Thursday, October 15, 2009

Review - Wild Sweet Ecstasy

Title: Wild Sweet Ecstasy
Author: Jo Goodman
Publishing Date: 1992
Genre: Western
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: Received from Paperbackswap. I am on a Jo Goodman kick and wanted to read something old skool.

Mary Michael Dennehy who goes by the name of Michael, is a woman in a man's world. She dreams of being a reporter for a big newspaper. She is one of the few women with a college education, but most men still view her as inferior and she is bound and determined to change their opinions. Ethan Stone is working undercover infiltrating a gang of thieves who have managed to rob a series of trains. On one train heist he recognizes Michael as the stubborn woman in the newsroom. He can't have her blowing his cover, in order to save her life and his own he has to take her hostage and claims she is his estranged wife. Michael doesn't recognize him and is determined to escape.

Personalities clash in Wild Sweet Ecstasy. Michael is one stubborn cookie and lives by a set of very high moral standards. One might think it would be easy to dislike her, but the good thing about Michael is she can easily admit when she is wrong. Ethan Stone hovers over the line drawn between hero and anti-hero. He has to believably portray that he is a criminal for the other thieves to trust him. He is willing to do what it takes and if that means shooting a man, or kidnapping a woman he will and does.

On the one hand Wild Sweet Ecstasy is classic bodice ripper. Ethan is at times very cruel and mean to Michael. Michael, while captive starts to feel attracted to Ethan despite his behavior and after a certain revelation she begins to believe he didn't really kill anyone, that maybe he is a good man after all. There is a very interesting scene between the two of them when Ethan is trying to dismiss her notion that he is a good man and for her to accept that she is attracted to him. He emphasizes that not only is she attracted to him, but that she is attracted to him as a bad man. And if she is going to come to him, she will only come to him after she has accepted him as he is now, and not as the man she thinks he could be. I found this all very interesting, that Ethan does not allow her to hide behind an illusion of her own making, even though it eventually turns out to be true.

This is the kind of character development and thought provoking writing that Jo Goodman is known for. I feel that Wild Sweet Ecstasy is a mixed bag. On the one hand the writing is excellent, as is the dialogue and character development. On the other hand the storyline felt cliched and dated. I expected this when reading this story, so I may have been more lenient than another reader. Also, I should mention that Wild Sweet Ecstasy is the first book in the Dennehy Sisters series. Unfortunately, this book is out of print.

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SarahT said...

You know, I don't think I've read this one after all. I read a couple of the Dennehy Sisters books years ago, but I'm pretty sure I didn't read all of them. I must look this one up. Thanks for the review!

I find it interesting how romance heroes and heroines have evolved over the last couple of decades. I have such fond memories of Johanna Lindsey's Viking stories but they don't stand up well to re-reading. The same with Julie Garwood's Medievals. I guess times - and reader expectations - have changed. While I don't miss the old-style über-alpha males and "forced seductions", I do miss the variety of time periods and settings.

nath said...

I'm not too much into Jo Goodman and I doubt I'll read this book, so I skipped over your review... but just to say, if you wanted something old skool... the cover sure is! LOL :P Awww man, seriously?

Jill D. said...

Nath - LOL, when I got the book in the mail, I showed my husband the cover and we both had a good laugh at its expense. Needless to say I kept the cover hidden from my co-workers or they would have teased me without mercy.

Sarah - LOL, I think I read this one because you told me you liked the Dennehy series. I also got Always in my Dreams, although I am not sure which book in the series it is. Eventually, as I have time I plan on reading all of Goodman's backlist. I really love her books.

It would be interesting to compare her books to see if her style has changed through the years. I know I read a really old Kleypas (1992) and it was very different from what her books are like now. The hero was very brutish and "took" what he wanted, forced seduction and all that. Sometimes I can read those books without problems, but I find that I am liking them less and less.

Anida Adler said...

Nath, I had to chuckle when I saw your comment as I was scrolling down to add my own. I can't stop myself thinking that in the moment after that image was captured, they both fell down. Gravity fail!

Kristie (J) said...

*g* It IS interesting to compare how she has grown and changed as a writer. I 'discovered' her the Thorne Brothers Trilogy and went back and read some of her older books - including this one. Even though her older books are very 'old skool' including *laughing* the covers, she was still a very good writer and as you say, her dialogue and character development have always been in a class of their own.
Now that she is writing less 'bodice ripper' style romance, she's one of my favourite authors.

nath said...

LOL Anida... I'm thinking they were actually sitting :D Reminds me of some of the books Wendy bought at the UBS earlier this week :D At least, it has nice cover, you can give them that :D

Jill D. said...

Kristie - I have only read a few of her books, so I am looking forward to catching up on her backlist. I love her.