A Lesson in Seduction, by Susan Napier

>> Sunday, February 01, 2004

I stopped reading the cheap Spanish translations of Harlequin books long ago, but earlier this week, when I drove my grandma to the UBS to trade hers in, I saw one by Susan Napier and I was tempted enough to try it. It was only 10 pesos (about 30 cents in US dollars) after all! The title of this one was A Lesson in Seduction.

They met at the airport. He wore a suit and carried a briefcase. He seemed quiet, a little shy. Definitely not the type to flirt with a fellow passenger'even if she was famous actress Rosalind Marlow! His name, Roz discovered, was Luke James. She was determined to discover more about him'such as why he appeared to following her. And was he as innocent as he seemed? What he really needed was a lesson in flirtation'and, on impulse, Roz decided to be his teacher! Luke was a fast learner. In fact, Roz soon discovered that he didn't need lessons at all. He could teach her plenty about the art of seduction!
Wow, Susan Napier very definitely doesn't write formula, does she? Both A Lesson in Seduction and the other one I read by her, Secret Admirer, were simply not the usual Harlequin fare. A strong B.

There was a lot to like here. The first pages were somehow reminiscent of JAK's Fabulous Beast, with a confident heroine and a hero she assumes is shy and self-conscious. Of course, he isn't as shy and nerdy as Roz assumes, but unlike the hero of Fabulous Beast, he doesn't turn out to be a secret agent, or anything like that. He actually is a shy-ish accountant, with very little experience with women. He holds his own with Roz, but it's she who's the most experienced partner here, and the one who makes the moves in the relationship. I liked them together, and their love scenes were especially poignant.

Something else I enjoyed was the way the author dealt with Roz's infertility. She was infertile from an STD she'd caught from an old boyfriend (already something I liked. Most authors would be too afraid to try this, for fear readers would think their heroines were dirty whores). I loved that though Roz did feel she'd lost something, and might have liked to have kids at some point, if this hadn't happened, she didn't do the "I'm not a whole woman now, and I'm not worthy of a good man, boo-hoo! You can't love me, no matter what you say no, because I can't give you 12 little rugrats, so go away!! Boo-hoo!!".

The book did have some problems, though. The worst was that it felt a bit too crammed. The suspense subplot, for instance, felt underwritten. My fear is that the Spanish translation might have abridged some parts, I don't know. Oh, and speaking of the translationitself, I should mention that it really sucked. Spanish (from Spain, I mean!) slang that threw me out of the story, scores of typos, awkward phraseology, confusion of homonyms... I probably would have enjoyed this book even more if I'd read it in the original English. Also, the first pages were like a big advertisement for the previous books in the series. If you do that, the least you can do is have the info about those books IN the book! I've had to ask for help in this.

In spite of these problems, I enjoyed this very much. I'll be looking for the author's backlist... in English, this time!


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