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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Man She Loves to Hate by Kelly Hunter

The Man She Loves to Hate by Kelly Hunter
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (186 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Three reasons to keep away from Cole Rees…

1. My mom had a scorching affair with his dad—just think how awkward that "meet the family" would be…

2. His arrogance drives me mad—he might be a gorgeous billionaire, but I hate how he knows it!

3. Every time he touches me I go up in flames…and it's utterly terrifying.

Come on, a fling with the man I love to hate? Like that would ever work out…

I have tears in my eyes as I write this because the ending of this story was so beautiful, romantic and it made me feel like I needed to hug somebody. I simply had to write this review right away. If a reader is looking for a book with characters they can believe in, then The Man She Loves to Hate is a winner.

The title can be a bit misleading, making a reader think it’s going to be full of angst, darkness and over the top conflict. It’s not. In fact, it’s about hope, redemption, determination and a celebration of life. Oh don’t get me wrong, there is a deep emotional conflict that colors and influences some of the actions in the book but what I found gratifying is the hero and heroine not succumbing to its poison. I am thrilled that Ms. Hunter wrote a story that is focused on two people falling in love in spite of and despite the past, the community perception of the heroine and the legacy of the hero’s father.

I loved how the author set up Jolie and Cole to meet again later in life in a situation that stripped away all of those nasty lies and gave them an almost clean slate to work with. It was the first time either saw each other for who they really were or who they could be, if they could only break the shackles of their mutual painful past. And what I liked was their willingness to try. That took guts, courage and of course, a healthy dose of lust and passion didn’t exactly hurt.

I liked Jolie a lot. I got the biggest kick out of her job. What a fun profession, although it’s clear from the book that she worked hard at it and it’s not without challenges as well as triumphs. She got there on her own through sheer determination and grit. The heroine is a strong character despite her internal doubts and insecurity. Jolie hides them well but the reader will see so much more. I enjoyed the creative outlet that the author gave the heroine when emotions were at a fevered pitch. It was insightful, fascinating and actually entertaining. And I adored (and I know I wore a loopy grin) when Cole made his comment about how he wanted one of the pictures to look.

As for Cole, I have to give the guy credit. Okay, more like Ms. Hunter, because she created a character worth rooting for, and worth admiring. Cole knows the score. So much is at stake and it’s not just his heart. And yet, the blinders come off throughout the course of the story and his worth as a hero grew before my eyes. He used to be just as cynical and condemning as the rest of his family and peers until that fateful day. His whole world turned on its axis when he figured out that the situation wasn’t exactly what he was told. Since he was a kid, he’d been hurting inside – bleeding for what he thought was lost. As an adult, Cole found out some truths and I was so proud of him when he stood up for what he knew was right and for what he wanted. It was such a powerful moment in the book and Ms. Hunter did it justice.

The ending and wrap up is what bowled me over. Everything that happened before fed into that ending making it one of the most poignant and beautiful reunions of two lovers ever. The dialogue, the passion, and the vibrant feelings - the author brought them all to life, and it left me blubbering into a tissue with happy tears misting my eyes.

There was even humor and my favorite part was the shower stall. Those poor tiles - what a genius idea! And then there was the part in the gondola – Jolie was so cheeky. What fun.

The Man She Loves to Hate is a huggable and lovable book. Romance readers are in for a treat while they watch two unlikely people fall in love against all odds with a passion and honesty that will stand the test of time. Ms. Hunter has written a book that touched my heart. If this is a sample of her consistent writing style, then I want more. I enjoyed her voice and the way she told this story. I guarantee that I’ll be looking for additional books from this talented author.