Rant, Review

Review: Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts (1999)

Gallaghers of Ardmore, Book 1

Heat Factor: It’s very poetical.

Character Chemistry: Some of their interactions made me uncomfortable. 

Plot: Woman goes to Ireland to Find Herself. Succeeds, and finds love as well. Plus she meets the King of the Fairies. 

Overall: A disconcerting reading experience: even though it’s a contemporary, it reads like a historical.

I was in an exceptionally bad mood the day I read this book, and it did not make me feel better. To my mind, that is a romance novel fail. I wasn’t angry about anything – the prose is evocative and the characters are likable enough. While I occasionally found Jude frustrating, Jewels of the Sun is solidly her book, in that she undergoes tremendous growth over the course of the story. 

Instead of anger, my main emotion was disappointed; specifically, I was moderately disappointed when Jude and Aidan ended up together. Double romance novel fail. 

Scene: First Kiss

Adian and Jude are in Jude’s kitchen. Aidan has just told Jude a story about the King of the Fairies. 

Aidan: Grabs and kisses Jude

Jude: Gasps

Aidan: Thinks “I find it extra sexy that she shies away from me like a scared horse.” Says “Let’s go upstairs and bone!”

Jude: “I hardly know you! Sleeping with you would be irresponsible”

Aidan: “Heh heh, let’s get to know each other better.” 

Jude: Declines his offer. 

Aidan: Is pissy. Says she has the right to say no, but it doesn’t seem like he means it. Tells her, “We’ll bone next time.” Leaves. 

If, in reading my synopsis, your eyebrows also raised up to the level of your hairline, you are not alone. (I wish I had gotten a picture of Ingrid’s face when I told her the thing about Jude shying away like a scared horse.) While Jude does grow more of a spine, and Aidan does eventually grovel, it was too little, too late. 

What I think this book really indicates is the Cinnamon-Roll-Ization of contemporary romance. If this had been a historical romance, I would not have blinked twice at Aidan’s sexual aggression and Jude’s demure deflection. Or, even, if this had been a contemporary romance written in the 70s, I would have been like, ok, different era, what a fascinating snapshot into changing sexual mores. Or, for even another caveat, if this book was part of a subgenre where super-alphas are still the norm (sports romance, biker romance), I could perhaps have bought into the fantasy. But sorry, a 30 year old divorcée in 1999 should know better than to put up with that kind of bullshit from a romantic partner; the setting wasn’t distant enough for me to romanticize Aidan’s troubling behavior. 

Buy Now: Amazon | Bookshop

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