Monday, February 27, 2023

The Girl at Goldenhawk by Violet Winspear


Did somebody say JANE EYRE retelling set in Brazil? Actually, no, you probably didn't-- but now that you know that it exists, I bet you want it, right? As you should. Look, Harlequin Presents novels can be pretty insipid. The heroes are brutish and patriarchal and the heroines demean themselves on the fragment altars of their dignity. The plots are thinner than a communion wafer. And oh yes, the ethnic stereotypes.

But once in a while you find a book that actually ends up breaking the mold. Jaine Dare, the heroine of this book, is the niece of an aging theater actress. Her spoiled cousin is a socialite who enjoys stringing men along and her latest conquest is a Portuguese duque. However, when Larraine, the cousin, finds out that his primary goal of marriage is to find a surrogate mother for his young disabled son, she's like nah, bye.

The aunt decides that the bearer of bad news should be Jaine, because Jaine is so naive and pathetic that just by being herself, she tends to diffuse uncomfortable situations. Also she doesn't want to. So Jaine goes to the duque and returns the engagement jewelry and is awed and fearful of the duque's intense masculine prowess.

The duque ends up impressed with Jaine-- not because of how she looks but because she is so staid and straitlaced and also because she jumps in front of a car to save a child. He decides that she should be a governess to Tristao, his son, and offers to pay her more than her aunt paid her for being her secretary. The backdrop is the gorgeous Brazilian jungle and the duque's two intimidating properties: Casa de Rochas, an intimidating fortress, and Goldenhawk, a beautiful gothic mansion in the jungle.

I loved the hero. Pedro was everything I love in a vintage romance: enigmatic, dangerous, mysterious, but not abusive. He doesn't hit or rape the heroine and his animal passions come through in a very restrained and compelling way. He and Jaine also have several long discussions that really showed the intellectual chemistry between them, which I loved. The writing in here is so quotable and if this were an ebook I probably would have highlighted half of the passages in here, I was so impressed.

The only weird thing is that the author kept talking about Mayans in Brazil and I'm pretty sure there were no Mayans in Brazil. In fact, I'm sure there weren't because I just looked it up and Google said no.

Whatever, I'm not going to harp on it because (1) Jane Eyre and (2) Sir Pedro.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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