Review – Too Dangerous to Desire by Cara Elliott

Cover image, Too Dangerous to Desire by Cara Elliott

Here’s to tradition!  The blurb, courtesy of Goodreads:

Can a Flame from the Past be Rekindled? Long ago, Sophie Lawrance chose prudence over passion, rejecting a rebellious young rogue for the sake of her family-no matter the ache it left in her heart. But after a specter from her father’s past resurfaces, threatening to destroy all she holds dear, the desperate beauty knows there is only one man whose shadowy skills can save her.

Or Is It Too Dangerous to Play with Fire? Cameron Daggett is a man of many secrets . . . and many sins. He’s never forgotten the pain of losing Sophie. But now, with a chance to win her back, Cameron sets aside his anger and agrees to help Sophie save her father’s honor. Together they embark on a perilous masquerade, leading them to a remote country estate near the sea. There, they must battle a cunning adversary-and their own burning desires. Will they be consumed by the flames? Or can they prove that true love conquers all?

Based on that blurb, the book really seemed to be up my alley.  The blurb hints at a bit of Persuasion, which does epic battle (in my head) with Pride and Prejudice on a regular basis and sometimes wins the title “my favorite Jane Austen novel.”  (Sometimes P&P wins…)  So I was excited to get down to business and read it.  I did not realize that the book is the third in a series, but it mostly works as a stand-alone.  It was a bit difficult to grasp the relationship between the three heroes of the series without knowing anything about their previous adventures, but the specific story in this book does not rely on events that occur in previous books.

This historical romance is another fun romp, an adventurous story that ought not be taken too seriously.  But I take everything seriously (while simultaneously finding everything amusing… it’s hard to explain how all that balances out), and there were a few things about this book that just irritated me and spoiled some of my enjoyment of the story.

1.  Sarcasm.  The word sarcasm actually refers to a specific type of humor/wit and does not comprise all humor or all instances of douchey behavior.  Yes, you can be a sarcastic douchebag, but you can also be just a regular douchebag who does not employ any sarcasm at all.

I got a little bit irritated by the number of references to Cameron’s behavior that was just douchey, not sarcastic.  Don’t get me wrong, he does actually get a few good sarcastic lines in, but the ratio of false sarcasm to actual sarcasm is 4:1.

2.  Dog metaphors.  I never thought I’d use this sentence when talking about a book: “There are an astonishing number of dog metaphors–several per page!”  The male hero characters of this book and the two previous books in the series are known collectively as the Hellhounds.  For some reason, the author decided to carry that doggy-affiliation over into numerous references to barking, yapping, yipping, nipping at heels, growling, putting one’s nose to the ground, etc.  During the sections of the book when two or more Hellhounds are gathered together, the dog metaphors become somewhat overwhelming, sometimes occurring three or four times per page.  Per. Page.  I imagined those sections of dialogue actually sounded like this.

3.  “Ha ha ha.”  On fourteen occasions in this book, characters laugh, “Ha, ha, ha,” and this came to mind every time.

Although it may seem silly, those three issues seriously impacted my ability to enjoy the book.  Once I noticed that the “sarcasm” wasn’t always sarcasm and that the dog references just kept on coming, I was pulled out of the story every time I noticed a new instance of either.  And the laughing… so strange.  As a result, it was difficult for me to connect to either the characters or the story, and I might have just stopped reading the thing if I hadn’t been perversely curious to see if the issues continued until the end.  (They did.)  When I try to reflect on the book as something besides a collection of strangely-applied dog references, I realize that I really enjoyed the relationship between Sophie and her sisters–that was very well done–and I loved Sophie’s character, her intrepid resolution and intelligence.  Without the aforementioned issues, I might have really liked this story.  Readers who are not as easily irritated as I by that kind of thing might find a lot of enjoyment in this story (and, probably, the other two books in the series as well).

Too Dangerous to Desire was released on November 20, 2012 by Forever as both a mass-market paperback and an e-book.  To learn more about the book, click here to visit the book’s page on Goodreads.

*FTC Disclosure – I received an e-galley of this book from Forever through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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7 thoughts on “Review – Too Dangerous to Desire by Cara Elliott

  1. Ha ha ha ha. <—sarcasm?

    I have this thing about laughter in novels. I don't think it should EVER HAPPEN. Whenever authors take pains to point out their characters are laughing, it's usually because whatever they want you to think is funny actually isn't.

    • Laughter in novels only bothers me when it occurs in dialogue. Character A says something witty to character B, and character B laughs in response… that usually bothers me. But if Character A is just being totally creepy (like Darcy) and staring at character B across the room while she laughs and sparkles with other people… that’s totally fine. Well, the creepiness could be scaled back just a bit, I suppose.

      Does that latter form of laughter in novels bother you as well as the dialogue form?

      • As long as it’s not a cue to me that something is meant to be “funny” it doesn’t bother me. Although that is creepy. I’m going to be bothered by it now. :p

      • Love it! It’s easy to read most of Austen’s characters in a creepy way. Wentworth eavesdrops. Henry Tilney creeps through corridors (I’m reaching, here). Edward Ferrars is a cheaty-McCheater. Edmund marries his first cousin (ew). Mr. Knightley–’nuff said. Darcy has his creepy stare… but don’t we love them all the more for being slightly creepy at times? I mean, when you think about it, love is creepy.

  2. Pingback: What I’ve been reading lately – a little more historical romance fiction | Reading with Analysis

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