Because of this, a Hint of Wicked by Jennifer Haymore was a huge success with me. I like being challenged. This book made new neural pathways in my brain!!
Do people know that plot by now? Okay, okay.
Nutshell: husband Garrett got amnesia during the war and everyone thought he was dead. He comes back 8 years later to discover his wife Sophie has married his beloved cousin Tristan. Sophie must choose, but she loves them both!!
The book did buck a few conventions. I suppose in part, that’s something that automatically disposed me to like it. But the thing I want to talk about is the ending.
They say that a good ending to a book must be 'unexpected, yet inevitable.'
Was this? I could go in two ways here; I suppose that was my quandary. I was one of the people who didn’t guess which choice Sophie would make. Part of me says, well, maybe Haymore didn’t quite make the case. I mean, we had access to Sophie’s thought process, so you’d think I shouldn’t be surprised.
But then I say, if the case had been made too overtly, I wouldn’t have been surprised, and I love being surprised. I was like, reading inside the last 20 or so pages from the end and I was thinking, OMG, this is great! I still don’t know how this will end! I mean, when does that happen? Usually the suspense is about the how, rarely the who or what!
My possibly half-assed and definitely half-baked thoughts on why this is a unique love triangle...
I'm not exactly the veteran romance reader, but in most love triangles I can think of, (and I totally enjoy triangles) a contender slowly pulls ahead and proves himself, or else one ruins it for himself or reveals himself to be less than, or the heroine and hero have a deepening connection that becomes undeniable.
Here, the woman is sorting out her own feelings and the men aren’t changing—or proving or un-proving themselves. Relationships aren’t evolving on a deep level. It’s so interesting.
My point? The heroine, Sophie, has an unusual amount of agency here. Her waffling can (and has) made people see her as weak, but this is also really how a person decides, esp. here in the Carolyn Jean Crane household. They want two things. They can't have them. They have to dither a while.
Oddly, when I compare Sophie here to say, kickass Anita Blake, Sophie actually had more say-so over her love triangle, because in the Anita Blake triangle, one of the guys would act like a freak in some way and she’d go to the other. Or, in Sugar Daddy, one was clearly not right and the heroine had to get that, even though she didn’t have evidence.
What I'm saying (and as you see, this is the blog version of thinking aloud), in most books, the solution to the triangle comes from outside a heroine as much, if not more, than inside. In this book, the solution comes from almost entirely inside. Both men are right for her. At least, that’s what I thought, and I feel strongly I could make a case for that. So she goes through this period of agonizing indecision, and then comes out of it.
It was all very odd and challenging. I really liked that about this book, and I excitedly looked forward to reading it at the end of the day.
Proper review: The Booksmugglers, Stacy's, Alpha Heroes, Find the Time to Read; Don't Talk just read; Author Interview at Love Romance Passion.
Totally SPOILERY discussion of HOW here! (Anyone else? Let me know!)