Man From Half Moon Bay, by Iris Johansen

>> Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Man From Half Moon Bay is one of Iris Johansen's old Loveswepts, from 1988. I've read some of her single title historicals and suspense novels, but I didn't really like them all that much. Still, I've long heard about how her old category titles were really good, so I thought it might be worth a shot. I can't really remember what made me pick up this particular title. It was probably something someone posted somewhere, but I really can't remember the details.

Surpise. Panic. Then desire like an electric shock filled Sara O'Rourke when she saw Jordan Bander across the crowded room. For eighteen months she'd lived free of the man from the harsh, unforgiving Australian outback who'd swept her off her feet, then wrapped her in a seductive web of sensual pleasure that left no room for work or friends. The walls she'd built against his obsession were strong, but he'd never tried to scale them... until now.

The pain of losing her had taught Jordan that letting go was his only chance of holding on to Sara, even if he still hated to see her smile at anyone but him. But persuading her he'd changed that he needed her help, was the toughest challenge he'd ever face... especially now that her life was in danger and he'd do anything to keep her safe... even risk losing her forever. Sara finally understood that what bound them was stronger than what had driven them apart, but could she make Jordan see that his love was her only sanctuary?
It was a pretty good read. Nothing spectacular, but it did have some very nice things. A B.

I really liked how Johansen wrote Sara and Jordan's relationship. Sara left Jordan a year and a half before the action in this book starts, because she felt smothered by his possesiveness. Now Jordan has come after her, determined to change and give her the kind of relationship she wants. That in itself was really good, and quite different from what happened in many of the novels I've read with a similar plot. Jordan does understand where Sara is coming from, why she felt she had to leave him, and he seems to think her actions were justified. He's not there to browbeat her into going back into the same relationship she escaped, he really does mean to change and he's prepared to make himself vulnerable to do so. This is not a guy who's arrogantly confident that everything will go his way. He has doubts and is afraid that even with his best efforts, he won't succeed. I found both him and Sara immensely likeable.

There is a suspense subplot, about a serial killer who's focused on Sara because she was a material witness in his trial. He's after her, and once this suspense subplot kicked in, the book wasn't as good as in the first half. Near the end, there's also a change of heart on Jordan's part based on some very strange thinking, and that left me scratching my head a bit. Still, I really did like the resolution of Jordan and Sara's love story.

I get the feeling this one might be part of some series. There was a lot I felt I was supposed to know, a lot of mentions to pretty interesting things, like a certain kingdom of Sedakhan, or Jordan's Half Moon Bay in Australia, which got bare mentions, not the treatment they deserved as things which were definitely not commonplace. This wasn't really much of a problem for me, I simply found it a little odd.

All in all, a nice, solid read.


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