The Black Sheep and the English Rose

Donna Kauffmann
August 2008, Contemporary Romance
Brava, $14.00, 341 pages, Amazon ASIN 0758217293
Part of a series

Grade: D
Sensuality: Hot

Did you know we've granted Donna Kauffman DIK status three times?

I was practically born clutching an HP, so the truth is there were a lot of years in which I gobbled up tales of the super rich. These days, though, they just don’t seem to sit so well – especially when they’re as paper thin as this one.

The third in the author’s Black Sheep series, this one features megarich Finn Dalton and the equally endowed (ha, ha) Felicity Jane Trent, who also comes complete with a pedigree “that would make even the royals gush in approval”. The two team up to try to steal a sapphire from a Big Bad.

Now, why you ask, would two megarich beautiful people dabble in stealing jewels? To tell you the whole truth, it doesn't make much friggin' sense. Well, except it gives the author an excuse to have the two swan around in executive jets and limos and attempt to make with the sophisticated banter like Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly in Rear Window. It ain’t happening.

This book consists of page after page (after page after page) of dialogue that is supposed to be sparking and clever and just plain isn’t. Really isn’t. Then, since the book is a Brava, you’ve also got page after page (after page after page) of hot sex scenes that just didn’t feel very hot since I was so unengaged by the characters and the shallow (make that completely shallow) story. Still, at least the prose doesn't suck - which is just about the only sort of positive I can find.

I know that the publishing cycle is a long one, but, geez, could there be a worse time for a book celebrating such wretched excess? See, these two are supposedly all about working for their own "foundations", but their daily carbon footprint is equal to…well, let’s say, the entire country of Ethiopia for one month might be a fair comparison.

If the story, the dialogue, or the characters had been…well, well done, I’m sure I’d have gotten past all this – as I said, I have a long history of enjoying tales about the megarich. But this one left a bad taste in my mouth and it just might be a while before I can get rid of it.

Truth is when a book like this filled to the brim with conspicuous consumption in a Violet Winspear kind of way falls flat, it falls...well, like flat earth flat. Maybe I've changed or maybe the world is changing around me, but my tolerance for paper-thin limousine liberal trust fund baby "foundation head" jewel thieves is clearly at zero.

-- Sandy Coleman

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