BLOG REVIEW: Impulsive Attraction by Diana Hamilton

Efficient 28yo heroine is the new bank manager 
in a Shropshire town near her parents' residence.
She's known for her brains and sensibility. As well as her plain looks and tall plus-sized figure.
For her to leave a high-profile party one evening without informing her fiance and without her shoes was very unusual. So was her drunken dip in the nearby stream.
And her enjoying 35yo stranger Hero's admiration of her full figure. She considered his candid compliments of her beauty and desirability as all part of her drunken fantasy. Until she woke up the next day without memory of how she got to her bed naked.
Hero's suggestive hints about what happened the night before makes it hard to deny her recklessness that night. And her frosty & stern attitude towards him seems to have no effect on his provocative behavior with her.
Sculptor Hero wants her to pose for him before he tells her what she wants to know about that night.
Her shock at his demand is as great as the allure of it. She agrees to pose for him, despite
the marked protests of her proper fiance and mother.  
 His hot
and cold behaviors towards her
leave her confused. But mostly determined to distance herself from him.
His persistent pursuit of her, however, incites her to do things she may never do again. Until he unexpectedly lashes out at her one day.
And she sees a pretty blond woman in his cottage, with not much on and very familiar with him.
Was she already being replaced with his usual type of woman?

I give this Hamilton book a 4.5-star rating. Which makes it a 5-star on whole-star rating system like on Amazon and Goodreads. Having read thousands of romance novels in decades, there's just not a lot of books that really impress me. What was impressive about this Hamilton book was how it pulled my emotions as well as the likeability of the main characters, especially heroine. In less than 150 pages of this Harlequin Presents (HP)/Mills & Boon book, I laughed, got tense, felt angsty, was confused with Hero, and empathized with heroine's plight. At one point, I even told my husband to not talk to me until I was done with this book. I was so involved in the story. So invested in Hero and heroine's romance. I willingly put everything in my life on hold for a couple hours until the book ended. That's what I call great emotional pull. Hamilton's writing put me in the here-and-now of Hero and heroine's romance. I could feel their tensions and emotions. This book was big on showing the emotions instead of just talking about it. My emotions swung from high to low & back again. I loved it!

This Hamilton book is far from the perfect romance novel in my opinion. There were some flaws:
 
         ---------------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details----------

        1. heroine sometimes got “brain freeze” when it came to Hero. She tended to be a
        practical and intelligent woman, with good self-control. But, when it came to Hero, she
        allowed the smart & practical part of her brain to be overtaken by her lust-love for Hero.
        So, she'd end up doing something with Hero (ie, kiss him), although she firmly planned
        on distancing herself from him due to her suspicion of his motives.

        The good thing was that it didn't happen too often. Also, I understood the times she got

        brain freeze. Heroine thought her time with Hero was limited. She knew he didn't do
        committed, long-term romance. She accepted that. And believed that, for someone 
        plain like her to be desired by someone like him, even for a short time, was something
        she'd like to experience and remember always. It was quite sad and I didn't find it 
        pathetic at all. She knew who she was and she knew that being desired by someone 
        so magnetically attractive like Hero could very well be a once in a lifetime opportunity. 
        She was being realistic and practical.

        2. Hero needed to apologize more for putting heroine through an emotional wringer. He
        did apologize in general but he needed to specifically acknowledge how much of a jerk
        he was for accusing her of being a social climber & pushing her aside after. I couldn't 
        believe his gall!

        He made many major demands of her. He told her to break up with her fiance. He tried 
        to repeatedly seduce her, even though he believed she was still engaged. He 
        demanded that she accept his marriage proposal instead and plain trust him on it, even
        though he won't tell her anything about his background or inform her of practica
        matters like how he was going to support them, where they're going to live, how
        they're going to eat daily, etc.   

        Heroine made so many concessions per his suggestions/demands, including: 
 
        1.) changing how she dressed
        2.) posing nude(!) for him
        3.) standing up to her proper fiance and social-climbing mother  
        4.) daring to trust him enough to agree to marry him, although nothing had changed 
        about her knowledge of his background and their future together  
        5.) resigning from her prestigious job at the bank as soon as she realized she would
        rather marry Hero in poverty than live a financially and socially secure life without love.

