Avon, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-06-233467-1
Historical Romance, 2016
Six years ago, Lord Denys Somerton loved the actress Lola Valentine. He poured his heart and soul – as well as other things – into her, only to have her apparently sleep with his father’s BFF and then fled with him to America for a new life… after the musical Denys commissioned for her bombed, too. From all appearances, she was a mercenary tart who used him and then ditched him when a better sugar daddy showed up.
Cut to today, when the sugar daddy, Henry Latham, had thoughtfully died. Henry and Denys’s father co-own a former seedy theater, which Denys managed and turned into a more respectable establishment over the years. So, Henry left his share to… ta-da, Lola, and she’ll be back in Denys’s Copacabana before he knows it, no matter how hard he tries to fight it.
Lola and Denys first showed up and exchanged body fluids in a previous book that I have not read, so maybe I am missing a few things here, but still, this couple is pretty alright. Denys can be quite bratty and petulant, but considering that he rather melodramatically went mad – MAD – after Lola left him, I probably can’t blame him. Lola seems like someone who can hold her own against him, so she’s alright too. The romance is alright as well. There is nothing remarkable here, as everything feels like something everyone has read before, but still, it’s okay.
Until it comes to why Lola left him six years ago. Yes, you guessed it – she did it for his own good! I’d think the son of a dude who co-owns a trampy drama house won’t be too hung up about respectability and marrying within his own rank, but no, Lola knows better so she must leave him six years ago, so that Denys could marry some woman from a more appropriate station in life. And then, she also has to keep up deceptions about her real relationship with Henry… because she must protect someone close to him too! So, basically, we have a heroine who happily not only straddled the crucifix but screeched at people to nail her hard to it too, just because she was afraid that she might made poor little Denys sad a bit.
Denys’s reaction to her revelation is basically, “What the…?” And that’s my reaction too, although I spent the bulk of the book up to the point wishing desperately that the “revelation” wouldn’t be what it turned out to be. The fact that the author had Denys behaving that way suggests to me that she too knows what a big-ass clown car Lola is being, so I can only guess that she makes her heroine that way because she or her editor feels like such a heroine is the only one the majority of romance readers could accept. Sadly, I think that’s true.
But if Lola was so desperately willing to play the melodramatic dumbass martyr six years ago, then why does she insist on coming back into Denys’s life now? Why not just stay away and continue being the martyr? The fact that she comes back and wants Denys to be her BFF and trust her again suggests that she’s either a dumb twit or a sadistic user who is toying with the poor dolt’s feelings. Of course it can’t be the second option, so that makes Lola a twit. I hope the author makes a lot of money out of writing this book, or otherwise she’d deliberately sabotaged her story for nothing.
No Mistress of Mine would be so much more fun if Lola had been a mercenary sort who now comes back, maybe a little bit mellower, either hoping to swindle Denys into selling her his father’s share of the place, or to get him back. This would give the story much more opportunity to explore the characters’ feelings, maybe make them scream and fight for that cathartic vibe – that kind of thing. But no. Here is just a story of a twit who comes back to the guy she hurt badly just because she’s a colossal dumbass, and she gets him back so… yay? Not much drama here, not much depths, just well-written twitdom all over the place.