Skip to main content

Bibliophile reviews Prince Joe

I like reading thrillers and I like reading romances, so when I had Suzanne Brockmann’s books, which combine both genres, heartily recommended to me some time ago, I decided they sounded like something I might like reading. Add to this that the books in this series (Tall, dark and dangerous) have raked in awards and consistently get good reviews on the All About Romance website where I have discovered some of my favourite romance authors, I took the chance and requested this one, the first in the series, through TitleTrader.

If you don’t like SPOILERS, skip this part.
Navy SEAL Joe Catalanotto has a strong resemblance to Prince Tedric, a visiting dignitary trying to get American aid to develop the oil industry in his country. The resemblance is strong enough that when an attempt is made on the prince’s life, Joe is called in to double for him. The prince’s PR woman, Veronica St. John, gets the job of teaching Joe to play the prince to perfection. It is a case of instant dislike and Joe gets immense pleasure out of annoying the prim and highly strung Veronica. But in the end they reach an understanding and it turns out Joe really didn’t need much help to play the prince. As the press tour continues, Joe and Ronnie become more and more attracted to each other, which is a problem because she can not imagine being with a man whose life is always on the line, and he is worried that the high class lady may just be slumming. It takes a near-death experience before Ronnie will admit to herself that she loves Joe too much to let his profession get in the way of their happiness.

I have to say that after the anticipation that had been built up by my online reading buddies and the All About Romance reviews of Brockmann’s books, this book was a let down. Perhaps it is the subject – an American Navy SEAL, a hero of the first Gulf War, being hero worshipped by the author – and I simply picked the wrong time to read it, what with the situation in Iraq and all the barbarism shown by the U.S. military there. I will say that although Joe and co. are heroic and brave, Brockmann is careful not to be either supportive or critical of US military policies, and the prince is from an imaginary country while the terrorist’s nationality is never mentioned, so there is no-one to offend.
Her SEALS are fantasy heroes who don’t seem to have any bad habits or faults, which is not surprising considering this is romance and they each get a book of their own. But the story? Between the build-up and the climax, the story is a series of slightly altering scenes of Joe and Veronica hardly being able to keep their eyes (and hands) off each other in public, and her being more and more afraid with Joe’s every public appearance, interspersed with monotonous sex scenes that I soon started skimming over. Even the build up, the “instant dislike” angle, is not played out to its fullest comic potential, except for one funny scene where Joe fools not only Veronica, but even people close to Tedric into thinking he is the prince. The best passages are the action sequences that describe the SEALs in action, and even then Brockmann lets Joe have a stupid moment when he stops to kiss Veronica in the middle of a gunfight.

I think I will try to get my hands on the second and third books in the series, as the setting for those is much less of a fantasy one, and they have interesting storylines.

Rating: I am inclined to think if Brockmann ever decides to write pure thrillers, she could do it very well, but unfortunately I can not give this romance-thriller hybrid more than 2 stars.


Popular posts from this blog

Book 40: The Martian by Andy Weir, audiobook read by Wil Wheaton

Note : This will be a general scattershot discussion about my thoughts on the book and the movie, and not a cohesive review. When movies are based on books I am interested in reading but haven't yet read, I generally wait to read the book until I have seen the movie, but when a movie is made based on a book I have already read, I try to abstain from rereading the book until I have seen the movie. The reason is simple: I am one of those people who can be reduced to near-incoherent rage when a movie severely alters the perfectly good story line of a beloved book, changes the ending beyond recognition or adds unnecessarily to the story ( The Hobbit , anyone?) without any apparent reason. I don't mind omissions of unnecessary parts so much (I did not, for example, become enraged to find Tom Bombadil missing from The Lord of the Rings ), because one expects that - movies based on books would be TV-series long if they tried to include everything, so the material must be pared down

List love: 10 recommended stories with cross-dressing characters

This trope is almost as old as literature, what with Achilles, Hercules and Athena all cross-dressing in the Greek myths, Thor and Odin disguising themselves as women in the Norse myths, and Arjuna doing the same in the Mahabaratha. In modern times it is most common in romance novels, especially historicals in which a heroine often spends part of the book disguised as a boy, the hero sometimes falling for her while thinking she is a boy. Occasionally a hero will cross-dress, using a female disguise to avoid recognition or to gain access to someplace where he would never be able to go as a man. However, the trope isn’t just found in romances, as may be seen in the list below, in which I recommend stories with a variety of cross-dressing characters. Unfortunately I was only able to dredge up from the depths of my memory two book-length stories I had read in which men cross-dress, so this is mostly a list of women dressed as men. Ghost Riders by Sharyn McCrumb. One of the interwove

First book of 2020: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach (reading notes)

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I loathe movie tie-in book covers because I feel they are (often) trying to tell me how I should see the characters in the book. The edition of Deborah Moggach's These Foolish Things that I read takes it one step further and changes the title of the book into the title of the film version as well as having photos of the ensemble cast on the cover. Fortunately it has been a long while since I watched the movie, so I couldn't even remember who played whom in the film, and I think it's perfectly understandable to try to cash in on the movie's success by rebranding the book. Even with a few years between watching the film and reading the book, I could see that the story had been altered, e.g. by having the Marigold Hotel's owner/manager be single and having a romance, instead being of unhappily married to an (understandably, I thought) shrewish wife. It also conflates Sonny, the wheeler dealer behind the retireme