All He Desires (Passport to Romance #2)
Much like the first in this series (Fortune’s Flower/Passionate) it’s easy to tell this is Anthea Lawson’s earlier work. I loved the Music of the Heart series which is why I was checking out the backlist.
The first half of this book is really good. Caroline Huntington is accompanying a philanthropic friend on a trip to the Mediterranean to ask for money for a girls’ training school project. On a sidetrip to the island of Crete Caroline falls off a horse and is attended by a reclusive, cranky handsome doctor.
The melting of the cranky doctor in the face of Caroline’s goodness and beauty is fun to read. There’s some interesting conflict introduced by a cousin who doesn’t want Caroline to steal his inheritance.
There’s an absolutely lovely, awesome scene when Caroline and the doctor get stuck in a cave 🙂 Very cool. Very evocative emotionally and also tinged with an awareness of the greek myths that places on Crete represent.
And then things get a bit out of join in the last bit of the book once Caroline returns to London. I am trying to think about what bothered me in the last bit and I think it was the timing or the “beats” of the romance trope here. Most of the beats happen…and then the books goes on. And on. And while HEA love is great, it doesn’t make for the most interesting parts of a Romance story. The parts leading up to the cave scene are the most interesting.
And there’s also like a double assault on Caroline (who gets herself out of one sticky situation only to be swept up in another) in the last bit of the book that even challenged my well developed powers of suspension of disbelief for story’s sake. But as I said above, this is one of Lawson’s earlier works, and the author has obviously ironed out the rough bits in later books 🙂