Ally Blake – “Dating The Rebel Tycoon”

13 Aug

Blake, Ally - Dating the Rebel Tycoon
GENRE: Romance / Contemporary
PUBLISHED: Harlequin Romance, 2009

WHY THIS NOVEL: I like Ally Blake’s voice.

As a gawky teenager, Rosie knew she never stood a chance with heartthrob Cameron Kelly. She had pigtails and glasses, and washed dishes by night to help support her and her mother, while Cameron came from one of the richest and most revered families in Brisbane.

Years later they meet again, and Rosie finds herself on a date with the devastatingly attractive billionaire! There’s something different about him–he’s darker, more intense, dangerous. But she’s determined to ignore his three-dates-only rule and get to the heart of the rebel tycoon…

This is the third novel I’ve read by Ally Blake. Although it didn’t blow me away either, I really like Blake’s voice and will continue to read her. I think this is the novel I did like best so far.

The blurb is actually a bit misleading because both Rosie (short for Rosalind) and Cameron (Cam) are commitment shy. If there’s one problem with this novel, it’s that I had trouble buying into Cam’s reason for being that way.

Cam has trust issues because when he was around seventeen, he discovered his almighty father cheated on Cam’s mother. So he knows “that even the most solid relationships ultimately fail beneath the weight of secrets and lies” (118). What I knew about this wasn’t enough to make me believe his “I do fun but I don’t do relationship” stance.

But even if there would have been more, I guess I would have had trouble buying into that idea. Is it really that you don’t believe in relationships because someone you loved, honored, respected cheated on the partner? Wouldn’t it occur to you once that you are your own person and responsible for what you do? (If not, it makes you appear a bit stupid, IMO.) Or maybe it’s the thought that the person Cam is with could cheat on him that makes Cam commitment shy. Either way, I didn’t think it a strong enough reason. But it did explain why Cam is estranged from his family.

I had less trouble believing in Rosie’s reason for why she’s not really looking for something solid. She’d seen firsthand what opening up to someone can do to a person. Her mother never was the same after her father had left them (not that Rose actually knew him). This meant a childhood for Rosie that rendered her invisible at home no matter what she did. Like being good at school for example which, by the way, was another place where Rosie felt invisible, especially with her crush on Cam. She was the poor student that went to school with rich kids thanks to a scholarship. So Rosie has more than enough experience with what it feels like to be left out and ignored (and a failed relationship would mean just that to her) so as a rule, she dates only men who for whatever reason can’t make a commitment.

So both Cameron and Rosie actually make their decision to stay out of serious relationships because of something they witnessed, not something that happened to themselves (they’d never been in a relationship that had failed). Yet I’m more willing to go with Rosie’s reason than with Cameron’s. Maybe it’s really because I’m not sure why Cameron thinks that way. I guess I would have had less trouble if he’d be afraid to be the one who gets cheated on. But that’s not really what it sounds like when he explains himself.

In any way, my impression that Cameron’s reason was a bit weak wasn’t a deal breaker for this novel. It’s more like a minor niggle that made me sometimes feel left out, but nothing more. And contrary to what you probably would expect from a woman with a background like Rosie’s, Rosie isn’t a shy person (though she has her insecurities). She’s an open person who knows herself pretty well. Rosie says what she thinks, she says how she sees things, and she isn’t afraid to look at the truth.

Together with her thoughts and feelings about her own father, it’s this that enables her to draw Cameron out and to get him to reconcile with his family. She finally makes him see that humans can make mistakes and that even he, who doesn’t want to hurt/disappoint anyone he cares for (his reason for staying away from other people), inadvertently hurts people by his behavior. Rosie shows Cam the value of talking openly about things. They (eventually) do this in their dealings with each other and Cam does it eventually with his family as well.

What I liked this novel for, and where it really shines, IMO, is in detailing what happens when you get to know someone. The reader really sees Rosie and Cameron dating. Their first date covers several chapters and they actually do talk. It’s not the “they talked for hours about…” thing. There’s flirting, there’s fun, and it’s clear that there’s always an undercurrent of attraction between them. So although the characters agree to a date for reasons that has nothing to do with pursuing a serious relationship – Cameron thinks to use Rosie as a distraction from the problems he has with his family and his father, for example – this attraction of course gets the better of them in the end.

Verdict: I liked it (4/5).


2 Responses to “Ally Blake – “Dating The Rebel Tycoon””

  1. nath Friday, August 14, 2009 at 1:53 pm #

    It sounds good 🙂 and I think I could believe Cam’s reason. I mean, when you discover someone you care such as your father cheating on your mother while you thought they had such a good relationship, you discover it’s a sham… it’s almost your own betrayal.

    Never tried this author, but I’ll look her up 😛 Thanks Taja!

  2. Taja Saturday, August 15, 2009 at 9:28 am #

    Nath – I guess I’m just too cynical to be surprised by much. And as I said, if the angle “I’m now afraid someone cheats on me” would have been played more, I really think I would have been okay. But Cam says things like “I won’t be like him [his father]” (118) which implies to me that he’s afraid he’s the one who’s going to cheat. It just didn’t come together in my view.

    But this is nitpicking. I think Ally Blake’s novels are certainly worth a try. 😀 Let me know if you read one!

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