There’s something very sad about D reads. They’re sandwiched between the irredeemable Fs and mediocre-but-somewhat-redeemable Cs. But the Ds have almost nothing to recommend, except that glimmer or two that could have been something.
Another Dawn is the sequel to Sunset Embrace (which I’ve never read) and features that couple’s daughter, Banner Coleman (Banner?) and longtime friend, Jake Langston. At the start of the book Banner is happily standing at the altar, about to be married to one Grady Shelton, when the town tramp busts in and accuses him of fathering her child. Since Grady was definitely fraternizing while engaged to Banner, she throws him over pronto. That night, her self-esteem particularly low, she finds Jake and asks him to make love to her.
Jake refuses for five reasons: Ross would kill him, he doesn’t see her that way, he’s loved her mother for 20 years, the momentary gratification wouldn’t make up for the next morning’s regret, and Ross would kill him. Except that the longer he looks at her in her nightgown (‘cause Banner came real prepared) the quicker reasons 1, 2, 4, & 5 disappear, and when Banner pulls out all the stops even #3 doesn’t matter. The morning after, amidst much mutual ignoring, Banner announces her intention to move to the ranch her father gave her. Ross agrees provided Jake acts as her foreman.
So the first thing to note is there is an eighteen-year age difference between Jake and Banner, but that potential issue is nothing compared to the other problems, of which I present a choice selection:
- Sandra Brown believably justifies Banner’s motives and feelings the night she wants Jake to lie with her, so I was disgusted when she begins to manipulate him instead. Among her brilliant reasoning when trying to convince Jake: “I know you love my mother, so you can pretend I’m her when we do it.” Okay, girl.
- While at Banner’s ranch the mental lusting conflicts with the gender power struggles and unexplained jealousies. When they added non-communication to their sins halfway through, I wanted to choke. Them.
- By the end, they love each other. I don’t believe it in a month of Sundays since Jake never sees anything in Banner except spirit and beauty (which makes him shallow), and Banner doesn’t fully reconcile her girlish hero worship with her lusting (which makes it EW).
- Villain #1 is the e-e-e-e-v-i-l ex-fiance. Villain #2 is Jake’s first lover and brothel madam who could have been nicely ambiguous but instead was a textbook bitch. And both were boring.
- Banner has an idiotic hang-up about her lack of relatives along the lines of, “why don’t I have relatives like everyone else and why won’t my parents tell me anything?” Two reasons the book didn’t go airborne at this point: One, it was a library book and I treat my books nicely and, two, it was a hardcover large print 658-page doorstopper that would have put a hole in my wall.
- There are two climaxes at the end. The first involves Banner’s parents, Ross and Lydia, and completely overshadows the conclusion to the main couple’s story. By the time I was done I didn’t care about Banner and Jake. But the thing is, even though it affected me emotionally, as far as I’m concerned it is straight reader manipulation and serves no purpose whatsoever. And that pisses me off.
I borrowed Another Dawn because I was looking for a May-December romance and this was recommended somewhere. Friends, you done me wrong. Like I said, the alter ego, the book the author could have written, was peeking from just behind the pages – I could see it. What a crying shame.