BLOG REVIEW: Man Hunt by Charlotte Lamb

25y.o. jazz singer is shocked when her niece confesses about falsely accusing Hero. 
Three years ago, heroine didn’t give Hero a chance to defend himself and rejected him immediately after hearing her niece’s accusations. 
She immediately seeks him out after her niece's guilty confession and apologizes to him. But he’s still bitter and angry over her betrayal of him and spurns her. His father’s assumptions that Hero still loves her
is all the encouragement she needs to take the singing job in Venice his father offered her 
so she can confirm if Hero still has feelings for her. But Hero's distance and cold resentment doesn't make things easy on her.
What will it take for him to give her a second chance?

The best part about this Lamb book was the local tour guide of Venice.  There’s something in how Lamb weaves the location description in the story that doesn’t distract from the plot and makes the place come alive and makes me want to visit it. Heroine’s pursuing forgiveness from Hero and a second-chance with him was distinctive from the standard HP(Harlequin Presents). But, overall, this book was an average read. It’s missing the emotional pull and intensity of Hero and heroine’s love. Both of them gave up on their relationship too easily. Hero was justifiably hurt and angry that heroine didn’t even bother asking or confronting him about what her niece accused him of.

     -----------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details---------------

Heroine's niece who was age 16 at that time bragged to her friend that she and Hero slept together. Word got to heroine and the rest of the family about it via her friend's mother. And her niece stuck to her story because she didn't want to get in trouble and be humiliated for lying about Hero. It was at her now 19-year-old niece's wedding day that her niece finally confessed that she made it all up. Hero never seduced her and they never slept together.

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

She immediately judged him guilty and rejected him along with her family. But Hero neither stood up for himself nor confront heroine either to make sure that she listened to his defense. He just slunk away in hurt pride and quiet rage.  After heroine knew the truth of his niece’s false accusations of Hero, she was driven to make things right with Hero. What she needed to do was to apologize and atone for her betraying him. Instead, she responded to Hero’s coldness and unforgiveness towards her simple apology with offense, hurt, and impatience. As if he was the one who owed her!

Heroine never did grovel. She thought about it but never did anything about it. She chose to manipulate his forgiveness and a second chance with him. She did, in effect, "hunt" him by persistently inserting herself in his life after his father told her that Hero may still have feelings for her. I admire perseverance in romance but it was how she did it. She was sly and passive-aggressive about it. She made the choice to pursue him yet, when he resisted her efforts, she’d get mad at him and blame him for hurting her. She couldn’t take the heat and got out of the kitchen a few times, murmuring about how unfair things were but with 1 foot still inside the door. Then she’d remember that she hurt him 3 years ago and needed to atone. So she’d go back in and risk the heat again. This passive-aggressive cycle occurred quite often.

Hero’s love for heroine was no match to her manipulation of his feelings. The only reason why she pursued Hero and took the job in his Venice hotel was his father’s reassurance that Hero still loved her. Her knowledge of his secret feelings for her gave her power. And she used it to seduce him, soften his hardness towards her, and make him desperate for her. She was clever and ruthless in her aims with him. He was a goner.

I modestly recommend this book.

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