I'm not a huge fan of Harlequin's re-releasing books from the late 1990s. At the very least, I think it should be made perfectly clear to the potential reader that the book they're considering is a re-release. Lori Foster's Unbelievable, which we reviewed a while back, was a disappointment, and I hoped Ms. Camp's book wouldn't be. But I requested it from NetGalley with confidence that at least I was going to be reading a story from a name that has become a standard in romance.
Impluse is about the love between Cam Monroe, a lowly stable boy, and Angela Stanhope, a wealthy young woman from a very prestigious family. Forced to abide by the strict social stratification of English society, they are separated when Angela is only a teenager, and she is forced to marry Lord Dunstan. Cam is run out of town by Angela's grandfather, never to be seen again.
Flash forward 13 years, and Cam is back, a self-made millionaire and success in the United States, and Angela is a divorced woman living back home again with her female relatives, consigned to a life of spinsterhood because her marriage to Lord Dunstan failed. But Cam isn't back seeking a happy reunion with Angela. He wants to punish the family that he believes ruined his life, and the best way to do that is to use all the dirt he's got on Angela's brother to force her to marry him. Unable to find a way out of the marriage, Angela agrees to help her family and Cam gets the wife he always wanted, albeit an unhappy wife that doesn't believe she will ever love the man he's become.
Cam and Angela become close again through a series of attacks that indicate someone is trying to kill Cam. In the end, after dozens of twists and turns, the two end up happily ever after, just as they have to in romanceland.
I'm torn about how to rate Impulse. On the one hand, I liked it. There was a little bit of mystery involving who wanted to kill Cam, and Camp included a little side drama of Cam looking to find out who his father was after all his life believing himself to be illegitimate. I also liked the pairing of Cam and Angela and wanted to see them end up together, not just because it's a romance and that's what has to happen, but because I grew to like the characters.
On the other hand, I didn't enjoy the characterization Camp created for Angela in many parts. Angela doesn't want Cam not because he basically blackmails her into marrying him but because she was sexually abused by her first husband. The details of that were just overwhelming, and then the way Cam tries to help her to accept him sexually seemed a bit far fetched to me.
But in the end, I can see why Candace Camp is still around writing romance books since 1978. Impulse held my interest, and while I won't say it's a favorite of mine, I will say that if you like Regency romances and those similar to that genre, then you very well might enjoy this book. I give it three stars because we don't have half stars here at the Broads'. It's probably more like a 2.5 for me, but I'll bump it up to a three since the book is still good even after 14 years. That's got to be worth a half star.
Impulse was provided for review by the publisher, Harlequin, through NetGalley.
The Second Time Around ........
Lady Angela Stanhope lives a quiet existance in the country with her family after the humiliating scandal of her divorce from Lord Dunstan. With her family on the brink of financial disaster, the appearance of a wealthy American businessman offering to purchase the family's failing mining business seems to be fortune smiling on the Stanhope family. But when the businessman turns out to be Cam Monroe, the one love of Angela's youth, whom her grandfather had forced away and threatened with ruin, the family realizes they are in the hands of a man bent on revenge.
In exchange for Angela's hand in marriage, Cam Monroe pledges to keep the family's damaging secrets quiet and allow them to avoid bankruptcy. Lady Angela refuses in a panic, terrified at being under another man's control after her abusive first marriage, but relents to protect her family. Cam believes that Lady Angela married Lord Dunstan for money and title, spurning him due to his lack of position. Over time, he comes to realize the terrible truth of her situation. She married to protect him. This realization and repeated attempts on his life lead the couple on the search for an unknown villian, drawing them closer together.
Candace Camp's novels are a pleasure to read. Full of romance and mystery, Impulse also included one necessary component which is often lacking in this genre.....namely, a plot. Camp developed the characters and added personality. Of course, this is a regency romance, so expect the usual hero with a somewhat tortured soul and the reluctant heroine. Impulse is the second of Camp's novels I have sampled, and although I liked them both, this one includes shades of a plot theme I prefer not to encounter. For this reason, I give one less star than I would have given if sexual abuse had been absent from an otherwise terrific romance.
Impulse was provided for review by the publisher Harlequin through, Net Galley.