August 8, 2012

DNF Review: The Navy SEAL’s Bride by Soraya Lane

Earlier this year I discovered 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
Grade: DNF
Purchase: Amazon

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


  1. OK, totally skimmed this post since I have this book to read in my TBR....

    but this doesn't bode well.

    Here's hoping it works better for me. ::crosses fingers::

    1. I hope it works for you. Come back once you're done and let me know how you like it, maybe we can compare notes and you can tell me how it ends!

  2. I'm with you 100% Brie. I cannot stand a heroine that is weak and only finds strength because of a man. Or one that constantly relies on a man to get her out of trouble when it's been made clear she can get herself out.

    Those quotes are repetitive and I understand your frustration with this books. I think I'll be avoiding this one. Thanks!

    1. It also bothered me that the hero was so attracted to her fragility, that was just creepy, IMO.

  3. Hmmm, I can understand your frustration with this book, because it seemed the author harped on the fragile aspect of the heroine. Personally, I don't think there is anything wrong with someone being fragile. I mean, not everyone can be a kick-ass heroine... and I do hear you about not wanting her to find her strength because or for a man, but something has to spur her, right? Ah well, just too bad it didn't work for you, Brie.

    1. The problem wasn't her fragility, I love all type of heroines and at times I even prefer vulnerability over kick-ass. But this heroine was passive and flat, her whole character was about being weak. And I get what you say about love helping her find her strength, but when the guy is your strength, what happens when he leaves? I just thought it was a terrible message.

  4. I've finished it - and pretty much had the opposite reaction you did. It fell pretty comfortably into my B range. The impression I got is that the author wanted to emphasis Caitlin's fragility and the size disparity for added impact during "the Money Shot" final chapters. Because towards the end, Tom assumes that Caitlin is clueless about "his pain" and in actuality they've got a lot more in common than either of them realize. She lights into him pretty good too - which was fun to read, but I'm a sucker for heroines losing their temper.

    But yeah, she WAY overdid it IMHO. If I had to read about how teeny-tiny Caitlin was one more time my eyes were going to roll back into my head. It didn't make my brain bleed too badly though, mostly because I loved the confrontation scene, and I liked the subversive aspect of Caitlin's past. We're not supposed to think of military men as being anything other than heroes - and Caitlin's past experiences are the complete opposite of that. So I found it very intriguing on that level.

    1. It’s a shame I found the descriptions of her fragility so distracting, because it seems like the ending wasn’t as bad as I expected. I wasn’t bothered by the continuous descriptions, but by the fact that he found those traits so appealing. I don’t expect every heroine to be kickass (and I don’t mind men feeling protective), but I don’t want them to be defined by just one trait (same goes for kickass). And because I was, in part, seeing her through his eyes, I felt like that weakness was all she was. But now that you mention a confrontation, I think that maybe I jumped to conclusions, especially because I was picturing a whole different ending.

      I didn’t read far enough to get more info about her past, but it seems like Ms. Lane took another risk there (like she did with the cheating hero book, I loved that one!). Maybe I’ll finish the book just to see how the contrast between her abusive father and Tom is portrayed and how she deals with it.

      I still think the book was too annoying for me, but I’m glad you liked it. See? Negative reviews are not the end of the world.

      Thanks for the great comment. I always tell people to come back and tell me how they felt about the book, but they never do!

    2. Brie: Yeah, the big ol' confrontation scene doesn't start to come forward until Chapter 11 (when the groundwork is laid) and then Caitlin starts lighting into Tom at the start of Chapter 12. So it's definitely later in the book. It also spins the "fragile" stuff around a bit - because it turns out that while Caitlin may be emotionally vulnerable in some ways, and look like she's made of glass - underneath that she's stronger than anyone gives her credit for. You'd have to be to get through what she went through, and Tom sort of has that "ah-ha!" moment.

      It's definitely a book though where you need to look past some moments in order for it to "work." The strong emphasis on "fragile" and "tiny" - plus there's a scene at a bar (Caitlin goes out with friend, Tom happens to be there, and gets jealous when he sees other guys oogling her) didn't work for me. But the ending pulled it all together, well enough, for me to end up saying, "I liked it."

    3. Oh, good! Blogger no longer thinks you're spam ;-)

      I think I needed my own ah-ha moment to finish the book, but I was too distracted. I guess I didn't think of her as being stronger than she was portrayed, but it made sense that she would be, considering what she went through. Part of the problem is that we see her through his eyes and he's attracted to that fragility, so we don't see much else.


Blogger likes to eat comments, so I suggest copying it before hitting "publish" just in case it doesn't go through the first time. This is a pain, I know, but it's the only solution/prevision I can think of, and it will save you the frustration of losing a comment. Also, thanks for visiting!

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