Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Passion by Lisa Valdez

A woman called Passion. A man who would make her true to her name.

In her second year of mourning, lovely young widow Passion Elizabeth Dare never dreamed she would be with a man again – and certainly no a complete stranger. But amidst the crowds of London’s Crystal Palace, Passion finds herself discreetly, yet insistently, pursued by a sensual gentleman who awakens her long-suppressed desires. After a loveless marriage of restrained propriety, Passion abandons herself to true bliss for the first time.

Intoxicated by his encounter with the beautiful stranger, Mark Randolph Hawkmore, Earl of Langley, cannot wait to have her again. As a series of rapturous rendezvous follows, he and his mystery lover find something rare and wonderful blossoming between them. But a blackmail scheme against the Earl threatens to destroy everything. As a scandal brews, each will have to choose between duty and desire…their love for their families – and their love for each other.


This is my first impression of the book – crass – thanks to the explicit language and graphic sex scenes. This book is categorized as Historical Romance, but it reads like an Erotica – at least the first-half does – with sex scenes fairly littering across the pages.

This story feels like it’s made up of two parts.

The first-half is about Passion and Mark being sexually obsessed with each other. The book begins with their first meeting in a crowded museum, and they quickly proceed to have sex behind a screen in that same museum. They meet a few more times at the same place for the same thing. Up to this point, I really didn’t like either of them. Mark borders on being obnoxious. He seems to be drawn to Passion simply because she is beautiful, and also because she doesn’t mind accommodating his considerable sexual appetite and physical size. Passion seems helplessly bound by the sexual gratification that only Mark can give her. Also, I find it rather dubious that a woman of her morals and upbringing will so easily succumb to a complete stranger.

The second-half is where the reader’s heart is wrenched and squeezed. Out of the blue, Mark and Passion’s characters come alive and they begin to garner the reader’s sympathy. Need I mention that this miraculous turn of event happens when the sex stops? And about time too! I began to feel for them. When they have to go their separate ways, my heart broke a little. When Mark cries, I cried too. Yup … the second-half is a tear-jerker. And that makes the HEA so satisfying.

I hated the first-half but liked the second-half. First-half is crass and cold; second-half has a lot of heart and soul.

The secondary characters are well-portrayed. Most of them are realistic and their characterizations are true. Mark’s brother, Matthew, who is the hero of the next book, stands out as a secondary character and I liked him a lot.

As much as I liked the latter part of the book, I’m afraid this story fell short for me because of two main reasons. Firstly, sex takes place too soon and too often, and this spoils the entire feel of the story. Secondly, the over-the-top crude language reduces this potentially heart-felt story to a mere casual read.


My rating3
Sensuality ratingBurning

11 comments:

Brie said...

Hi Jace,

I have not read this book but I've heard a lot about it. A lot! Your review pretty much falls in line with all of the comments I've read about Passion. I'm tempted to get it just to see for myself what all of the hoopla is about.

I do know that the author was supposed to do two follow up books about Passion's sisters but after all of the negative feedback she received about Passion she got writers block.

Jace said...

Hi Brie,

I heard a little about the book, and what I heard didn't inspire me to buy it when it first came out. It was only recently that my bookstore re-stocked it, and I honestly don't know what happened to me that day - I suddenly became the proud owner of it! *grin* This is my official excuse. LOL

Anyway, 2 of my 3 reading buddies LOVE it to bits. So I thought I'd give it a go with the other reading buddy who hadn't read it. Turned out both of us didn't like it very much.

I also know that the author got hate mails from disgruntled readers! That's kind of extreme, don't you think? It's only a book! I had never imagined that a romance author would get hate mails!

Brie said...

Oh yea, that hate mail was too extreme. I can understand not liking a book but to dislike it so much that you are inspired to harass the author? That is a bit much.

If I don't like a book I take it back and exchange it for a new one then never think about it again. Sending the author hate mail never crosses my mind.

Jace said...

Brie, you mean if you don't like a book, you can actually exchange it for another book? Wow ... that's wonderful! This is never done in my country. And to think that books are so expensive here - the cost of a new paperback novel is equivalent to 4 lunches.

Meriam said...

I read this book a few years ago, and didn't love it - probably for the reasons you mention, Jace. But I thought Patience (the follow-up) looked interesting, and that Valdez had a strong voice I thought would improve with time and experience.

I wonder if it'll ever see the light of day. I would certainly buy it. It seems so strange to me that a writer would be *that* effected by negative feedback, particularly as she seemed to have as many admirers as detractors. Not to mention, any strong reaction is kind of a positive thing - it means your work had an impact, don't you think?

Anyway - happy new year!

Jace said...

Hi Meriam,

But I thought Patience (the follow-up) looked interesting, and that Valdez had a strong voice I thought would improve with time and experience.

Yes, Patience does look interesting but I won't be buying it. I've decided that Valdez is not for me.

It seems so strange to me that a writer would be *that* effected by negative feedback, particularly as she seemed to have as many admirers as detractors.

I'm sure there are many who love this book. I guess she was really shaken by all the extreme animosity, which couldn't have been easy to ignore.

Not to mention, any strong reaction is kind of a positive thing - it means your work had an impact, don't you think?

This book has certainly launched her into the spotlight. Also, all the strong reaction has pushed up the sales, I'm sure. As for the impact, yes, it certainly has that ... but for me, it's of the negative kind. :)

Happy New Year to you too.

Vicious Trollop said...

Everyone I know either loved or hated this book.

I think I'm more like you, somewhere in between.

My biggest problem was with Mark's penis which was like a secondary character. I couldn't stomach the endless pages of description about it and his testicles. Once was more than enough for me LOL

Jace said...

Hi VT ... welcome!

My biggest problem was with Mark's penis which was like a secondary character. I couldn't stomach the endless pages of description about it and his testicles. Once was more than enough for me LOL

Yes, I know! *grin* It was horrific, wasn't it, how much limelight it got in the first-half of the story? LOL I kept wondering whether I was reading a romance or a porn/erotica.

Brie said...

Brie, you mean if you don't like a book, you can actually exchange it for another book?

Sorry for responding so late, Jace.

Yes, a book can be returned or exchanged before the thirty day mark, as long as it is still in good condition. At my local Borders, anyway.

I know how expensive books are in different countries. I have a friend who lives in Germany and she's told me about the high prices there too.

She also told me that the bookstores in Germany sell each JR Ward book book in two parts. So she read half of Lover Unbound and had to come up with the money to read the other half! I couldn't believe it. The book stopped halfway through.

Craziness.

Jace said...

Brie, my local Borders doesn't offer this thirty-day exchange/return service!

The 2-part Ward books are unreal! I'm just guessing ... are they the German editions, not US or UK?

Brie said...

Yes, they were German editions. :)