Call it Destiny, by Jayne Ann Krentz

>> Thursday, December 11, 2003

Call it Destiny, by Jayne Ann Krentz, was a disappointment.

Her perfect arrangement left out love

Beautiful impetuous Heather Strand had big plans for running the family's Tucson resort. And one in particular was quite unorthodox. She wanted a marriage of convenience with devilishly handsome Jake Lavender, her father's right-hand man!

A prenuptial contract spelled out all the details--or so Heather thought. But it didn't cover passion, something she felt when Jake's hot velvet mouth descended on hers. Nor did it mention desire, which is what coursed through her body as they hungrily made love ....
This was not a good JAK. In fact, this was not a good book. A C.

I really liked the beginning of the book. Heather very clear-headedly did her best to have both partners enter into a marriage of convenience that benefited both of them. She protected her interests with the pre-nup, and was flexible enough to negotiate with Jake the clause that bothered him.

However, while she was trying to be honest and straighforward, Jake was sneakily trying to manipulate her into going into an arrangement that contemplated none of her interests and all of his. He even convinced her father to lie to her so that he could do it, and I found that especially reprehensible. God, her father is the worst kind of hateful bastard. What was he thinking?? How could he even consider doing what he did? He was very much like one of those fathers in historicals who feel their daughters are too strong and need a man who can dominate them, and I really hated him.

Anyway, when Heather discovered what had happened, she ran. I thought she did well to leave the bastard, and I cheered at the way she did it. Served him right! What he and Heather's father were trying to do, the way they were manipulating her, was unforgivable. I probably would have enjoyed the "strangers married, trying to deal with their attraction to each other" story I was expecting, much more than this one.

I just couldn't stand how sexist Jake was. The double standards implied in what he did were truly horrible. Ok, so Jake didn't like the situation Heather proposed, there was a power imbalance and he felt it wasn't right that one of the partners in the marriage would be so much more powerful than the other. Fine, that sounds good, I'm a firm believer in a couple being equal partners. The problem is, he didn't mind the power imbalance itself, what he wasn't able to accept was that he would be the less powerful one. He tried to underhandedly create the exact same situation, only with him in a position of power. He never thought that Heather would probably feel the same way about it as he did, or if he did think of it, he didn't care, presumably because she was a woman, and a woman is supposed to accept the role gratefully. Jerk!

And then there was the way he kept trying to make Heather feel guilty because she had a family and he didn't. This was another of those JAK heroes who never thought he'd be loved, yadda, yadda. I usually like this type, but in this case, it felt like he used this to lay a guilt trip on Heather and on us readers. I didn't find him a vulnerable, tortured hero, I found him a whiny jerk.

The worst part is he didn't even realize he was wrong to do what he did. He didn't even apologize. If ever a book needed a good grovel to redeem the hero this was it. As it is, the ending was awful. Heather was forced to surrender completely, give up all her pride, all this pushed by Jake. When she's done that, Jake, who hasn't made any sacrifices for her, magnanimously condescends to tell her he loves her. I mean, he'd made her go through hell because she wanted him to tell her he loved her, so when she finally gives up and humiliates herself to him, then he says the "I love you". Well, I wanted to tell him to take his half-assed declarations and shove them where the sun don't shine!

While reading JAK's backlist I've found many gems. Call it Destiny isn't one of them.

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