Caine’s Reckoning has not been an easy book to find. First, Spice (Harlequin’s erotic line) isn’t published in Australia. Second, my husband had to scour bookstores all over San Francisco to find a copy, which he finally did in some obscure Borders Express store somewhere. Yay for husbands! I really wanted to love this book, and I can see why it’s generated so much buzz (aside from the fantabulous cover), but it fell a little short of my expectations.
Desi, the heroine, is forced into sexual servitude, and the only way Caine can save her is to marry her. I expected very dark, very intense sex scenes that would show how Desi deals with and is healed of the horrors she had to endure. Instead, I felt that her recovery was extremely rushed. While the sex scenes were very erotic and very well written, they didn’t have much emotional resonance. I didn’t understand her sexual choices at all, and at times I felt that she made them just to please Caine, rather than for herself.
In the middle part of the book, I was underwhelmed by some of the conflicts. I mean, Desi versus a rooster? I can see how her character was changing, but I wish it had been done in a less frivolous way. Or maybe written in a darker way. I expected tears and chills and, at the end, relief; instead, I got a reasonably enjoyable feel-good story with villains who were mere shadows against the very alpha, do-no-wrong hero and his mates.
Finally, I didn’t feel that the language in the book reflected its historical context, but I don’t really know much about American westerns, so I could be wrong.
Despite all this, Caine’s Reckoning is still a decent read, and it wouldn’t be a bad introduction to the romance genre. It’s the kind of book you might secretly read in high school and keep forever. Click here for an excerpt.
Note: This post was originally published on November 25, 2007.