Thursday, October 15, 2009
Title: Wild Sweet Ecstasy
Author: Jo Goodman
Publishing Date: 1992
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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