Love Song for a Raven, by Elizabeth Lowell

>> Wednesday, December 28, 2005

In spite of the fact that I'm extremely leery of early Elizabeth Lowell titles, I bought Love Song for a Raven because I heard it has an extremely kind, gentle hero, a novelty for Lowell in those days.

Carlson Raven had no choice but to rescue Janna Morgan—the beautiful, courageous woman who struggled against the stormy sea. When he pulled her from the choppy waters and revived her with the heat of his body, his yearning was as unexpected as it was enduring. But Carlson Raven was as untamed and enigmatic as the sea he loved. Would Janna be the woman to capture his wild and lonely heart?
I don't know if it was that I wasn't in the mood, or what, but I was supremely bored by LSFOR. It was a solid C for me.

I really can't believe it. If there's something I've never felt for an old Lowell category title, it's indifference. She kind of specialized in provoking strong emotions back then. Most of them were extreme irritation and a need to bang the book against the wall, but I can't deny her books were, at least, always exciting.

Not LSFOAR. Yes, Carlson Raven is a real nice guy, but his relationship with Jenna Morgan had the most tedious conflict possible. It's one that it's perfectly possible to do right and it has the potential to make for a very poignant romance, but here it falls flat. Raven thinks he's unlovable, and that all Janna can ever feel for him is gratitude. He holds on to that belief against all evidence to the contrary (and there's quite a lot of it, what with Janna constantly trying to tell him she loves him). Janna thinks she has absolutely no sex appeal and that a man like Raven could never want her (she was married to a gay man, see). She holds on to that belief against all evidence to the contrary (and there's quite a lot of it, what with Raven getting constantly hard the minute he sees her).

That would be ok for a while, but that's all there is to the conflict. That's exactly how they each feel at the beginning of the story and it's exactly how they each feel at the end of it, except for the final 2 pages in which they come to their senses. All that happens during the book is that they have sex, and then some more sex, and then yet more sex, ad infinitum. I usually love Lowell's love scenes, but these were plain boring, because there's nothing happening. No growth, no development, nothing. I am especially fond of books with no suspense subplots, books which concentrate solely on the romance, but really, if you're not having anything happen outside of the main characters, you need to have something happening inside them!

Some other short notes:

- Raven kept calling Jenna "small warrior". Always. I don't mean he refered to her as a small warrior, he actually called her that, in a "Yo, small warrior, what's for dinner?" kind of way. So, so Lowell, that kind of thing. I guess it was better than "Fancy Lady", which was what the hero called the heroine in one of her Only books, but it was still irritating.

- Lowell is a true wordsmith. Her language is beautiful, even if at certain points it went beyond poetic into purple territory.

- This book is a kind of sequel to A Woman Without Lies, and you'll probably feel a bit lost if you haven't read that one. I know I was. There are lots and lots of mentions to the relationship between Raven and Angel (the heroine from AWWL), and I still haven't been able to work out what happened between them.

- There's a very funny thread at one of the AAR message boards. The discussion centers on how certain small, unimportant details like the hero's hair color, or the characters' names, or a book's title can be a deal-breaker sometimes, and the posters call this being citizens of Shallowland, a country of many regions (see here). Well, I guess I'm a citizen, too, and the city I live in is called Moustacheville. What is it with Lowell and moustaches and beards? Ugh!

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