Thursday, December 17, 2009

Review: Burn

Title: Burn
Author: Linda Howard
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published: Ballantine/July 2009
Source: Library

From the inside cover jacket ~

Money certainly changes Jenner Redwine’s life when she wins a lottery jackpot. But it also costs her plenty: Her father rips her off and disappears, her fortune-hunting boyfriend soon becomes her ex, and friends-turned-freeloaders give her the cold shoulder when she stops paying for everything. Flush with new money, Jenner can’t imagine ever finding a place in the world of the wealthy.

Seven years later, though, she’s rubbing elbows with the rich, despite the fact she still feels like a party crasher. Luckily she finds an ally–and a guide to the rarefied realm of privilege–in shy, kind-hearted heiress Sydney Hazlett, who quickly becomes Jenner’s confidante and surrogate sister.

When Sydney invites Jenner on a charity cruise aboard a luxury liner, Jenner reluctantly agrees. But while she’s expecting–and dreading–two weeks of masquerade balls, art auctions, and preening glitterati, what she gets is more like a Hitchcock movie than a Love Boat episode. Taken hostage by a menacing stranger, Jenner must cooperate in a mysterious cloak-and-dagger scheme–or else. With nowhere to run, and with Sydney’s life as well as her own at risk, Jenner is drawn into a game of dizzying intrigue and harrowing danger. But as her panic gives way to exhilaration, and fear of her captor turns to fascination, Jenner rediscovers feelings she hasn’t had in years–and realizes she’s found a life worth living. If she survives.

I liked it. Which surprised me since most of the reviews I read were not what I would call favorable or glowing. It's hardcover so if you paid big bucks for it that could potentially influence your enjoyment. My only investment was time which is at a premium when it comes to reading but, IMO Burn was worth my time.

We start with Jenner having a bad day. And then it only gets worse when she gets home to find her loser boyfriend making himself comfortable in her living room. He treats her like crap and she has finally decided she's not going to put up with it any more, so out he goes. One improvement in her life leads to another - winning the lottery changes Jenner's life in ways she couldn't have imagined. Being responsible for millions of dollars turns out to be a full time job. Watching Jenner go from barely paying her bills to having millions made for some interesting reading in people and their reactions to change.

Jenner, thankfully, is smart enough to know she has to guard her winnings and takes steps to do this. I was glad she didn't go the way of giving her money away to friends and relatives and was smart to get it set up so that she couldn't loose the bulk of the money. The first part of the book is about Jenner's life changing from poor to obscenely rich. The second part is about that obscenely rich lifestyle that Jenner is still not quite comfortable, even after seven years of living it.

Jenner's life with the rich and famous has taken her all over the world and introduced her to people she never would have met. But she only has two close friends, only two people she trusts. One is her lawyer and the other is a woman who knows what it's like to be rich and wanted for her money. When we catch up to Jenner it's been seven years since she won the lottery and she's about to go on a charity cruise. You get the feeling that Jenner does all the charity work because at least some part of her feels guilty for having so much money. She's done well with her investments and has even more than her initial winnings.

The romance between Jenner and her captor, Cael Traylor, was far removed from a standard romance. At first it was forced because Jenner had to pretend to be lovers with Cael. Then once they became lovers this is still this feeling of each of them holding back. Cael because he is on a mission and doesn't plan on seeing Jenner after the mission. And Jenner because she still doesn't trust and how can she trust a guy that's kidnapped her? The suspense and action definitely took priority over the romance. There was just too much going on with the team of covert operatives focused on their mission to allow for much romance. Even Jenner, once she begins to figure out why Cael and his team are on the ship, gets into helping.

I liked Jenner. I found her interesting and would have liked to see more of her life after her lottery winning instead of the little bit we got before being fast-forwarded 7 years ahead. She was a loyal friend and I can understand why she was so distrustful of people. I liked the friendship she and Sydney had, both young, single women with a boatload of money, always wondering at the motive behind any new friendship. It came across as genuine. Jenner's relationship with Cael wasn't as fulfilling for me. I don't know if it was because the actual romance didn't get as much page time as I would have liked or because the mission always seems to interfere in their evolving relationship. Jenner and Cael were together a lot but it was so much acting like they were lovers that when they became lovers it seemed like it was more from all the togetherness than any real feelings of love. Whatever it was, I didn't get a real connection between Jenner and Cael.

So overall, not a bad book but not one of Howard's best. If you're wanting more suspense than romance in your romantic suspense then this could work for you. I couldn't find a website for Linda Howard but here's her book list on Fantastic Fiction.

Rating: B


  1. I started this one but wasn't in the mood for RS and didn't get very far. I fully plan on giving it another go when I am in the mood - seeing as I paid a hardcover price for it - though 45% off online. And it did start out strange - kind of in the middle of the story.
    But it is weird reading seeing as (and I'm about to let loose some info I don't often do) but her first name just might be my last name - not saying for sure - seeing as this is the internet - but just sayin'......

  2. Kristie ~ I think it's a book you need to be in the mood for, it's not a typical RS.

    Hmmm...her first name was odd for a first name. And that's all I'll say about that. :)

  3. I think I graded higher than you, but basically thought the same :) All in all, I was just happy this was better than her last few books :P

  4. Leslie, you know I started reading Howard as a RS author, not straight romance and I loved her. But, I really haven't read her RS for a while now... I don't know when I stopped (can't remember). I love her writing, but I think I've been so busy exploring her romance backlist I haven't been paying attention to her new releases, lol! I should take a look at this one. :)

  5. Ellie ~ LOL It's hard to feel sorry for someone who is good looking, rich and is having sex with a hot guy. :)

    nath ~ I'm having a hard time remember her last few books so I guess they weren't that great. Have you read Ice yet? I've got it from the library. It's very short!

    Hils ~ Oh, Howard has some wonderful romances doesn't she? I'm thinking of reading Son of the Morning for nath's reread but haven't decided yet. Have you read it?

  6. Yes! I read Son of the Morning and I really loved that book... that was one of my favs from her backlist last year. :) I can't to read your review of that book!