Sunday, May 16, 2010
The Garden of The Azure Dragon by Ann Hulme
Ann Hulme (AKA Ann Granger)
Harlequin Historicals first series #10
1986, 254 pages
Royal Romance Reading Challenge
"Who wants to be stuck for life with a virago like you?"
But it wasn't to seek a husband that Zoe Hammond had come to China in the summer of 1910. It was to work--to forget men forever. That was her intention--till she met Quentin Farrell.
The English trader was rude, overbearing, and worse, a drunkard and a libertine. He could mean nothing to Zoe Hammond.
The chaos of revolution crept ever closer mirroring the turmoil in her heart. At last Zoe had nowhere to turn--nowhere but Quentin Farrell!
The Garden of The Azure Dragon is very much a "old school" historical romance-the hero is way alpha male, the heroine, though a educated teacher, is a bit flighty, and "too stupid to live" at times, and the author uses some pejorative language about Chinese workers that some may find offensive. That being said, if you can overlook those faults, overall, Garden of The Azure Dragon is a interesting, exciting Historical Romance set in an infrequently used era and country for Romance (Edwardian era China).
Lots of interaction between the H/H, though mainly kissing, arguing and the hero, a gritty ex-soldier, "manhandling" the heroine, though never actually striking her. Sadly, this was "common" in 1980's historical romances.
A large part of the story takes place on the hero/heroine on a boat heading deep into China, and the characters/story has a kind of "African Queen" vibe to it, as the heroine acts somewhat tightly laced as Hepburn, and the hero is certainly as crusty as Bogart was.
The author obviously researched China quite a bit and I even learned a thing or two about it's culture, especially about the awful practice of binding womans feet.
Ironically, after reading this, then researching the author, I found out that Ann Hulme was author Ann Granger's pseudonym. I just finished a Ann Granger Historical Mystery, Mortal Curiosity, a week or so ago. Mrs Granger first wrote Historical Romances in the 80's under Ann Hulme, then moved to mystery after, as Ann Granger.