I guess it's my Third Wave-Feminist tendancies that make me cringe at most romances written before say, 1997... The late-80's/early 90's are home to the famous 'bodice rippers' and everyone's favorite love scene - the forced seduction. For those unfamiliar with term it's basically when a hero convinces the heroine she didn't mean 'no' when she said it, and while it is not quite rape,
it really is too close for comfort and not at all what I want for my hero and heroine.
"Dream Fever" was written in 1991 and has all those elements I avoid, an arrogant hero (alpha male), a painfully young (just 18) and naive heroine, and some roughness (a near forced seduction/intense first sexual encounter.) Having just read it back in May, I must note that the plot and setting are similar to Candice Proctor's "Night in Eden." However, "Dream Fever" was written first, and although it also takes place in a new colony (New Zealand this time) and there is violence affecting the H/H it feels sweeter and much less harsh than Proctor's convicted heroine and brutally real depiction of the colonization of Austrailia. It is a tribute to Sutcliffe's writing that I was able to like the hero and heroine more and more as the story progresses and if it wraps up a little too neatly at the end, I didn't mind because they went through so much getting there. While reading "Dream Fever" I did get that giddy race to the end feeling - and I'm starting to think that romances should be devoured in one sitting whenever possible.
The only time I find myself wishing for an IPhone is when I'm at the used book store - I'd love to check out reviews before I buy. I only have lists I've compiled but forget to take with me and the snippets that stick in my brain. I found "Dream Fever" for 75 cents and vaguely remembered reading a DIK review of it. Turns out the review was penned by author Adele Ashworth (My Darling Caroline, Winter Garden) who still has her signed copy she bought at an airport in 1991. Not sure if "Dream Fever" is a keeper for me (mine is unsigned after all....) but I did pick up another Sutcliffe novel today hoping for some great banter and fabulous sexual tension.