Yours to Keep by Serena Bell
Released: November 11, 2013
Reviewed by Mandi
I’m pretty disappointed with this one. The quick set-up is that the hero Ethan is a widower with a teenage son and they don’t have a great relationship. He is a pediatrician and he realizes he needs a spanish tutor for his son. Enter the heroine. Ana is an illegal immigrant from the Dominican Republic. She came over at the age of seven on her father’s work visa, but then her father never actually came and her mother died, and she just got away with being in the country. She is fearful of being caught and recently had to leave her teaching job. Ethan asks her to be his son’s tutor, and a romance develops. She keeps her secret of being illegal from him at the beginning.
When I heard this book had a heroine who is an illegal immigrant it definitely got my notice. I also really enjoyed this author’s two previous novellas. But from the start this hero rubbed me the wrong way. He stereotypes and judges women and I could barely stand it. Like when he refers to another school mom:
He knew perfectly well she was married. Most of the women in Beacon were. Which didn’t stop them from flirting; it only stopped him from flirting back.
The non-flirting on his part wasn’t sexual deadness, not by any stretch. He could appreciate the glories of Beacon’s stay-at-home moms just fine from a visual perspective – expensively colored and straightened hair, subtly applied makeup , bodies finely tuned through obsessive, boredom-induced exercise.
Well I am so glad Ethan could appreciate and stereo-type and judge these women. Thanks so much Ethan.
And when he first meets Ana, thank goodness she is dressed in a manner that doesn’t fall into his stereo-type!
She wore battered sneakers, not new leather boots like the mommies, and carried an equally battered backpack – not an expensive handbag. And she hadn’t flirted, which filled him with relief and, perversely, a need to win her interest.
See, what strikes me funny here is that he has a lot of money. He is a doctor. He lives in a big fancy house and drives a fancy car. But I guess he can, just not the other women in his town? The ‘mommies’ are not allowed to show wealth because that means they fall into the flirting category?
And you ask – why does he call the desperate housewives, ‘mommies?’ Let me show you an example of Ethan’s mindset again:
Desperate mommies were an occupational hazard, like parents who asked him pediatric questions at awkward moments. They were usually the mothers of infants or toddlers. They felt ugly and unattractive because of post-pregnancy body changes, insecure because dynamics in their household had shifted radically, and bored because they were smart and highly educated but they’d been forced to spend long hours playing Candy Land and watching Sesame Street. It all added up to a terrible case of frustration, and he was, unfortunately, an outlet.
He felt sorry for them. Actually, he hurt for them, partially because he remembered when Trish went through a similar phase. But that didn’t keep him from maintaining a safe distance – as much for their own good as his.
*Mandi starts to rip her hair out*
I can’t with this mind-set!! This hero is SO judgmental. SO condescending toward women. I’m so glad he is so valiant and can find the strength to keep away from these women who are so bored by being MOTHERS that the only thing they can do is throw themselves at him. Because right – our kids bore us and we never want to play with them and getting our hair done and buying new fancy shoes is just not fulfilling. Might as well try to cheat on our husbands too. Oh and don’t forget we aren’t proud of our post-pregnancy bodies.
This is not a hero that I want to see fall in love. Ana needs to run in the other direction. But she falls directly into his trap.
“You’re too sexy for your own good. That’s why the mommies all want to be around you.”
The brake light of the car in front of them flared, coloring their faces. He laughed. “Yeah, right.”
“You are!” She briefly let her hand rest on his arm, and, primed as he was, even that was enough to make his cock feel heavy.
“I don’t’ think so. I think it’s a rescue thing. Everyone wants to be rescued. The mommies want to be rescued from their lives of drudgery. I’m just a convenient superhero.”
Spare me. Please someone spare me.
Ana. You can rescue yourself. You’ve been doing it for 20 years!! Speaking of Ana, the way she figures out her problems with being an illegal immigrant is very predictable. And the portrayal of immigrants? That is pretty stereotypical too.
As I said, this author’s first two novellas were really strong and romantic. This one comes out of left field and gets a big fat F from me.