Forbidden Heart
by Felicia Mason, contemporary (2000)
Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-050-6

Forbidden Heart is a romantic tale with the bitchiest, meanest heroine this side of Contemporarysville, which makes some rather interesting reading. Unfortunately, several things mar my enjoyment. One, I seem to be expected to know details of heroine Mallory Heart's past sins and stuff beforehand, and I don't. Two, the heroine's redemption is absolutely ruined by an ending that is way too neat. Three, the hero Ellis Carson, is perfection incarnate and hence just cannot sustain my interest in him. There's only so much monotony in his perfect butt and perfect shoulders that I can take before I start wondering why such a perfect dude would fall for an imperfect woman like Mallory. The answer to that question isn't to my satisfaction. Hence, I don't get the whole romance.

Mallory isn't on speaking terms with everyone at the start of the novel. After some sort of failed coup on her cousin's CEO position, she is now opening some sort of posh boutique. A big communication mishap causes the construction firm handling the renovation to slip up, however, and Ellis, boss of the firm, visits Mallory to set things straight.

She mistakes him for a mere crew chief and fires him. When she realizes her mistake, oh boy, does she has to work to get back to the good graces of that man. And of course, there's this attraction thing between them to complicate matters.

But I really have no patience for FH, if truth be told, because the heroine just run roughshod over everyone in the novel. And no one can stand up to her, not even the hero. This story is like that Sigourney Weaver woman in Working Girl doing the macarena on everyone's back while the hero just scowls from the sideline. Is physical attraction that strong for him to fall for such a woman in the first place? It is so hard to see what would interest him in her in the long term. Apart from the perfect lips, chest, and hips, she displays very little traits to attract a man like Ellis for the forever after game.

Maybe if the author shows Mallory is some light that could make Ellis' attraction rings true, I'll buy the premise of FH. As it is, FH seems to be nothing more than a half-hearted attempt at a redemption tale.

Rating: 64

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