Series: Part of “Dinner at 8” Series but doesnt even look loosely connected to me.
Reason for Reading: Never tried this author before.
Content warnings: Other than blindness from looking at the shiny perfect H/H? None.
Plot: Well, the product description is very misleading-
The wedding night surprise!
Charlotte Christie wore white on her wedding day—and a priceless diamond necklace. Little did she know that her new husband, British billionaire Simon Farringdon, didn’t believe she was an innocent. Nor did she realize that the Carlotta Diamond was his real motive for marriage.
But the unexpected passion of their wedding night changed Simon’s plans. His new bride was a virgin and he wanted her—
The plot REALLY goes like this – a grandfather on his deathbed asks his grandson, Simon, to find the descendant of his missing black sheep sister whom he hadn’t kept in touch with since, um, 1947. The family had a priceless diamond that has always gone to the eldest daughter for the past 500 years and he wants to make it right before he dies. This might go into the Guinness Book of World Records for procrastination. I am all admiration. Really.
This conversation is overheard by Simon’s scummy bro-in-law, Rudy, who finds the descendant, Charlotte, first and tries to seduce her. Rudy wants to divorce his wife (Simon’s sister), who is paralyzed, (did I mention he’s scummy?) and marry Charlotte, who has both her legs (but not a third, which is too bad b/c this would have made the book a heck more interesting) AND a priceless diamond to boot. So, answering the call of his hysterical sister, Simon seduces Charlotte away from Rudy and gets her to marry him. There is no recrimination scene or even a mention of the loss of shiny perfect Charlotte’s symbol of her perfection – her shiny hymen – as the description implies. Which is refreshing actually in a Harlequin Presents.
Ramblings: Lee Wilkinson is a HP author that I never noticed before and has like zero buzz in Romancelandia and now I can see why. Looking up her bio, I was surprised to see that she has been writing HPs since 1987 so somebody must be reading her. She kind of reminded me of the Helen Bianchins I have read in that Simon is Gorgeous (yes, the type of Gorgeous that must be capitalized) and Rich (translated: Richard Branson Rich but w/o the private island, altho he does have a private jet. Slackard.) and Charlotte is Gorgeous, shiny, perfect. Rudy is a stock villain – oily, weak, petualnt, greedy. The grandfather is a stock grandfather. The roommate is the stock wisecracking, supportive roommate. Everything is by the numbers. Ho hum.
And did I mention that every little polite and small conversations that most authors usually skip over was included to fill the book up? Pages and pages of “Cream or sugar?” and “Looks like a nice day.” and “My ancestor was a rake.” Dude, you know that there is a problem when the dead ancestors are more interesting than the living descendants.
The only thing that was out of the norm was that there was no I-was-a-virgin,-thus-good-and-true revelation which I was expecting any moment so kudos there.
Except that I dont read HPs for Emily Post manners. I read it for the cheap melodrama. Bring on the cheap melodrama! Oh wait, there was one scene. One measly scene. Simon’s sister meets Charlotte for the first time and has hate in her eyes going “Homewrecker! Homewrecker! Homewrecker! Rudy is scum, a scum who didnt tell you he was married but he is my scum, so. . . Homewrecker!” Yet, the same scene ends with Simon’s sis going “Rudy is scum. I dont want him anymore. Can we be friends?” Dude, bipolar much? This is Britney Spears level bipolar. Not the heavily sedated, just follwing Daddy’s orders Brit making her cumbak of today (Oh, BTW, Happy Birthday BritBrit!) but the head-shaving,-then-attacking-a-car-with-an-umbrella Britney Spears. Breaking up with Fed Ex by text message and then crying that Fed Ex left her Britney Spears. I think I needed more of those scenes because trainwreck=entertaining=makes seton happy! No wonder this was a C- read for me.
Oh, and in case you have been following closely, Simon and Charlotte are second cousins. So spoiler –> Actually, turns out that Simon is adopted (convenient, eh?) so there is no blood ties between Simon and Charlotte at all. Dayum, I cant believe that Wilkinson is a HP author. She doesnt seem to have an unPC bone in her body. <–
Sidenote: I was going to use the British cover but it’s all kinds of wrong (see below). First of all, Simon is a blonde with “corn” colored locks. Not happening there. Second, what billionaire would be wearing that cheap-looking outfit? He looks like a mortician going to the prom.