Monday, October 27, 2008

This Girl Recommends ~ The Price of Desire (Jo Goodman)

The Price of Desire by Jo Goodman

I've read Jo Goodman before and love the 3 or 4 books I devoured in a matter of days but then, somehow, she dropped off my radar until If His Kiss Is Wicked came along. I was rambling through the shelves at Borders, bored with romanceland in general when the book popped out at me. So I picked it up and went on my happy way, a little disgruntled because I only found one book to read. But lo and behold, by chapter 2 I was saying to myself "I must go out and buy every single Jo Goodman book I can get my hands on." This didn't happen, of course, but I did snap up The Price of Desire as soon as it went on sale. And let me say, I was not disappointed.

The Price of Desire has an interesting premise. To save himself from the merciless hands of Griffin ~ Viscount Breckenridge, owner of one of London's gaming hells, Alistair Cole offers up a marker in exchange for the money he owes (which he plans to retrieve from his father). The catch? The marker is his sister, Olivia. When I read the back cover I was a little put off. I mean, really, what else does the marker mean but that Olivia is going to "belong" to Griffin and come on now, what do you think he is going to do with her? It's a book with a strong alpha male. Except ... Olivia is strong too. Amazingly so. With bits of believable vulnerability built in. She is more than a match for Griffin and I found myself delighted each and every time she managed to knock him down a notch. And let's just say, Olivia didn't become a sex slave (thank you Jo!). She did eventually become his mistress but it was her choice and her's alone. Her strength and Griffin's unexpected gentleness surprised me and kept me turning page after page. Their love was real, you could feel it seeping from the pages. But so, of course, was their conflict. I had a little trouble with the external conflict (the villain's motives were a bit far-fetched) but Goodman's writing put those little annoyances straight out of my mind.

Goodman has a distinct voice, quite unlike those I have read before. She manages point of view beautifully, switching between character's thoughts seamlessly and without jarring the reader from the story. I think this is mostly accomplished because we know the characters' thoughts through dialogue. The dialogue is written so skillfully, that each revelation is a surprise. A surprise that is wholly unexpected but satisfyingly sensible to the story. There are periods of internal reflection but the characters are more honest with each other than they are with themselves (even if they don't mean to be). Olivia and Griffin never lie to the readers nor do they make discovery easy.

For an example of Goodman's writing style, see this post when I participated in Teaser Tuesday.

Things I Liked:
  • The twists and turns. As soon as you have the story straight in your head, Goodman throws another obstacle in your path and you are forced to re-evaluate the characters.  
  • Olivia and Griffin toss lines of dialogue back and forth, reversing the other's sentences and meanings to work in their favor. Usually I would find this device annoying but with Olivia and Griffin it just WORKS. They do this first in defense, then in learning and finally in teasing love. Their dialogue is beautiful. 
  • The story. This book, although not without action, is primarily character based, my favorite kind of novel. The evolution of Olivia and Griffin is mapped out point by point. Goodman never misses a beat in exploring their developing emotions, and never leaves the reader wondering why they make the choices they do.
Things I Disliked:
  • The lines of humor earlier in the story. Occasionally Olivia or Griffin would throw out a funny sentence and it would jar me because in the beginning they really didn't have a teasing relationship. Later, toward the end, the humor worked but in the beginning it was almost as though Goodman inserted those lines randomly.
  • The Villains. I won't go into detail here about the external conflict because I don't want to spoil anything (really the whole story is a delight that I would feel as though I were cheating potential readers out of the fun of discovery). But in any case, the villain was not fully developed so his/her motives really didn't make much sense to me. I get that he/she (is it a he or is it a she? You'll know if you read) is crazy but I think Goodman needed to spend a bit more time exploring the psyche for the villain's motives to make sense. (That said, I much prefer that Goodman spent the majority of the book examining  her main characters).
  • Olivia's relationship with her brother, Alastair. Again, to avoid spoiling the book I won't go into particulars but suffice to say there is forgiveness in the end. I get that he's young and I get that he's selfish but his actions clearly deserve more sternness from Olivia. Of course, she did end up the better side of the deal but ... she fell into the "I'm such a sweet, sweet, wonderful heroine" category that sometimes makes me gag.
  • Released ~ September 2008
  • Price ~ $6.99
  • Related books ~ I don't believe this is really a series but Restell Gardner from If His Kiss Is Wicked makes an appearance.
  • Favorite Goodman ~ If His Kiss Is Wicked
Other Reviews:


Anonymous said...

Hi Emily! Thanks for telling me you already posted this review. I would have checked later this week but this way it's sure faster. :)

I can't really say much about this novel because I haven't read it yet but thanks for confirming again that it's a character-driven novel (I prefer them too). The funny thing with the novel is, even though I liked If His Kiss is Wicked, without the reviews I read online, I probably wouldn't buy it because stories where the heroine is used to pay for a debt are not my cuppa tea. Thank God there are online reviews and thank you for your review. I especially liked the listing of things you liked/didn't like - nice, concise way of putting it. Thanks!

Emily said...

Taja ~ I wouldn't have bought the book either except I was dying for a good read. The premise didn't really interest me. It smacked too much of a captive story which I don't really go for. But in the end, I was completely satisfied.

Thanks for visiting!


Kristie (J) said...

Well hello there!! Another new to me blog - Yippee!!!
I've loved Jo Goodman for a while now, but I think she is kind of easy to loose track of for some. She only puts out one book a year so you don't see her name as often as authors who have more than one a year. But since I've been reading her, she's been an autobuy. I loved this book and once again I'm reminded that I must post my thoughts on this one too!

sybil said...

Never mind the email you are going to get from me... I decided to not be lazy and just look for myself