Ms. Lane’s books when I read Back in the Soldiers’ Arms. It even inspired my post about cheating heroes, and overall I thought it was a great story. It takes a good author to make me enjoy a Romance with a cheating hero and I really enjoyed that book.
I was anxiously anticipating The Navy SEAL’s Bride, not only because I like Ms. Lane’s books, but also because the hero played a minor role in Back in the Soldier’s Arms. Unfortunately, instead of the great, emotional story I was expecting, I got a mess of a heroine and an even worse hero.
I wanted to write a post about why this book didn’t work for me because fragile and breakable aren’t “qualities” I want my heroine to have. A post about how a hero that finds weakness sexy and appealing is huge turnoff. I wanted to give a detailed account of why I thought the book was so wrong, but instead, I decided to add some of the quotes that perfectly illustrate what I wanted to convey. Of course you can always read the book and judge by yourself. In the meantime I’ll let the quotes speak for themselves:
Harsh words are heavy:
"Caitlin looked fragile enough to snap beneath the weight of harsh words"
*Sigh* (emphasis mine):
"Because she was like a fragile bird, Caitlin was. There was something scared within her, something he couldn’t put his finger on, that told him she’d be too easy to break. And he wanted to be the one to make her strong."
The hero’s alpha senses are tingling:
"Caitlin looked at him shyly, as if she didn’t know what she wanted. 'I need you to be gentle with me,' she said.
Tom didn’t need to be told twice. He’d already sensed she was fragile and it was time he trusted his instincts again."
Here I started counting the times the word “fragile” appeared in the book (surprisingly, only five times):
"'Do I?' she questioned, looking so fragile it physically pained him."
Is she a woman or a nervous horse?:
"Caitlin shut her eyes as he gently guided her shoe and then her sock off, his hands touching her as if she were a breakable doll that needed the most careful of attention. His touch was soft enough that it almost calmed her."
If you think the heroine is bad, wait until you see how creepy the hero is!:
"Caitlin was gorgeous, a knockout, in the sweetest, most appealing of ways. Not overconfident or brazenly attractive, but soft and gentle-looking, beautiful like a perfectly proportioned doll.
And she was tiny. His little ballerina was tiny and breakable-looking…"
The Cobra and the Wilting Flower would be an awesome title:
"'Um, having fun, dancing, you know,' she said, voice slightly slurred. 'But my head’s starting to hurt.' She let her forehead fall into her hands, suddenly looking as weak as a wilting flower in the sun. 'Tom, you’re not going to hurt me, are you?'
She was watching his hand where he was resting it, clenched on the table, as if it were a cobra ready to bite. Tom shook his head. Was she actually scared of him? He was used to being the protector, was used to his role being so clearly defined."
Too little, too late (emphasis mine):
Tears sprang into Caitlin’s eyes, but she fought them, tried hard not to show it, because she didn’t want him to think she was weak.
This book was equal parts disappointing and infuriating. Damsels in distress are not my thing. I don’t have anything against fragile heroines that find their inner strength and overcome their own emotional obstacles throughout the story. But if a heroine has to grow and find strength, I want her to do it because of herself, not because of a man.
Review by Brie
Too much armor to let anyone close... Ex-navy SEAL Tom Cartwright is struggling to return to civilian life. His little niece is his only ray of sunshine and he agrees to be the "show" in her school show-and-tell.
Teacher Caitlin Rose knows all about past disappointments-once, she danced in the spotlight but now she shows others how to. She's learned the hard way to rely only on herself. Yet as soon as Tom looks at her with those big brown eyes, she's done for....
Ex-navy SEAL Tom Cartwright is struggling to return to civilian life. His little niece is his only ray of sunshine and he agrees to be the "show" in her school show-and-tell.
Teacher Caitlin Rose knows all about past disappointments—once, she danced in the spotlight but now she shows others how to. She's learned the hard way to rely only on herself. Yet as soon as Tom looks at her with those big brown eyes, she's done for….
Can Caitlin crack the walls around this soldier's battle-worn heart?
Harlequin. August 1, 2012