REVIEW: ‘Price of Passion’ (2008) by Susan Napier

by Sarah on February 17, 2010 · 7 comments

Genre: Contemporary Romance (Harlequin Presents)

POV: 3rd Person (we only see heroine’s POV)

Sensuality: Warm

Violence: N/A

My Grade: C-

This review was written for Keishon’s monthly TBR Challenge. I got the book free as part of Harlequin’s 60 Year Anniversary promotion. It’s been on my iPod ever since and I thought I should finally read it.

The Price of Passion is a quick read but one which I found dissatisfying. I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of Susan Napier’s books in the past. She’s one of the very few Harlequin Presents authors whose books I generally like. This one, however, didn’t work for me. I read it while I had a fever, so this may have influenced my impression of the book, but the plot devices used are ones I usually object to in romances. There are a couple of spoilers in my review, so those of you who don’t like spoilers shouldn’t read any further.

The premise of the story is typical Harlequin Presents fodder: Kate Crawford has been having an on-off affair with author, Drake Daniels, for the past two years. Drake has always called the shots in their relationship and made it quite clear that marriage and family are not on the agenda.

When Kate discovers she’s pregnant, she decides to take an extended holiday from work and track Drake down in his writer’s hideout to see if he would make good father material. Her sleuthing brings her to a small seaside town where she rents the house directly next door to Drake. Kate is devastated to discover that Drake is ensconsed in his writer’s bolt with a ravishing redhead. She decides not to tell him about the pregnancy until she can be sure of his affections.

The rest of the story can be summarized as follows: Drake is snarly and moody and keeps Kate at a distance for most of the book. Kate discovers she isn’t actually pregnant, but then she is because she and Drake have had unprotected sex in the meantime. Drake suffered a childhood trauma which has made him afraid to commit to a woman and start a family. Somehow, they resolve their differences and live Happily Ever After.

As you can tell from my review so far, I had a few issues with the plot contrivances used in this story. While Kate is not described as a great intellectual, we are given to believe that she’s not unintelligent. Why, then, did she not go to a doctor to get her pregnancy confirmed before she went haring after Drake? Given the amount of time she intended to spend on holiday, surely she would have been well past the first recommended antenatal check-up? Why did it take her so long to figure out she really was pregnant after she and Drake had unprotected sex? How could anyone find Drake’s obnoxious behaviour endearing? Up until the last few pages, Kate and Drake’s relationship consisted of outright lies, lies by omission, and keeping one another at arm’s length. I honestly can’t see how this bodes well for a HEA.

As I’ve enjoyed some of Susan Napier’s books in the past, I’m not willing to give up on her on the basis of one dud. For readers who want to give her a go, I wouldn’t recommend starting with this one. I remember liking Public Scandal, Private Mistress quite a bit, for example.

Other Reviews of Price of Passion:

Janet/Robin at Dear AuthorB+

Casee at Book Binge3.5 out of 5

Holly at Book Binge4.25 out of 5


Edie February 17, 2010 at 14:30

I am a recent reader of Napier, but in the five or six that I have read so far, I have enjoyed the three earlier books way more than the two recent ones that I have read.
The more recent ones seem to fit the HP “tropes” more thoroughly, where as her older ones seem to play with them a bit more and in an interesting way.

Lou February 17, 2010 at 14:49

I remember reading this and putting it down in sheer exasperation a while back. This has happened to most of the Harlequins Categories I downloaded for the celebration.

In general, I prefer the old Harlequin Presents books. Personally, I find today’s are so generic, that each hero and heroine seem exactly the same to me.

Janet W February 17, 2010 at 17:36

Here’s a link to Jane’s “B” review of Napier’s “Public Scandal, Private Mistress” — it actually sounds pretty good. But this one — the review grades are all over the map — it doesn’t tempt me.

Just in passing: on my desk is my copy of Mary Stewart’s “Airs Above the Ground”. Jinx!

Sarah February 17, 2010 at 17:54

@Edie: @Lou: Susan Napier was one of the very first romance authors I ever read, way back in the days when I first discovered the joys of Mills & Boon. A few of the Aus/NZ authors were my favourites: Miranda Lee, Helen Bianchin, Emma Darcy and Susan Napier.

@Janet W: LOL! We both seem to be on a Mary Stewart kick these days.

I read Public Scandal, Private Mistress before I had a blog. According to my records, I gave it a B.

heidenkind February 18, 2010 at 00:33

I have to say, I really hate pregnancies in romance novels, especially when they’re used to get the two people together. Blech.

Janicu February 18, 2010 at 01:31

I think I liked this one better than you did. I’d give it a B or so.. I took her not figuring out that she wasn’t pregnant as a self-deception because she really wanted it, but couldn’t fully admit it to herself.

Sarah February 19, 2010 at 10:44

@heidenkind: I’m not a huge fan of that plot device, either.

@Janicu: Yeah, she was definitely deceiving herself but I’m just not sure why she thought Drake was worth it.

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