Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Tender Is the Storm by Johanna Lindsey


I know Johanna Lindsey is a lot of people's favorite romance author, but her work has always been kind of hit or miss with me. TENDER IS THE STORM was a book that I bought purely for the cover because I was lucky enough to find an uncensored version of the Robert McGinnis clinch cover for twenty-five cents at a thrift store (it often sells for $50).

I buddy-read this book with my friend, Larissa, from Goodreads. It's a Western mail order bride romance, so buckle up and brace in for spoilers, because I have THOUGHTS.


Sharisse and Stephanie are two society princesses living with their overprotective father in New York. Sharisse is supposed to marry Joel, the rich son from another family, but Stephanie, the younger sister, is in love with him. She thinks he's in love with her too but he's not man enough to stand up to their fathers and is more than willing to go ahead with the marriage (which says a LOT imo). 

Stephanie decides that if she can't have Joel, she's going to run away and sends out a response to be a mail order bride. But her friend suggests that maybe she can persuade Sharisse to leave instead. And Sharisse agrees because Stephanie is a manipulative little sociopath who not only sends her sister packing but ALSO steals all of her sister's jewels just to ensure that she won't have the money to come back (royally fucking her over in the process, because Western life is bare bones when it comes to amenities).

Exhausted Sharisse comes to the Arizona territories and finds out her husband to be is actually hot. He's also tall and-- Freudianly-- reminds her of her father. Weird, but ok. I actually liked the hero, Lucas, a lot because he is so unhinged but he's also cheerful about it too. So many bodice-ripper heroes are brooding, which I like, so it was fun to find an alpha hero who took such great joy in being a psycho. And don't be fooled by his "nice" persona, this dude is DEVIOUS.

We think he's part of a twin pairing-- Lucas and Slade. Lucas is the nice twin and Slade is the rapey one who's always trying to force himself on Sharisse. BUT IT TURNS OUT THEY'RE BOTH THE SAME PERSON. Lucas is actually dead and Slade has been pretending to be both of them, and he thought that if Sharisse thought that if she were in danger from his Slade persona, she would cozy up to the Lucas one for protection. WHAT A PSYCHOPATH HAHAHA. You gotta admire the hustle.

There's some OW drama and Lucslade wants revenge on the guy who murdered people to get his father's gold mine, but most of the book is just Sharisse and Lucas and Slade fighting. I did like the fact that Slade took the trouble to beat up the French guy who was Sharisse's first love until he took advantage of her, and the shenanigans he did to "win" her back when she ran away were funny. Probably would have rated this higher if Stephanie had been punished for being a bitch and the ending didn't feel so incomplete but honestly, I had a good time reading this crazysauce-drenched nonsense.

Maybe I am a JL girlie after all, idk.

3 out of 5 stars

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