Gamemaster, by Jayne Ann Krentz

>> Friday, February 20, 2004

I've realized that my favourite early Jayne Ann Krentz books are those she wrote as Stephanie James for the Silhouette Desire line. I've only 2 of them left, now that I've read Gamemaster.


Shelley Banning was an enterprising accountant determined to acquire aid for one of her financially ailing clients. Her first task was to secure a loan from Joel Cassidy, ruler of a successful video-game empire. But Joel was a masterful player. He challenged Shelley word for word, kiss for kiss, until her supple body ache with longing. Joel's love bewitched her senses; his caress engaged her in a frenzied love match. But how could Shelley hope to win when Joel arrogantly informed her he was playing by his own rules?
I loved Gamemaster. It gets an A-.

What made me love it was something you don't usually get in early 80s books, and that was a real respect for his beloved's career on the part of the hero. And this was his immediate attitude! This wasn't a book where the main conflict was that the guy had to be made to realize that it wasn't right to bully the heroine. No, Joel respected Shelley from the beginning. He told her so at the outset, after she'd confided the difficulties she'd had in past relationships, how she tended to be attracted to men who had the same qualities that she had, only to have those men want to make her into the perfect corporate wife.

Joel made it very clear that that wasn't how it was going to be with him, that he was prepared to give her the same respect he expected from her, and he proved it. There was a point in the book where Shelley had to spend a couple of days working from dawn to dusk and Joel waited for her at home with dinner ready, telling her that some days he'd have to have dinner waiting for her, other days she'd have dinner waiting for him, and the rest of the time they'd make dinner together. That sounds like a good description of what to me is the ideal marriage: a real partnership.

Do you realize how refreshing this kind of attitude is? It's still rare nowadays for a heroine in a romance novel to even have a real career the reader sees her working in (every thought of work seems to disappear when the hero comes into her life), and it was even rarer to have an enlightened hero 20 years ago. I mean, right at the back of this book, where categories have the little summaries of upcoming titles in the line, I found this little jewel: "Enraged that he'd unwittingly hired a woman contractor, Phelan Cannon attacked Gabrielle at first sight with both anger and desire... awakening in her a hunger that only he could satisfy.". That was what was common in those days... heroes who were so chauvinistic that they would actually be enraged that they'd hired a woman.

Apart from a romance which really satisfied me, I liked most other aspects, from the well plotted (for a change) corporate mischief plot to the setting, in the early world of videogames, which I actually found kind of cute and quaint.


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