Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pink Heart Picks: Secrets of the Playboy's Bride

Welcome back to March's PINK HEART PICKS book club selection!  This past month we delved into the world of the DESIRE line - right at the same time as they are celebrating their 2000th book!

This month's selection was SECRETS OF THE PLAYBOY'S BRIDE by Leanne Banks.

I'll admit, it's been a loooooong time since I read a Desire.  And that's sort of the purpose of the Pink Heart Picks, really.  To explore and discover new lines and voices that we might not usually pick up off the shelf.  Leanne Banks has taken a few risks with this book, namely in the heroine, Calista.  She's kind of...mercenary in the beginning.  I had a hard time warming up to her at first, knowing she was marrying Leo for revenge.  This is a well-used hook and for a reason - it is immediate conflict and it can really set off fireworks.  The difference?  Well, I'm used to reading about high-powered men being the ones exacting revenge, AND I'm used to them not making any bones about it - the heroine is well aware of what's going on.  With Secrets of the Playboy's Bride, Calista has a plan to seduce Leo with the ultimate goal of marriage- he's going to pay for hurting her family.  But Leo has NO idea that he's being lied to.  That's where this is risky.

Of course, that also means that there's lots of room for character arc and to see both their feelings shift as they change and grow.  Calista begins to forget about all the reasons why she'd wanted to marry him in the first place, and just as she's falling in love with him, he finds out the truth.  From a conflict perspective, it really works. Then there's the fact that she's doing it for her sisters - and they adopt an adorable puppy.  All things that help soften Calista and make us realize that boy oh boy, realizing she's in love with Leo is going to hit her RIGHT between the eyes!

As an aside - why is it that we excuse that hook with heroes but we find it so hard to accept in heroines?  Hmmm.  That bears some thinking about.

It was a fast-paced ride that kept me turning the pages - I loved the section in Japan and was a little disappointed we didn't get to go to India!

The one place that stopped me up, though, was the wedding night, when Leo realizes that she is not a virgin, though she definitely implied that was the case.  She hadn't thought he would know whether she was a virgin or not.  Um...I'm pretty sure he'd know.  I found it hard to believe that one point.  It was far more believable in the next scene where she admitted she'd made a mistake.  She knows she let him believe that and admits it.  She confesses about an earlier relationship.  I just had a really hard time believing she honestly thought he wouldn't be able to tell.

Lots of passion between the pages (and the sheets!) and loved the reunion with his family at the end - especially the epilogue and how he and his brother agree to take the next adventure together.  Awesome.

So...what did y'all think?

And now....drum roll please!  I'm SO thrilled to announce April's Pink Heart Picks selection!  We're going to be reading a very special book - a mother and daughter duet - and a debut all in one! 

Romance superstar Rebecca Winters is paired up with her daughter, Dominique Burton for A MOTHER'S WEDDING DAY (American Romance).  This is Dominique's debut and what a way to kick off a career!  I'm really looking forward to reading this one!


  1. I hadn't thought of the role reversal here - interesting point. I'm afraid I always find that kind of hook a bit far-fetched (maybe because I'm innately cautious) but how can you marry someone you've known for a week and know nothing about? They could turn out to be drug-dealers or the child of your least-favourite pop star or anyone. And then you're to spend the next fifty years with them? But I suppose the point is that passion and desire cloud judgement and they then have to get out of the mess they'd made. I liked the section in Japan too.
    I was a bit thrown when Calista called "Rob, her P.I." - why sure, don't we all have a P.I. on speed-dial? He turned out to be a bit of a sleazoid dog, didn't he?
    My biggest nit-pick was with the title - you could call Leo a lot of things, but I think it was stressed all through the book that he ISN'T a playboy. Still, it should make people pick up the book and that's the point of it.
    Great choice for thinking and discussions, and looking forward to the next month's title.

  2. LOL re the title - you can bet that Leanne probably didn't have a say in the title...though you probably could have called it Secrets of the Tycoon's Bride and it would have had the same effect...

    It was the secrets that SHE held that intrigued me into picking the book!

  3. Well, they both had secrets, really, but "Secrets of the tycoon's bride, oh, and by the way, he's a got a few secrets of his own" would never have fitted on the spine!

  4. I just finished it. I'm not really seeing Leo's having secrets though, not in the way Calista was. I really loved the story, though their courtship and marriage made me do a double take. I mean, how many people really get married that fast?

    I loved the part in Japan as well. Its funny, I half expected him to take her to a love hotel. It would have suited the passion he had for her.

    I also didn't quite get the PI. I understood her having one, but his turning super sleazy didn't really fit with Calista's image. One would have thought she would have done more background on a guy she hired.

    My favorite parts of the book were with Pooh, especially when he got sick after eating the grapes. I'm a sucker for pets in a book.