RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: The Tycoon’s Secret Daughter by Susan Meier


Title: The Tycoon's Secret Daughter
Author: Susan Meier
Publication Info: Harlequin 2012
ISBN: 9780373178117
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book The Tycoon's Secret Daughter This RITA® Reader Challenge 2013 review was written by Mandi. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Short Contemporary Series category.

The summary:     

The CEO's second chance Max Montgomery had it all-charm, good looks and a career as CEO of the family business. Marriage to Kate Hunter was the icing on the cake. Until a devastating family secret sent his world-and then his marriage-crashing down around him…. 

Years later, Max is accidentally reunited with Kate, who also has a secret-the daughter he's never met! Bonding with adorable Trisha may come naturally, but with the shadows of the past still haunting him, recapturing the heart of the woman he's never stopped loving is quite a different matter….

And here is Mandi's review:

Let me begin by my review by saying that I like series romance. I think of them as the sitcoms of romance fiction and usually find a nostalgic comfort in their formulaic plots. To me, they are often an entertaining diversion when I am short on time–though I will admit they are often entertaining in ways the author never planned.

So I was excited that my first review would be The Tycoon's Secret Daughter. Just look at that title. How awesomely perfect is that title. Chock full of tropes such as the successful (i.e. rich), alpha businessman, a plot moppet, and (oh no!) secrets. So you can imagine how disappointed I was when a few pages into it I realized that I was stuck reviewing Lifetime's latest original movie.

Now I love bad movies as much as the next girl, but I was expecting a little bit of romance out of my romance. Of course, “I am so sorry; please forgive me,” is a classic trope in its own right and one that is commonly used in series romances. I just expected a little more time spent on other things… like people falling in love.

Background info: eight years ago the hero's drinking was out of control. Of course, tragedy led him to drink; we need the hero to be relatable. And of course his drinking never went too far — broken objects not broken bones; we need the hero to be forgivable.  The perfect wife would have stayed, except for the sake of her unborn child. She regretted never informing her husband of the pregnancy, but it was all done (wait for it) for the sake of her unborn child. Fast forward to the present and father recognizes mom and daughter during a fateful encounter.

Fortunately, neither hero or heroine ever fell out of love, so the author didn't have to waste time on writing about things like romance. She could focus all of her energy on self-flagellation, the past, and The Importance of Forgiveness.

I think the heroine summed up my personal feelings best when she said,

“If you keep apologizing for every little thing that goes wrong, you’re going to drive us both nuts. You’ve gotta stop saying you’re sorry.”

The word “sorry” was used 42 times in this short book.

However, that was not as bad as words relating to the past. “Drink/drunk” was used 54 times, “past” 51 times, and “remember” 62 times. Halfway through the book, I wished the author had taken her own advice, “Don’t dwell on the past.” My mouth literally hung open when the hero claimed “…we stay in the present. It was the deal we struck right after I quit drinking. We don’t think about yesterday. We don’t think about tomorrow. We deal in today.” I wanted to know how I could get cut in on this deal.

I do applaud the author for writing about something as serious as the emotional damage caused by alcoholism. I just wish that the overtly emotional passages hadn't felt so manipulative. I also wish that I could have felt the characters' anger and hurt through their actions rather than being told about it so many times (“anger/angry” 49 times, “hurt” 32 times).

The romance just wasn't there for me. Too much time spent on regrets interspersed with the rare cheesy line,

“She’d told herself not to sniff him but she had, and then he’d touched her and she’d gotten melty.”

To be fair, that is one of my favorite lines of the book. To be perfectly fair, I've Never Stopped Loving You isn't one of my favorite plot lines, simply because it is often executed so badly that the reader (or at least this reader) doesn't get drawn into the romance.

The author seemed to have caught this because two-thirds the way through the book we get,

“This wasn’t the kiss of long-lost lovers. This was a first kiss. Two people getting to know each other.”

That would be more believable if I hadn't just spent the past 120 pages listening to the characters list each others' various sins.

It's rare that my OCD lets me abandon a book before finishing, but this time only my commitment to reviewing it kept me going. It wasn't a bad book, just a bad book for me. I was hoping for sitcom (well, to be honest I was hoping for Rom-Com, but my expectations was closer to sitcom), and it was a Lifetime original move. That isn't necessarily a bad thing; the Lifetime channel is successful for a reason. If you like overtly emotional books with dramatic plots, then definitely read this book. I was just in the mood for a little romance.

This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance eBooks.

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