Affaire Royale, by Nora Roberts (Cordina #1)

>> Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I tend to avoid categories with the "royalty" theme that seems to be so popular. It's never been a fantasy of mine, but what's more, the couple I did try, just to give see what was what, I didn't like. But well, when Nora Roberts does it, there's a good chance it'll be ok, so I thought I'd give her Cordina series a try. The first book is Affaire Royale.

Recently kidnapped Princess Gabriella has amnesia, but in the arms of bodyguard Reeve MacGee she finds a passion that's unforgettable.
Ugh. Irritating and boring at the same time. It has some nice moments, but on the whole, this is at best a C-.

This one's probably the single most clichéd and contrived Nora Roberts book I've ever read. She really went overboard with the hooks. In fact, a better title for Affaire Royale would be The Bodyguard's Amnesiac, Virgin, Royal Bride. There's even a pretend engagement to protect Brie's reputation (and that's an extra irritant, that name. I took to calling her Camembert in my mind).

The woman was tedious. She was kidnapped not one week before, she remembers nothing, her kidnappers are at large and bound to try for her again, and she refuses protection? I know it's almost a convention in romance to have the heroine not want to give up her privacy or something by having a bodyguard, but it doesn't make it any less stupid. What makes it worse is that there's every indication that it's a precaution to be taken only for a while, a few weeks, until the investigation is complete. It's not as if she'll have someone accompanying her to the loo for the rest of her life!

Reeve was completely indistinct as a hero. I never got any kind of sign of an individual personality from him, and I couldn't stand him at times. When he and that other patronizing idiot, Brie's father Armand got together and discussed her situation without her, "protecting" the poor fragile heroine by not telling her anything, I wanted to bang their heads together.

The kidnapping plot was obvious from the beginning, as were the two villains, right from the minute they were introduced. There just wasn't anyone else around who could have done it!

And the head-hopping! It's not something that usually bothers me, not even in other Noras, but it was out of control here. As long as the POV doesn't change every other paragraph and I can immediately know in whose head I am, I'm fine, but the shifts were too many and too abrupt here.

The good news is that I somehow get the feeling the next two books in the series, about Brie's two brothers, might be better... less contrived, at least. We'll see.

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