        So, his bitter accusations of heroine tricking him and only wanting to marry him, after 
       she supposedly found out how rich and privileged he was (Heroine didn't know that 
       Hero was the heir of a wealthy baron and was already a successful sculptor until after
       Hero broke up with her. It was her mother that informed her and who Hero had an 
       encounter with, which gave him the erroneous idea that heroine knew who he was all
       along & was pretending ignorance to trap him as another social-climbing wife-wanna-be
       like his ex-fiance was), was such an insult to all the sacrifices she made for him! It was 
       quite angsty. I felt so bad for her and was hoping for a really good apology from
       him.  

       I must be blood-thirsty because I wanted him to grovel for his mistrusting her, when she
       repeatedly showed him how much she was into him for himself and ready to plunge into
       a future with him, thinking that he was only a poor traveling artist. His confession at the 
       did show how intensely affected he was with her. He also realized how foolish he was 
       to require her blind faith in him, while he wasn't showing the same trust in her. I just 
       wanted more! 

       3. There was no sex scene. There were some foreplay scenes (ie., breast play, clothed 
       bodies touching) and lots of sexual tension. Their emotional and sexual attraction was
       palpable, even when nothing was being said by either of them. The sexual-emotional 
       tension increased all the way until the final resolution. So, not having a sex scene at the
       end was anti-climactic. We merely get prelude to a sex scene. But I really wanted the
       sex scene! Not just their plan for it and then “the end”! I guess, I've gotten a little spoiled
       by all the detailed sex scenes in many 21st-century romance novels (This book was
       written in the mid-80s). But 1 sex scene is all I'm asking for. Just one to clinch all that
       growing tension in the book. Too bad Hamilton's no longer around to amend it.

        4. I wanted to know what Hero meant when he said that he did all he could to forget 
       heroine during their 2 months apart. Does that include dating or sleeping with other
       women? I really wished heroine asked. She did pointedly ask him about his former 
       romance that soured him off relationships. I liked her gumption. But I wished she asked 
       if he dated or slept with anybody during their time apart. I am a huge fan of Heroes 
       who stay celibate because of his love/obsession with heroine. I would've like to add him
       on my celibate Hero list.

      --------------------------------------------------------END SPOILERS----------------------------------------

Despite the flaws, the good of this book overwhelmed the bad for me. Thus, my high rating. And probably something I'd reread in the future. I loved the heroine in this book.

This book is told from the 3rd-person and we only get heroine's point of view (POV). We got to know her person and I found her delightful. Heroine was a no-nonsense person, who built her life around her brains & being accomplished in her education and her career. She knew she's not pretty and had no trouble accepting that. I liked how she acknowledged reality and either made do with what she had or move on from there. She might've seemed rigid and orderly but she actually had a good sense of humor. She didn't feel sorry for herself and whine & complain about life. She was able to laugh at herself, at life, and move on. I loved her non-passivity. She's not a really go-getter so much as she was prudent. When she encountered a problem, she tried to solve it. She lived a simple and practical life, working to achieve her goals without much aplomb. She's ruled more by her brain than her emotions. It wasn't until the night of her meeting Hero that her impulses and emotions started to arise. So, most of her confusion and emotional wavering were new. She was usually a very controlled and firm person. But the surging of her impulses, wants, and needs were making her think and act differently than her usual. We saw her try to control them and try to go back to being sensible and logical. Sometimes she was successful. Other times, not. But she accepted responsibility without being a victim or a doormat. 

By midpoint of the book, heroine acted and looked like a different woman. Her character growth was almost as central as the romance. Both were intertwined. Her experiences with Hero changed her. She was woman enough to know that, despite their romance setbacks, she was at least grateful that Hero opened up a new world to her. She even tried to make her pain from Hero into a growth experience for her. Lastly, I loved how heroine embraced her curvy Amazonian figure and was okay with her new not-as-sensible ways. I was happy that she got the man she wanted, a man that we later find out was quite obsessed with her as she was with him.

I surely recommend this book
4.5-star 
 

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