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Wednesday, April 15, 2009


***½ Untamed by Nora Roberts. Contemporary romance. re-read.

This is Nora's circus book, and another very early one--from 1983. Again, it shows.

Jo (short for Jovilette--why??? who knows.) Wilder (heh) is a lion trainer in a small circus. She and the rest of her circus family are afraid that Keane Prescott, the new owner of the circus, will sell it or close it down. So it's up to Jo to convince him that the circus is worth saving.

She talks him into traveling with the circus, and along the way, she falls in love with him.

Again we have the paternalistic hero, with the typical-of-80s-romances trait of being pretty darn inexplicable. He waffles back and forth in his reactions to Jo in a way that experienced readers of 80s romances will realize means that he's in love with her, but which just confuses Jo (along with any readers who are used to heroes who make at least a little bit of sense).

I suppose it's not really fair to complain about a book that simply follows the conventions of the time, but while I try to take books for what (in my perception) they were intended to be, my ratings reflect my enjoyment, and even in the 80s I didn't like that convention.

OTOH, I'm a huge fan of the small family circuses you can still find here in Europe, and once again, Nora did a wonderful job of portraying an unusual setting and job with non-intrusive thoroughness. I really enjoyed visiting behind the scenes in the circus, and that was where most of my favorite parts of the book took place. There was a particularly affecting scene with Jo's oldest lion that even brought me to tears.

Bottom line: if you've 'gotta have 'em all', or if you like circuses and don't mind 80s romances, check it out. If not, you're not missing a lot by skipping this one.

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Today is Blog Reader Appreciation Day and I mentioned you as one of my first commentors. I don't know if you still read my blog but I linked to you on my post.
Family Circuses? That sounds fun.
I don't think I have copy of this book or even read it yet. But I know it be a long while until I read it *grin*

Glad to see you posting reviews - I missed it! :)
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