Saturday, June 20, 2009

Life lessons from Barnes and Noble

I like that romance novels don't try to "class it up" and pretend they're something they're not.  Today, perusing the shelves at B&N, I was in for a literary treat.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the best of the romance section - complete with commentary.*

  • Ruthless Tycoon, Inexperienced Mistress: A novel by Cathy Williams
Cesar Caretti has had a string of sophisticated socialites warming his bed--until he meets Jude.  Her untainted beauty sets his Spanish blood on fire!  (Wait ... isn't Spanish blood supposed to be constantly on fire?)

Jude struggles to keep up with Cesar's glamorous world.  (Kegels.)  Then her inexperience is fully revealed: she's expecting the Spaniard's baby.  (Because virgins don't know how to use birth control.)  For Cesar there is only one option--marriage.  After all, he is a Caretti.  (And you know how those Carettis can be.)  And, as Jude discovers, his proposal is not a question--it's a command!  (Just like in good old pre-suffrage days!)

  • Virgin Mistress, Scandalous Love-Child: A novel by Jennie Lucas
In the seductive heat of Rio during its Carnaval, Ellie succumbs to her dangerously charismatic boss, Diogo Serrador.  (I smell a lawsuit!)  But, having taken her virginity, the Brazillian billionaire wants nothing more to do with her--until he discovers she's pregnant!  (What is with virgins these days?)

Diogo will accept nothing less than taking Ellie as his bride.  (Um ... so, no on the lawsuit, then?)  Their marriage is passionate by night, but tense and loveless by day.  Ellie realizes that she's in an impossible situation: Diogo's dark past has frozen his heart, but she's fallen in love with her husband ... (Let me get this straight - you're married to a billionaire with cheese grating abs, and you don't have to provide for him emotionally?  Tragic.)

  • Captive at the Sicilian Billionaire's Command: A novel by Penny Jordan
Rocco Leopardi's demand is nonnegotiable: Julie Simmons must bring his little nephew to Sicily to the child may take his rightful place as a Leopardi!  (There just might be international treaties on this issue.)

At first Rocco thought Julie would be a gold digger (out to get his nonnegotiable fortune), but her unexpected innocence (read: virginity) is arousing.  When it's proved that Julie is actually the boy's aunt (?????), the sensual Sicilian changes the rules of his game.  (Ugh, Sicilians, always changin rules to stuff.)  He's got more than one good reason to keep this inexperienced waif captive -- and make her his wife!  (So ... not on the lookout for gold diggers any more?)

  • Bought for the Sicilian Billionaire's Bed: A novel by Sharon Kendrick
To get the hordes of predatory women off his back (yes, that's right - hordes), billionaire Salvatore Cardini impulsively asks his petite office cleaner to be his convenient mistress!  (Why the exclamation point here?  They seem pretty standard after the first paragraph.)

Jessica reluctantly agrees - who would say no to such an incredibly attractive and commanding man?  (Girls with self-esteem.)  But he is on the international rich list (score!), with a glamorous lifestyle to match, while she has to work two jobs just to survive.  What she hasn't realized is her role isn't just to be on his arm in public--but to be his mistress in private, too!  (Which makes you a hooker, Jessica.  But don't worry, if you're also a virgin, you're going to get pregnant and then he's going to want to marry you.

  • The Greek's Forced Bride: a novel by Michelle Reid
Greek billionaire Leo Christakis is convinced the drab, shapeless suits worn by Natasha are simply a cover for the gold-digging harlot who lies beneath.  (You know, I'm starting to feel for these poor foreign billionaires, beating off harlots with a stick.)

Mistakenly thinking Natasha's been stealing from his company, Leo commands her to be at his beck and call - in and out of the bedroom.  (Theft, rape, tomato, tomahto.)  Natasha is thrown into his world of unimaginable luxury.  (And she LOVES it!)  Then Leo discovers she's innocent -- in every sense!  (Oh, those virgins, getting the billionaires again.)  Now she has no choice -- she must become the Christakis bride!  (Because otherwise she'll make off with his seed!)  

Runners Up:
  • The Ruthless Magnate's Virgin Mistress (Seriously, virgins, what is your deal?)
  • The Spaniard's Virgin Housekeeper (My favorite part of this one is not just that it's another poor virgin at the mercy of her employer - when did that stop being sleazy and start being romantic, again? - but that her name is "Izzy Makepeace.")
  • Taken for Revenge, Bedded for Pleasure (Also, what is up with the resurgence of the verb "bedded"?  Love it ...)
Honorable Mentions: 

The dozens more who continued to refer to men blackmailing women - either through use of child custody disputes, dying parents, or abject poverty - into putting out.  Swoon.

* Ahem.  These are all real books - real titles, real back cover descriptions.  You would think that I might have made up a creative little zinger like Virgin Mistress, Scandalous Love-Child, but no.  Can't take credit.


  1. I see you know exactly where I was coming from with my post today! LOLOL And why are these women so damn fertile?

  2. ARRRRGHHHHHHHHHH..........I feel dirty! And to think I write romance... lol

  3. Gina - I don't know! I wonder if they've been taking fertility drugs, thinking they were birth control? They are all pretty dim.

    Trisha - just leave out the misogyny, that alone will put you head-and-shoulders above most romance novels :)