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Friday, June 21, 2013

Review: Captive of Desire by Alexandra Sellers

Format: .mobi (provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)
Release Date: January 1, 1982 (original), December21, 2012 (writer's cut)

Laddy Penreith was seventeen the night she met Soviet writer Mischa Busnetsky. Surrounded by a watchful crowd, neither could reveal the searing passion that flared between them.

Eight years later -- years Mischa had spent in prison for his writing -- that flame still burned for Laddy. When Mischa was suddenly released and came to London, she flew to him, and his touch told her he had forgotten nothing.

But then an act of betrayal drove Mischa so far away that Laddy felt the brief golden hours of their lovemaking had been all in vain.

Given that I wasn't even born when Captive of Desire was originally released, I don't have any first hand experience to compare this new, writer's cut to. I can say that even with the changes the author has made, the book reveals its age and gives first time readers a glimpse of what romance novels were like back in the 80's. Which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on who you ask.

Lucy Laedelia Penreith or "Laddy" was 17 when she first met Mikhail "Mischa" Busnetsky and fell in love. Unfortunately, circumstances separated the two before they could begin a relationship. Eight years later, the two are reunited and begin a relationship, but before they can say "Happily Ever After," their relationship is put to the test. Half truths and misunderstandings separate the two and towards the end I wondered if Captive of Desire would have a happy ending. That alone kept me glued to the last half of the book.

What was interesting to me as a reader was watching two people so obviously in love sabotage the opportunities to be together. Things would go smoothly for a while, then something would happen and Laddy or Mischa would make it worse by jumping to conclusions or overreacting. The two are sometimes so frustrating but at the same time I felt sympathy for them. They knew it wouldn't be easy to be together but they loved each other enough to try.

The pacing of the story could be considered slow in terms of Laddy and Mischa's romance but when it comes to plot development and character growth, Captive of Desire nails it. In other words, if you're an impatient romance reader, then the pacing is going to drive you insane, but if you like to take the time to really get to know the characters and the circumstances in which they find themselves in, then you'll enjoy this book immensely. I fell somewhere in the middle. There were some parts of the book that I felt went on too long, mostly in regards to the "downs" of Mischa and Laddy's relationship, but on the other hand, I enjoyed the time and effort that author Alexandra Sellers put into making sure readers truly knew her characters.

Mischa and Laddy's chemistry is evident very early on, the two seem to create sparks whenever they're together. However, if you're looking for hot, steamy, explicit sex scenes, you're not going to get them with this book and that's a shame because the author creates very palpable sexual tension but in the end I felt a bit short changed.

The one true pet peeve I had about Captive of Desire, oddly enough is the heroine's nickname. It's preposterous. She's a grown, professional, independent woman yet she has the nickname of a 5 year old boy. It was hard to see her as anything other than a child with that nickname. I get that when she was younger she looked more like a boy than a girl but as she grew up, her nickname should have been left in the past with her childhood. Sometimes it made reading her scenes with Mischa difficult because I couldn't shake this image of a prepubescent girl with a full grown man.

Other than my issue with a name and the image it created, Captive of Desire will satisfy romance readers who want more detail and growth in their novels but may frustrate readers who don't want a story to seem like it drags on and on and skimps on the sexual part of the characters' relationship.


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