Published: 2014 by Harlequin
Source: the publisher
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Captivated is a book that contains two novella-length stories: “Letting Go” by Megan Hart and “Seize the Night” by Tiffany Reisz. Reviews of each story are below, but before I jump into them, I have a couple thoughts on the compilation itself. I felt that the stories worked well together, and worked well as one volume. That said, I’m not a fan of the cover, because it hints at a level of kinkiness that isn’t really true to the content of the book. Judging by the publication date, it seems like the publisher was trying to capitalize on the popularity of 50 Shades.
Neither of these stories is particularly deep, but they are good for light escapism. I’ve got a mixed relationship with the romance genre; usually I get frustrated by the characters and feel as if their problems are either petty or entirely of their own creation. I’ve been trying to give romance more of a chance though, and my overall opinion of this collection was positive.
“Letting Go” by Megan Hart
“Letting Go” by Megan Hart describes a woman named Colleen who comes to the bar once a week, orders a whiskey, and doesn’t drink it. One day during a snowstorm, she opens up to Jesse, her usual bartender, and the two begin a whirlwind romance.
One of the things I enjoyed about “Letting Go” is that it featured working-class protagonists. In many romance novels, the characters are super wealthy and don’t seem to have any problems. But in “Letting Go,” Colleen is being financially and emotionally manipulated by her ex-husband. Jesse tends bar and is trying to be a good father, even though he and the mother are no longer together. Both Colleen and Jesse have real problems and real baggage as they begin their relationship, and they take refuge in each other in order to overcome.
Despite liking the premise of the story, I found that Colleen was an unbelievable character. She seems contrived, and like she should have been edited down to someone who seems a bit more normal. As a fan of whiskey myself, I know that that shit’s expensive, and there’s no point in ordering one every night if you’re not going to drink it. If Colleen had a slightly different (and less weird) routine, she would have seemed more authentic.
“Seize the Night” by Tiffany Reisz
“Seize the Night” by Tiffany Reisz is a retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, but with Kentucky horse families and a much happier ending. Several years ago, Remi and Julien were having a romantic tryst at a party. Unfortunately, their parents walked in on them, and all hell broke loose. Julien got in trouble and disappeared from the public eye, and the two families began feuding. But then Remi notices that something seems strange, and that the two sets of parents seem to be colluding over rigged horse races. Full of anger, she decides to track down Julien, and the two of them fix the mess their parents created while picking up where they left off before they were so rudely interrupted.
This was a cute story, and I enjoyed that it had a happily-ever-after ending despite the original source material. It was a fun play on a familiar story, and as usual, I was impressed with Tiffany Reisz’s writing and characters.