Always (or “The Angry Heroine”) by Carol Rose
Elinor Prescott has come home at last…to Oakleigh, the gracious antebellum mansion that was home to generations of her Southern family. But the beautiful old house is a near-ruin and she can’t afford to restore it. Elinor hopes to find a buyer who will cherish the home as she does. But she has one rule–she won’t sell to handsome, self-made millionaire Cole Whittier.
Cole has the locals upset over his plans to build a factory nearby and Elinor’s leading the opposition. He’s got a fight on his hands to convince the stubborn beauty of the merits of his plans–and of everything else he discovers he wants to offer her.
It’s up to Cole to persuade Elinor to see things from his perspective. The sexy industrialist is convinced that Elinor is well worth winning over.
I had a lot of problems with this book. There are a lot of good ideas but the bad execution destroys a lot of that promise. The story should have been right up my alley…but I found myself wanting to toss this book across the room on several different occasions. I also found myself putting it down and not coming back for long periods of time. In fact, I had to force myself to finish. That’s never a good sign. This book is in need of a good editor, STAT.*
I think that a lot of my issues with this book deals with characterization and the lack of character growth. Elinor was just too…angry throughout the entire book. She was mad about this, mad about that…yelling and screaming and flinging accusations left and right. With all of her explosions…I never once thought of her as feisty or as a spitfire – she was just plain annoying as hell and slightly unlikeable. I’d see her as more of a nag and really couldn’t understand why Cole liked her. I felt sad for him that he was dating her.
There was very little emotional or sexual tension between the hero and heroine. I saw Cole try and try with her…but all I saw from Elinor was anger and reverse snobbishness. In fact, by the end of the book I was so sick and freaking tired of her money issues that I wanted to shove some money down her throat so she could choke on it. Most people – especially Americans – respect riches that are the result of hard work. Cole came from nothing and did it all himself…but the reader is subjected to Elinor’s angry money issues time and time again.
While still carping on Elinor’s anger issues, lol, I wanted to say that her anger made it hard for me to believe the story. WHY would Cole want to marry her?? WHAT had she done beside be a bitch? I never saw any real growth in their relationship that would make me feel that leap was possible. I can’t even remember Elinor instigating affection between the two of them.
The only point that Elinor had in her favor was that Cole lied to her – by omission – about being the anonymous buyer of her grandfather’s house. And then he kept up that lie throughout the entire book…which – of course – clues the reader in to the final “big misunderstanding” that the couple will have (much too early).
And the ending. Wow. It just made me so angry. Wow, so angry.
*Note: a good editor is NOT a proof reader.