Friday, January 2, 2009

Luring a Lady (book) by Nora Roberts

After her grandfather's death, Sydney Hayward becomes responsible for his corporation. She is unprepared and unsure of herself, but she's determined to do well and show that his faith in her was not misplaced. Then Mikhail Stanislaski storms into her office, citing years worth of damage to the Hayward building he lives in that was never repaired. He's sure she's a rich, snobbish woman who will brush off him and his complaints, but she quickly proves him wrong. He finds himself fascinated by the hints of passion and emotion underneath her icy exterior and becomes determined to know her better, even as he works with her to repair the apartment building. Unfortunately, no one in Sydney's social circle, including her mother, would ever see a relationship with a man like Mikhail, a rough immigrant carpenter/artist, as anything more than a foolish fling.

This is my favorite book in the Stanislaski series. Although I know it's silly, I love stories where vibrant men thaw cool, elegant, and lonely women, and Sydney and Mikhail sure fit those parts. Sydney is a wealthy, carefully controlled woman who wants nothing more than to do what's right and be the kind of person her grandfather would've been proud of. Mikhail is a handsome guy with a big personality, social skills that get him friends everywhere, and a large, happy, healthy family. Sydney's lonely, distant personality shows itself in her sometimes wistful, vulnerable behavior while she's with Mikhail's family. Mikhail's vibrancy shows itself in pretty much everything about him, including his artwork.

This is not one of those romance novels where the hero and heroine are in bed together soon after the story starts - there's lots of sexual tension and some kissing early on in the story, but there's no actual sex until at least half way through the book, and what sex there is isn't overly detailed, so this isn't the kind of book that should offend too many people (unless they don't like the idea of sex before marriage).

Read-alikes:
  • The MacGregor Grooms (book) by Nora Roberts - The MacGregor family, like the Stanislaski family, is big, happy, and healthy. The MacGregor Grooms is actually composed of three short romantic stories (100-140 pages each). Each story is about a different man in one of the more recent MacGregor generations. Daniel MacGregor, the grandfather of these men and the patriarch of the MacGregor family, enjoys meddling in their lives (i.e. matchmaking), and by the end of each story the MacGregor men are happily matched up with someone who's just right for them. Readers who like Luring a Lady's "cool, elegant woman and vibrant, artistic man" story will probably like D.C.'s story, the first story in the book, best. Daniel MacGregor convinces D.C., a painter and his grandson, to act as the lovely and stiff Layna Drake's escort at a charity ball.
  • Soft Focus (book) by Jayne Anne Krentz - Six months after a disastrous one-night stand, Jack Fairfax and Elizabeth Cabot are less than thrilled to discover that they'll have to work together to recover a stolen crystal vital to a business they both have a stake in. Their attempts to find the crystal take them into the world of film noir (or at least B movie film noir). Like Sydney, Elizabeth is an "ice princess," so those who'd like another "thawing of the ice princess" romance might enjoy this book. In addition, Krentz and Roberts have similar writing styles.
  • Monkey High! (manga) by Shouko Akira - Haruna transfers to a new school after a scandal lands her politician father in prison. School life, with its cliques and drama, reminds her of a monkey hill, and she doesn't expect much from her new life. With her icy behavior towards her classmates, it doesn't seem like she'll ever fit in, but Macharu, one of her new classmates, cheerfully enters her life and refuses to leave. Those who'd like another romantic story involving an ice princess and a guy with a big personality might enjoy this manga.
  • True Colors (book) by Diana Palmer - As a teen, Meredith Ashe was run out of town by her boyfriend Cy Harden's mother. Cy had no idea that Meredith was pregnant. Years later, no longer a scared teen, Meredith is back. She's the head of a multinational corporation, and she's determined to take over his company in revenge for what was done to her in the past. However, Meredith's return reveals buried truths and reignites former passion. Those who'd like another romance featuring a strong female executive might enjoy this book.

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