Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Jessica Clare - The Billionaire and the Virgin

Marjorie Ivarsson is the picture of naivete. A hardworking waitress raised by her grandmother, an evening playing bingo is her sort of socialising. But when she's invited to be a bridesmaid at her friend Bronte's wedding, she enters a whole new world.
Whisked away to the billionaire groom's private island, Marjorie is awe-struck by the glitz and glamour. But what dazzles her most is notorious playboy and hot-shot TV producer Robert Cannon.
After Marjorie saves Robert from drowning in the island's turquoise lagoon, she can't help but feel drawn to him. But she's not the only woman intrigued, and with his wild and womanising ways, they couldn't be more wrong for each other. With the blistering attraction between them becoming hard to ignore, and the idyllic, irresistibly romantic island as their playground - will opposites attract?

Comment: This book got on my radar in 2015 but as usual after so long I can't remember exactly why but I assume it was because this is a romance with very different people, a sort of opposites attract and I got curious about how the story would develop.
I've also managed to convince my friend H. to read it...

In this story we meet Marjorie, a woman who finds herself in a resort with some friends to celebrate the wedding of one of them. The groom is a very wealthy man who makes the week-a-long possible and Marjorie is looking for to have fun with friends her age, since most of her routines revolve around being closer to older people, something she doesn't mind for she is a truly caring person.
Rob Cannon is a jaded billionaire who started a cable channel where his shows are the reality show's variety. Men envy him his status, women want to be with him or in his shows and he feels very cynical about everything. Trying to make a deal, he decides to stay at the same resort to convince the groom to have a meeting but things don't go well and while at the beach to stay away from women throwing themselves at him, he almost drowns because of a cramp. Marjorie notices this and saves him and he feels attracted by her genuine caring and apparent simplicity.
The two have nothing in common but a series of situations will make it possible for them to know one another and it's likely there's always someone meant for everyone...

This is my first book by this author. I've seen she has other pen names or this is one but I haven't felt the curiosity to try her stories, no matter the name. The blurb of this one was enough to make me try but I must say I didn't finish the book thinking I must get all her back list right now.
Another thing: this is the first in the Billionaires and Bridesmaids series but it's obvious there is a connection between this series and another by the author. Several characters are recurrent and there are some references to them. Although I didn't feel I should have read the other stories, it's quite obvious some information could be more appreciated if so.

This story has an ingredient that was catnip for me: I wanted to see how the relationship between someone apparently shy and quiet (heroine) with an exuberant and loud person (hero) would happen while the heroine kept her calmer personality. Although Marjorie didn't stop being a sweet person and at the end her decision to be with Rob was a validation of her knowing her feelings, I can't help thinking she was always portrayed as a too silly person.

Marjorie is a shy woman, she prefers the safety of older generations who allow her to be who she is without the fear of rejection because of what she thinks as her "faults". I can totally emphasize with her, I also struggle to connect with my generation or younger. What has bothered me the most was how there's always this sense other people saw Marjorie as someone who would be mocked (because of her looks, her way of dressing, of behaving). In fact, most female characters were pretty labeled and it almost felt as if they weren't as able as the men, to just be themselves with confidence. (even when such was being written on the page)

I suppose there's a purpose here, to put in evidence the fact men are sort of stronger, richer and more able to do things to help the heroine, portrayed as quieter and in more need, whether financially or socially. I don't mind this idea because I always tend to see how a balance is achieved in such relationships, how both partners can have common ground, that is the fun part. But in this book the heroine and her friend, the bride, don't seem to have reached such a stage.

Perhaps the problem is how the heroes are made to look overbearing and too much? I got this vibe from the groom - on the rare occasions, I must say, he was on the page - and from Rob, the hero.
Rob is the epitome of all the prejudices about vain, cynical, selfish contemporary guys. He has it all already but he keeps pursuing things without any value or interest unless they get him more money and fame. I can understand this need to totally oppose Marjorie but apart from the romance angle - although Rob starts to want to make a conquest out of Marjorie - do they really have anything in common to the point of being credible a lengthy relationship between the two of them? We are certainly told so by all the silly scenes that are meant to convince us of how easy it is between them but... I wasn't totally sold on this.

The writing is easy to go through but I got the feeling the author tried to insert fun scenes, comedy situations to impress us the most about all the whys these two different people would end up trying to be together that, in the end, despite the cute HEA, I wasn't very happy with the way things developed between the two of them, especially when it looked like Rob was just trying to deceive Marjorie.
Perhaps I'm losing my filter of comedies because not many stories nowadays feel that funny to me and in the end, when things change so much to accommodate an HEA...well, again, I wasn't convinced and that made the story less appealing overall.
With so many books in my TBR, I won't be looking for more by this author so soon but maybe one day...
Grade: 5/10

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