beginning to think I would have figured this out even if she didn't tell me. Not only is Kenyon's obsession with tall heroes and heroines present (plenty of romance novel authors have tall heroes, but few like to have towering heroines as well) but there is the whole trademark Kenyon thing of giving the male protagonist a background horrifying beyond imagining. Her Acheron
was the only romance novel (though tbh I don't even think it qualifies as a romance novel - 4/5 of it have no romance whatsoever) which literally gave me nightmares. I don't think I could have gotten through it at all if I started it after I had Baby Mousie. In fact, with Acheron, when the romance did start, it didn't really work for me because the previous 4/5th of the book not only left me shell-shocked but also with a firm conviction that what the hero needed was not a girlfriend but more years of therapy than immortality could get him and not to be touched by anyone in any fashion ever again. And maybe amnesia. And drugs. Though as the heroine was very vanilla and naive, this is about as good as it could get for him - if he fell for someone with even the slightest taste for kink, that would have been a disaster.
The hero of BiS doesn't have it as bad as the hero of Acheron but it's still plenty awful. Seriously awful. The preface to Acheron seemed to indicate Kenyon was an abuse survivor herself so I wonder if she's working her demons out that way. Acheron did seem horribly personal.
OK, this is sort of a digression...