Friday, March 21, 2014

Review Me Twice - Pearl Cove by Elizabeth Lowell

When I picked this book, I knew that it wasn't going to be a literary masterpiece (mainly because I'd read it before and knew what it entailed.)  And let me tell you: this book falls into all of the stereotypes of a romance novel.

Lowell makes it SEEM like her women are fierce and independent (and, ok, for a romance novel, most of them are) but they all seem to be at the mercy of their men.  They go to them for protection and fall almost instantly in love, unless they don't, and then they fall instantly in love but refuse to admit it.

Not to mention, there's copious amounts of sex.  I mean, normal human beings just don't have the kind of stamina that romance characters inevitably ALWAYS have.  The two characters can't seem to keep their hands off each other for five freakin' seconds, except, of course, during the three quarters fight.  You know, that "fight" that happens about three fourths of the way through the book, making you think that they will never be together because they could never repair ALL THE DIFFERENCES!!  

However, and this is a really big however, it IS a romance novel.  When I pick the book up, I'm not reading it for its literary value or because I think the plot is going to be wonderful or the characters incredibly complex.  I'm reading because, sometimes, I just want a book that's easy and laid back and requires no real effort on my part.  And, in terms of romance novels, Lowell puts an incredible amount of research into this one (and the others of this series.)  There is a monstrosity of information about pearl culturing and pearl trade and how to buy/sell/find/match/survive pearls.  You can tell that there was a lot of research on her part which, more often than not, doesn't happen in romance.

So, bottom line.  Great literary novel?  Not even close.  Pleasantly surprising fluff read?  Yes.

One of my coworkers saw this book sitting on my desk and was surprised that I read Elizabeth Lowell, because I'm not the romance novel type. I explained that, no, this one was for the blog, and I really didn't do the whole romance novel thing. She pointed out that at least Lowell isn't your typical romance novel, and I had to agree.

There's a real story going on in this book. There's a murder and intrigue and, as Cassy pointed out, actual research was done. (Granted, I didn't fact-check because I don't really like pearls and don't really care about them that much, though I do care very much about oysters, since I live right on top of the Chesapeake Bay and they're kind of a big deal around here.)

So if you like romance novels but you feel like you need something a little bit more substantial, try out this author. If you really hate romance novels, this still really isn't for you (unless you want to give them a shot but don't want to pick up something with Fabio and a sword on the cover).

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