I’ve been reluctant to try and review romances because I rarely have much to say about them, even if I enjoy them, and Mrs. Julien is much better at not having much to say than I am. However, I have something to say about Meredith Duran’s Bound By Your Touch. It’s kind of a spoiler so if you don’t want to know, stop reading.
Oh my godtopus! Both protagonists solve their own problems! Do you have any idea how rare that is in romance? It’s not entirely unheard of, but it’s rare. Rarer still – the author doesn’t make a big deal of it. It mostly happens of stage, as it were.
One of the attractions of romance is the wish fulfillment of a new (or returned) love that transforms your life and brings passion, completion and happiness. For tension, romance also generally involves the solving of problems and overcoming of obstacles. The best romances combine wish fulfillment with an idea of how we can be better people – braver, more caring, an adult who can put someone else first. In Bound By Your Touch, Duran takes two romance stock characters often thrown together, the “plain” bluestocking and the gorgeous man-child, and tells the familiar story of the bluestocking discovering passion and the beauty that was disguised by her intellect, and the man-child grows up to take his place in the adult world. Their pairing jars them out of their self-perception ruts and shakes up everything they think is true. But unlike most romances, they don’t fix each other. They each fix themselves without the support of the other.
Lydia and James are easily recognizable characters to any reader of romance, but then Duran turns them into real people who don’t quite follow the path we expect. One of my least favorite things in books is when we are told that a woman is smart, but then they do dumb things so that they are put in jeopardy. James and Lily both do dumb things, but their actions make sense. It’s almost as if Duran has a checklist of romance tropes and devices that she’s running down and breathing life back into them. Another thing that Duran gets right is the areas of commonality between James and Lydia. I can believe that they will make a happy future together.
In my initial posting of the review, I managed to erase my last paragraph. And in reconstructing my last paragraph, I for got to include that this review would not be possible without the generosity of Malin. Thank you, Malin.