Discover the sensual and sweeping power of love in this story of new beginnings and uncertain endings by Judith McNaught—the New York Times bestselling author that USA TODAY raves “is in a class by herself.”
On Friday, a sensuous stranger enters Katie’s life. By Sunday, her life is irrevocably changed forever.
Katie Connelly submerges her painful past in a promising career, an elegant apartment, and uncomplicated, commitment-free romantic liaisons. Yet something vital is missing from her life and she’s uncertain what it is—until she meets proud, rugged Ramon Galverra.
With his charm and passionate nature, Ramon gives her a love she has never known. She is still, however, afraid to surrender her heart to this strong, willful, secretive man—a man from a different world, a man with a daring, uncertain future. Will Katie’s relationship with Ramon survive once the initial thrill of their simmering passion subsides?
In this bold and heartfelt novel, perfect for fans of Julie Garwood and Lisa Kleypas, Judith McNaught proves once again that she “not only spins dreams, but she makes them come true” (RT Book Reviews).
Guess, what peeps, it’s rant time. If you know me, you know that this book has been on my hate list for awhile. Okay, maybe I haven’t mentioned it that much because it’s not YA and YA is what I usually review on this blog, but it is a known fact amongst personal friends that this is one of the most hated books on the MJ list.
Long story short, it was one of the books my mom gifted me when I first started reading romance. I don’t think she realized how God awful offensive this book was. Because if she did, she probably wouldn’t have given it to me (she has actually told me this when I ranted about said book several times). It’s the sort of book that makes my blood pressure get ridiculously high where I feel the blood pumping in that vein above my head and… I end up looking like Toht on Indiana Jones when his face melted into liquid goo.
I still remember my rants about Katie and Ramon quite well. I think I was a high school junior then so it’s been roughly about twelve years since I read it, and I still remember it.
God, I’m old.
Anyways, I decided to pick this one up again mainly because I wanted to discuss some of the faux pas in the bodice era of romance after reading that Hillary Rodham Clinton found romances in general to perpetuate to the misogynic toxic society that we are living in. Honestly, if all books were like Tender Triumph and Midsummer Magic (just mentioning that one has that vein throbbing again) I’d have had no beef with what Hillary said. However, I think with being first lady, senator of New York, secretary of state, and just being an all around BAMF for the past twenty plus years has kept her busy from picking up a modern day romance novel which departs a little bit from the bodice ripper era books.
To be blunt though, there are still some very problematic romances out there. You’ve heard me rant about them, but there are also some really good ones out there. Classifying the genre like that left me shaking my head a bit, but for someone who probably hasn’t read the genre in years I can give her a pass. Especially if she would’ve read Tender Triumph. Because if we’re using Tender Triumph as an example, then, well, Hillary’s got it pegged.
I only got through about 90 pages when I reread this one. In the couple of chapters there was sexism, racism, and homophobia. Lovely stuff.
Because I have way too much time on my hands ( I really don’t). Here’s a few keepers:
“Two lesbians,” she lied gravely
He believed her, and wasn’t shocked. “No kidding? It doesn’t bother you?”
Katie gave him a look of wide-eyed innocence. “I adore them.” For just a fraction of a second he looked revolted, and Katie’s smile widened with genuine laughter.
Recovering almost immediately, she shrugged. “Too bad. See you around.” (15)
She knew, and he knew, that simply because he was Hispanic she had assumed he drove a produce truck. (23)
“I mean, you think it is important that brandy be drunk in the ‘proper’ wau, yet you do not worry if it is ‘proper’ to invite any man you meet into your apartment. You risk soiling your reputation and-” (29)
Those are just three quotes that made me throw the book against the wall, I threw it several other times as well. You know when I revisited Midsummer Magic as gross as it was-and it is gross, Coulter tries to justify rape with bloody cream-at least it was sort of fun to mock in the fact that it was clear that Coulter didn’t take herself seriously and the book in part was meant to be taken as a farce. A sick fuck of a farce, but a farce. This book though, it did take itself in a more serious fashion and these quotes I’m using-well, they were all supposed to be a part of playful banter that has the characters endear each other to them. Ramon’s backwards views that Katie should make him dinner and give up her job, were suppose to be sweet.
