The Millionaire's Proposal
September 2008, Series Romance
Harl Romance #4050, $4.75, 242 pages, Amazon ASIN 037317540X
Millionaire takes heroine on the trip of her life, traveling the world and showing her unique sights she never would have discovered on her own. As fantasy scenarios go, this one would be right at the top of my list. I've been all over the U.S., but I long for international travel, and thus far my opportunities have been rather thin. Happily, road and travel romances can let you live vicariously. Well, sometimes happily. I loved the premise for The Millionaire's Proposal, but thought the characters left something to be desired.
Kerry Doyle is about to take the trip of her life. After years of being tied to her family's prestigious Dublin hotel, she's finally put her foot down; she plans to travel the world and see everything she's been missing. On the plane to her first stop (New York), she sits next to a guy who keeps bumping into her. She says something about it, and the two strike up a conversation. His name is Ronan O'Keefe, and he actually writes travel guide books. They flirt, and he offers to show her around New York.
Ronan actually has a secret. He is traveling the world too, but it is a farewell tour of sorts, because a rare genetic condition is causing him to gradually lose his sight. He plans to say farewell to all the people and places he loves, while he can still see them. When he meets Kerry, he has an inspiration: She can join him, and he can see everything through her eyes. Not only can she help him get around a bit, but her unique perspective can add something to his guidebooks.
Oh, but there's another issue. Ronan can't actually tell Kerry that he's going blind. Why not, you ask? Mostly because he's a big jerk, but also because the plot requires that his blindness remain a secret. As they travel together, he takes care to always get back to the hotel early (because he's completely night blind) or stay at the homes of friends who are in on his secret and who will shield Kerry from the truth. Eventually Ronan and Kerry have sex, but he's determined not to continue their relationship afterwards, because he doesn't want to burden Kerry with a boyfriend/husband who is blind.
Here's what I liked about this book: The Travel. Ronan and Kerry share exotic destinations and unique experiences. What fun!
Here's what I didn't like about this book: Everything else. Ronan is probably the worst part about it. Keeping his secret is selfish, stupid, and unbelievable. But he's a jerk in other ways, too. He tells Kerry what she should pack and when she can shop. He keeps calling her "Kerry, Kerry Doyle" – which made me want to deck him with something heavy. I couldn't imagine why someone would want to be married to a lying, domineering asshole like this.
But Kerry hardly deserves a free pass. She might as well have "doormat" stamped on her forehead. Her family is wealthy, and she has the means to travel, but she waits until her thirties to do so, because her family doesn't want her to leave, even for a minute. She should have told them off years ago. On the plus side, her submissive nature is sure to come in handy in her eventual marriage to Ronan "You'll Pack What I Tell You to Pack" O'Keefe. I guess you could say these two are made for each other, but that doesn't make them any more palatable.
Since books often get automatic points from me just for exotic and fun settings, you'd think this book would have a real leg up on the competition. And it did, initially. But in the end, a trip's not all that fun if you don't like your traveling companions. And I don't think I'd really want to go anywhere with this pair.
-- Blythe Barnhill
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