Trashy Read 2011 #7: The Windflower, by Laura London
As a serious writer with a major soft spot for historical romance, I often end up feeling a little lonely. But that has all changed, my friends! One of the second-year students in my writing program is herself a romance fan. Not only that, her favorite romance writer is Loretta Chase! I cannot tell you how great it is to know another romance reader, and a pretty awesome one at that. One day, Betsy and I started chatting about our love for the website Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and Betsy revealed that she had a copy of Laura London's The Windfower, aka one of the most infamous books in the history of trashy romance. She lent it to me, and although it took me a while to get through it because of my school commitments, I finally finished it. And man, it is as enjoyable as promised.
This book is firmly a part of what the Smart Bitches have deemed "old-skool" romance. It's got pirates! It's got an overly-innocent heroine! There are icky near-rapes! Yes, The Windflower is made of slight crazypants, but I was surprised by how much I liked it anyway. When sickly-sweet Merry Wilding gets kidnapped by the crew of the infamous pirate Rand Morgan's ship, she ends up falling into a love/hate relationship with Devon. Devon basically tortures Merry until they are both driven crazy with lust for each other, which has all kinds of yucky overtones. And to be honest, I didn't care much for the hero, the heroine, or their love story. It was awfully infuriating at times.
But you know what makes this book worth reading? A young pirate named Cat. Despite being the mastermind of Merry's kidnapping, Cat turns out to also be her savior. He's a friend when she's most in need. But Cat isn't just sensitive and kind. He's also extremely complicated. His rough childhood of prostitution and want was brought to relief when Rand Morgan hand-picked him to be on his ship. His sexual proclivities remain something of a mystery, but it's obvious his past scars play a continual role in his life. When there's a big reveal about Cat by the end of the book, you aren't sure whether to be happy or sad for him.
I loved Cat so much that all I wanted when I finished this book was to read a sequel all about him and his future. Unfortunately, Laura London (which is actually the pen name of a husband and wife writing team, Tom and Sharon Curtis) never wrote one. And to this I say, "Boo." Because while I found the very purple prose of The Windflower to be distracting from the story itself, I would read Cat's story even if it featured the worst writing in the world. Like seriously, I would read Cat fanfiction, that's how much I wanted more of him.
Up Next in Trashy Reads: I don't have much time for fun reading these days, but when I do, I want something fun. I suspect this means we will see some more trashy reads before the year's end. Especially now that I've found a fellow trash lover.