Thursday, June 1, 2006

Daddy Issues

Every so often a discussion pops up online about what themes annoy you in romance novels. I usually give my standard, pat answers - stupid heroines, doormat heroines, Neanderthal heroes (I'm not talking regular Alphas - but knuckle draggers), miscommuncation (or lack thereof) and the Big Misunderstanding.

I have a new one. Daddy Issues.

I just finished Just A Whisper Away by Lauren Nichols, a June SIM. Now, I'm not expecting high art in category romances. I'm looking to be entertained. I want a book that will tug a few heartstrings, keep me engaged and take my mind off the fact that I've got to do A, B and/or C chore/errand once I get out of work.

I also like to read about adults. Which is a handicap with this story that features a 33-year-old heroine who won't tell her overprotective father to buzz off. Seriously, I know my father loves me. I know he worries about me on occasion. But if the old man ever told me how to run my life I'd put him in a home. Sorry Dad - but Mom raised me too.

The heroine in this story lost her virginity to the hero in her Daddy's backyard. Daddy caught them after the fact and was unthrilled. Now, granted - this would be a mite embarrassing plus his daughter did the nasty with the son of the town whore. He's never liked the guy after that - and even blackballed him from getting a business loan several years later (yeah, Daddy is a banker).

Now lest I forget to mention this - the heroine was 19 when this happened. 1-9. In college folks. I know that no father wants to think about his little girl having screaming orgasms (and this is a romance novel so you know the heroine saw stars her first time out of the gate). But 19!! Frankly, most fathers would kill for their daughters to wait that long.

And I can understand the guy not being happy with the hero at first. But over the course of the next 14 years (yes, 14 years!) the guy has turned into a successful business owner, has loving foster parents and a good relationship with his younger brother. Yeah - a real scumbag. Just the kind of guy you want your daugther to stay far away from! He's obviously one step away from being a crack-head.

So here we have a hero and heroine both in their 30s and Daddy who is at least in his 50s (if not older). It's been 14 years. Heroine has been married, divorced and is a successful lawyer. She obviously turned out OK despite having sex. Funny how that can happen. And the hero has turned into a good man - even though his only "fault" as a child was having the wrong mother. He never actually did anything "bad" himself.

Seriously, it's amazing my eyes didn't start to bleed.

Well written but mind-numbing conflict. I can't decide between a C- or D+.


Kate R said...

bleeding eyes is bad news.

I can argue this because I haven't written it, but isn't it possible to have some patriarchs who are so powerful that they make their family dependent on 'em? Or think they're dependent? Godfather types.

okay, yeah, I can see the plot working better in another century but now you have me wondering if it can be successfully done in this century.

This **argh! grow up!** thing reminds me of the heroine of Hunter's Moon who is so unable to break away from her family she'll kill herself. (it's in the first chapter so that's not much of a give-away)

I enjoyed the writing and the hero was great, but I had a hard time accepting the female lead as heroine material.

Wendy said...

No, he didn't rule with an iron fist - he was just an asshole. To her credit, the heroine didn't dance to his tune - but she humored him and kept her mouth shut. Which for me, is an equal crime. If my Daddy was a jerk to some guy I dated 14 years ago (14!) - I'd tell him to get over himself. But then, Momma didn't raise no fool.

And agreed, this kind of plot works a lot better for me when it takes place in a previous century.