Saturday, September 03, 2005

Passion by Lisa Valdez

Passion has created quite a bit of buzz out in blogland and on many reader message boards. I had a difficult time writing this review because of current events, but I'd like to try to summarize why this book was so compelling for me. Set in Britian in the Victorian Era, it opens with a bang (pardon my french) (sorry, old joke) with a shockingly raw and explicit sexual encounter.

Passion Elizabeth Dare Redington is a widow whose loveless marriage left her highly insecure and believing she was barren. Mark Hawkmore, Earl of Langley, is a well known architect who lives his life for himself and is completely uncaring how others think of him. They meet at Prince Albert's Crystal Palace exhibit and instantly recognize a powerful sexual attraction. They engage in erotic sex behind a large screen in the furniture exhibit with crowds of people milling around them. Whew, a stranger sex fantasy at it's best!

This book is not your typical romance fare where sex is just gratuitous filler to be skimmed in order to get to the 'real' plot or filled with flowery purple prose. The sex in Passion is raw, explicit and shocking, and I loved it. The most outstanding aspect I noticed was that these highly erotic sex scenes were such an integral part of the plot. In order to fully understand the developing relationship between Mark and Passion, you had to read the sex scenes, not skim them. The typical formula for a romance first introduces the h/h, they meet, get to know each other, get to like each other, and fall in love. THEN they usually have sex sometime after that but it's not necessarily an important part of the story (but I always read it of course, OK, I like the sex part). And there's nothing wrong with this formula. It works so well in many of my favorite books. But Passion is surprising to me because it doesn't follow that formula and it still works beautifully. The language was rather crude and blunt as well for a book set in the Victorian era and I learned several new words (quim, cods, spunk?). Reading is SO educational don't you think :)

Several of these sizzling and extremely explicit sex scenes comprise the first half of the book. The h/h don't even know each other's names but the reader can tell that they are falling in love. I loved Passion's character and was glad to see how Mark's character grows. The last half of the book is equally as engaging and develops the story of how Mark is blackmailed into becoming engaged to Passion's cousin, Charlotte. When Passion discovers her lover, Mark, is Charlotte's fiancé, her reaction was so well written that I shed a few tears. The two evil bitch mothers depicted in this story were a bit over the top, however. Especially Mark's mother, Lucinda, who was a grotesque caricature of all evil bitch mothers. (spoiler: I just can't imagine a mother discussing the size of her son's 'member' with him. How perverted is that? Blech!! :end spoiler).

I highly recommend this book to those of you who like steamy, hot, explicit, erotic, sensual books with an excellent story.

My Grade: A-

Passion's two sisters, Patience and Primrose, both get their own books, and I will be looking out for them. I read somewhere that Charlotte gets her own HEA in one of these books as well and I was glad since I liked her so well too.


Tara Marie said...

Renee, I enjoyed "Passion" too. It was very refreshing, though my big complaint was the evil mother thing. I'm really starting to hate that and feel a mini blog rant coming on about it.

ReneeW said...

Yes, I can handle an evil mother but she crossed the line for me. I'd love to see you do a mini blog rant and I'll back you up :)

Suisan said...

Hey Renee, wandered over from my blog since you were so nice to visit!

Anyhoo--I haven't read Passion yet, although I've read quite a few reviews, so I feel as if I'd better get on it. I think the evil mother thing comes from authors having completely overdone the mustache twirling villain. Somebody's gotta be the bad guy--why not the mom, eh?

CindyS said...

Wasn't Passion excellent? I wrote to Lisa Valdez to tell her how much I enjoyed her book and she wrote back and told me that the next book will come out June 2006. Ouch. I'll definitely buy it though.

As for the evil mothers. I loved it. My mother is not the loving doting mother nor is she evil but I have told her, when she needs someone to look after her in her old age, she'll be living with my brother ;) And I love my Mom!! What I liked was the extreme of the love/hate relationship. I don't know about others but I have always believed that no matter how many children a woman has, she has a favourite. Whether it's the first, third or last. I've told my brother for years, he was Mom's favorite and I was Dad's. Good thing there was only two of us.

Oops, there I go, running off at the mouth again.


ReneeW said...

Cindy - June 2006! That's a loooooooong time to wait ::sigh:: The evil mother thing didn't bother me until she wandered into pervert territory when she started discussing the size of her son's body part (really icky). I just can't imagine a mother discussing this with her adult son.

I'm the oldest of 4 kids and my 3 siblings (all one year apart)always said I was mom's favorite, but I never felt it myself. She was never the lovey-huggy type of mom that stayed home and baked cookies (she hated cooking - my dad always cooked). She worked full time as an accountant from the time I was 5 years old. I was very responsible so whenever she would go out the door, she made me "in-charge" from the age of about 12. Naturally, they resented it (I think I was a bit on the bossy side :). But I loved her and still miss her (she died a few years ago from a brain tumor). Ok now I'm running off at the mouth.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gals,

I was printing a review when I came across your discussion. All my thanks to all of you--I'm glad I was able, over-all, to give you a good read.

Anyway, I just wanted to say a word about the "evil mothers." First of all I had no idea this was a "trend." I just wrote the story. Second of all, within the context of
Victorian times they are not at all over-the-top. I mean read Dickens--this was a time when baby farms flurished. One was as likely to find cruelty in Victorian England as charity. And, finally, since Lucinda is actually based on a real mother--not mine, whom I adore--but another real live walking around mother, I don't see her as over-the-top at all. Awful, yes. Over-the-top, no.

Having said all that, though, I actually like really bad, Dickensian type villains. So people who think Lucinda and Abigail are over-the-top aren't likely to ever like my villains. No tepid villains for me. :-) But for those of you who are sick of the "evil mother" trend, I hope you'll like PATIENCE better. While Matthew's major issues are the result of his mother's favoritism--the villains of his story are more the Benchleys, society and, to a large degree, Matthew himself.

Well, I'm off to write more hot sex--phew, hard work, that! ;-) All my thanks, gals...I love coming across these discussions because they really help me understand trends and reader opinion.

Ciao bellas,
Lisa Valdez

ReneeW said...

Thanks for visiting Lisa and I will be waiting impatiently for Patience :) I hadn't really thought of the Dickensian type of villian in relation to the time but you are absolutely right about the cruelty of that time. As a mother of a 25-year old son, Lucinda's cruelty really shocked me more than anything else. But it is a keeper, and I highly recommended it to all my friends.

Anonymous said...

Hi Renee,

I know, Lucinda's behavior is shocking. But it's all about self-preservation with her. She'll do or say anything to try to get what she wants. And she truly feels justified in her behavior. Poor woman... Or as my little gals say, "too bad, too sad." :-)

Anyhow, thanks a million for talking-up PASSION, Renee. I'm thrilled you're looking forward to PATIENCE, and I'm especially proud to have earned a spot on your "keeper" shelf. :-)

Lisa Valdez

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