We Made a Grumpy Old Man Read a Romance Novel. Here are His Thoughts.

Posted by Jason Blackthorn on

"Have you ever read A Man Called Ove? Or seen the movie UP? If so, then you've essentially met our resident curmudgeon. He's also a resident editor, and hates stairs. Recently, he joined us in the BookRiot Read Harder Challenge. One of the challenges is "a romance novel by or about a person of color." Never one to do something half-heartedly, he wanted to read a romance novel by and about a person of color. So he read Topaz by Beverly Jenkins. Welcome to Grumpy Old Man Romance Reviews." - Rachel
romance reviews, topaz, beverly jenkins Original 1997 Cover

Grumpy Old Man Romance Reviews - 59 thoughts on Topaz by Beverly Jenkins:

  1. Would a woman of the 19th century say “Does my gender matter?” Sounds WAY too contemporary! As per oxforddictionaries.com: “The sense denoting biological sex has also been used since the 14th century, but this did not become common until the mid 20th century.” I’m skeptical.
  2. “They tiptoed inside cautiously.” As opposed to tiptoeing recklessly.
  3. “Katherine and her accomplice placed everything back the way they’d found it except for the incriminating items in the bag.Thank my lucky stars they didn’t put back WHAT THEY JUST STOLE. "Katherine and Unnamed Accomplice, for your first assignment here in Thieving 101, you get an F."
  4. Speaking of the accomplice: never named in the entire book? Why?
  5. “Someone grabbed her from behind.” Which is better than someone grabbing her behind, which I guess comes later?
  6. “Had Rupert not swindled hundreds of old people in three states, she might have welcomed him as a suitor." Hmm. "Your OK Cupid profile didn’t mention you were a swindler. Check, please!"
  7. There’s a lot of grabbing of the chin and forcing one’s eyes to stare into the eyes of the chin-grabber. Imma try that in my next Production meeting. I might make some headway.
  8. “Try and...” UGH! It’s “Try TO...” “TRY TO do such-and-such”!!!!! (Chaser note: We did mention he's an editor, right?)
  9. “Dixon Wildhorse.” Also the name of my last goldfish.

  10. And of course, he goes by “Dix” for short.
  11. “I’m going to bury you so deep in the Territorial prison, it’ll take a mole to bring you breakfast.” Wonder that would look like, a mole bringing you breakfast?
  12. “In order to have the sons he desired, he needed a wife.” Ya think?
  13. “...should the ball begin to unravel.” Ball of what? Do balls unravel?
  14. “A woman would have to be dead inside not to feel the raw, male power he emanated.” Umm, ma’am, that’s gas that’s emanating. Just gas.
  15. And there it is: first mention of the word “husky”!!!! I’m counting ‘em! Shoot! Only 11.
  16. “His voice made her insides teeter.” Tee hee. More gas.
  17. “His eyes were like dark, eddying pools.” No one’s EVER compared my eyes to deep pools before. EVER!
  18. “She assumed it had to do with his bedding skills.” I assume that’s a reference to fitted sheets, duvets, and pillow shams?
  19. “Katherine swore that sparks ignited beneath her skin.” Geez, these characters have a lot of gas.
  20. “Katherine could see the devilment playing in his eyes from where she stood.” It’s very difficult to see devilment from where one does not stand.
  21. “She was like a newly corralled filly.” Young, wild, and untamed, I’m sure. How many horse analogies are in store?
  22. “It had become so warm inside the tent she longed for a fan so she could cool herself.” Thank you so much, I did not understand before now how a fan works.
  23. “Eventually, though, the two of them would have to come together as husband and wife in order to have the child.” It’s good to know humanity had that figured out by 1884.
  24. “He’d worn his nudity proudly, unabashedly.” Hey! The same way I wear my cargo shorts!