They weren’t sweet though, they were fucked up.
As was the marriage proposal that appears randomly after the characters barely know each other and the immediate if you marry me you move to Puerto Rico with me woman bits as well.
It’s not like I can even sympathize that much with Katie. She is a racist bitch. There’s no other way to describe it. But I still wanted to shake her and tell her that she was getting herself in danger with Ramon. It had all the classic marks of an abusive relationship and it made me want to vomit.
Ramon “rescues” Katie when she’s being harassed by her married boyfriend to put out. It’s not a meet cute situation for sure. I think McNaught wanted the reader to feel like Ramon was a white knight of sorts, but I kept thinking how did Katie not know that married guy was married.
As for Ramon, he’s obnoxious. Pretty much he sells produce out of his truck because daddy got senile and ruined the company, and rather than sucking it up and getting a job that his skills could actually be utilized he decides that he’s going to go back to farming-something he’s never done before. I guess based off of the books God awful narration, he thought he’d be good because his grandfather was a farmer or whatever.
You know, being a farmer actually requires you to know things like how plants grow and the like. Not that Ramon knows this. But I think he’s at least okay with farming since he can grow cabbages in Puerto Rico and apparently take them over in the mainland to fly in his truck.
Look, I don’t ask questions. Ramon is suppose to be this big shot businessman so I’m guessing he had some sort of plan in this cabbage growing investment of his. But I didn’t even know you could grow cabbages in Puerto Rico.
Anyway…digression about the agriculture business aside, after Ramon rescues Katie he decides to stalk her.
Seriously, girl asks him to go away and he won’t actually go away. Katie should’ve got the pepper spray out and called the police. But instead he’s mildly attractive so we get some very squeamish scenes of them “dating”.
Which consists of the characters insulting each other back and forth and being okay with each other only because they find each other to be oddly physically attractive.
You know, this has the bare bones to be a good story. I would’ve enjoyed reading Ramon’s riches to rags tell if he wasn’t such a sexist creeper ass. I would’ve enjoyed Katie had she not been such a racist bitch who somehow doesn’t know she’s dating a married man and then is willing to randomly agree to marry someone who is forcing her to move outside of the continental US.
But instead, this story was just gross. This was the sort of story that you could see why Hillary Clinton has the bad impression of romance books that she does. To be fair to McNaught, I vaguely recall reading an interview awhile back that this book and Double Standards (another early era McNaught book) were heavily influenced by the publisher. But honestly, that’s sort of a piss poor excuse. I think if anything Tender Triumph shows really underlying problems in society that still exists to this day.
In this book, sexism is treated merely as a courtship ritual. Racism is merely innocent assumptions made about a person. And homophobia is just a funny hahaha joke. Honestly though, nothing about this is funny, romantic, or innocent. It’s disgusting, disturbing, and deplorable.
The thing is, as bad as Tender Triumph is the genre has thankfully evolved. While books as bad as this do still unfortunately do still exist, they’re not as near as prevalent as they once were. Unfortunately though, books like this have stigmatized the genre to some degree.
When I first started reading romance, I remember picking up a copy of McNaught’s Paradise before one of my undergrad classes when the professor came into the room and told me I was too smart to read such drivel. Honestly, that comment has lingered on me since taking that class and I’m still disgusted by it. However, with the stigma that books like Tender Triumph have left on the genre, it’s understandable but still not right. Fortunately, it does seem like the genre has made a lot of strides since the early 80’s (when this book was first published). However, progress still can be made (you know, by getting rid of the alpha douche themed books all together)
Overall Rating: Falalala you fail.