  25. “Katherine wondered if a woman could be set afire by the heat in a man’s eyes.” Yes. Just ask Superman. It was a huge mess.
  26. Yikes! Something was “already ripe as a spring bud.” Yikes! Yikes!
  27. “Katherine could feel his vibrance washing over her, bringing with it her own burgeoning attunement.” Vibrance. Burgeoning. Attunement. For the love.
  28. “Dix wanted to purr.” No one told me this had cosplay in it.
  29. “The floor isn’t the only thing hard in this wagon.” I literally LOL’d at this line.
  30. “Yes, you did,” Katherine quipped knowingly.“ Folks, there’s gonna be LOTS more quipping knowingly where that came from!
  31. “But he wanted her in all ways a man could want a woman.” Including filling his order at McDonald’s or washing his clothes while he naps during the football game.
  32. Oooh! Page 335: first mention of a bodice!!!

  33. “Katherine couldn’t answer; she was too busy melting...” ...Velveeta in her microwave. Girl's gotta eat.
  34. “He rewarded her with a kiss where she least expected it.” ELBOW! Please tell me it’s her ELBOW!!!!
  35. That previous body part is now “ripe as a summer bud” versus a “spring bud.” Are we going through all the seasons? “It was dying slowly like an autumn bud.” “It was as cold and lifeless as a winter bud”?
  36. “…while staring over the rump of a team of mules.” A collective rump?
  37. “But it was too late to close the door; the filly had already fled the barn.” I have no idea what this means.
  38. “He tried to appear menacing, and perhaps Katherine might have beer, intimidated, but she towered over him by a good five inches.” Or maybe a wine cooler! Bad, bad proofreader.
  39. “Dix used slow hands to make her tremble, gasp, and blossom.” As opposed to jazz hands.
  40. “His aura shimmered around her like heat on the horizon.” Like bacon on the burner. Like a potato log under a convenience-store heat lamp. Shoot, I should write one of these.
  41. “The heat in his eyes could have warmed a three-room house during a Chicago winter.” How specific. If you added heat from his hands and his lips (torridly burning since Chapter 3), could he heat an eight-room boardinghouse in Montana?
  42. So much manhood.

  43. So much ripeness.

  44. “She moved like a tall queen.” As opposed to the short British queens we’re used to.
  45. “There were gloves on her arms.” Shouldn’t they be on her hands?
  46. “It made her feel like a sumptuous dessert.” You know, like the kind you get at Cheesecake Factory, not Shoney’s.
  47. “… the cajoling of his meandering hand…” Class, today’s lecture in Romance 101: “Hands That Meander: To Cajole or Not to Cajole.”
  48. Okay, just now, “her croon rose on the night.” ??? Absolutely NOTHING on Urban Dictionary!
  49. “He wished he could stash her in a pocket so he’d be assured of her safety, though that obviously wasn’t possible.Thank God someone finally exposed the 19th-century clothing industry’s alarming lack of woman-sized pockets.
  50. “He did not want to leave her but had to if he wanted to catch the person responsible.” Uhh, that’s how police work works.
  51. “His chuckle made Katherine’s lip curl.” Elvis-style, I hope and pray.

  52. “The urge to make him eat his hat burned hotly within her.” I get this very same feeling in Production meetings.
  53. “News was added or deleted as space allowed.” Can something be deleted “as space allows”? It’s already taking up space before it’s deleted!
  54. “He’d roused drunks in the border towns, questioned whores in their cribs, and harassed bootleggers all over the Nation in his search for a lead.” Sounds much like what I do to find files for an old title.
  55. If these two do one more thing “huskily,” I’m going to cry.
  56. “She lowered his head and gifted him with a kiss that could’ve melted snow on a Boston roof.” That’ll come in handy, come Thanksgiving. Frozen turkeys, you know.
  57. “His mustache lifted with his smile.” What would have happened if it didn't??
  58. “His touch could charm the bark off of trees.” But then whaddya do with all that bark?! Hm?
  59. I just read the word “nubbins.” I just found the name of my next pet bunny.

romance reviews, topaz, beverly jenkins Current Cover
Looking for more romance reviews? Stay tuned for more from Jason Blackthorne.

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By day, Jason Blackthorn is a high-class editor. By night, he's watching Game of Thrones and wondering why the rest of us won't hurry up and pick up the show, too. If he wrote a book, it would be titled Goldfoot. He runs almost entirely on plaid and Mountain Dew. HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP), Inc., operates Page Chaser. HCCP is owned by HarperCollins Publishing, Inc, the publisher of Topaz.
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