Title: On One Condition
Author: Diane Alberts
May Contain Spoilers
OCD kindergarten teacher Johanna hates Valentine’s Day. She hates romance, hates commercialism, and definitely hates her school’s annual charity date auction. She never expects her pre-auction night of drinking to land a sexy Brit in her bed. Or for that Brit to show up at the auction, bid thousands just to talk to her again, and get down on one knee in front of everyone and ask her to marry him.
Viscount Damon Hayes has never met anyone like Johanna. She’s neurotic, fascinating, and fun. She also doesn’t care about his title and doesn’t want his money, which makes Johanna perfect to fulfill a surprise clause in his father’s will: marry within three months and remain married for a year, or lose his fortune. A relationship is out of the question, but when passions ignite and the two fall in love, their marriage of convenience becomes anything but.
On One Condition did not work for me, and my major dissatisfaction rests right at the hero’s feet. Damon is not hero material, at least not to me. I like a hero who is forceful and strong, who also has a tender side, especially when interacting with the heroine. He needs to be decisive, needs to know how to make goals and then relentlessly pursue them. As much as I can dislike business tycoons for being asshats, at least they know how to make a plan and get results.
To me, Damon came across as very immature and very unworldly. He’s British, a Viscount, and for most of his life, he’s goofed around. He hasn’t accomplished anything of worth. Instead, he has ridden on his father’s coattails and sponged off of his immense wealth. While I would like the opportunity to not have to worry about working ever again, I want my hero to be down in the trenches, making his fortune and future by the power of his blood, sweat, and tears. Damon wasn’t engaged in his own livelihood until after the death of his father, and even then, he is too trusting of others. Maybe I didn’t like him because he isn’t a businessman and he isn’t a cynic when it comes to work. When women were involved, he was quite cynical, believing that all of them were fortune hunters and only after his bank accounts. This didn’t work for me because I couldn’t separate his business self from his pleasure seeking self. If he were that naive in his business dealings, surely he would be that naïve in his relationships with women.
The complexity of some of the plot threads didn’t work for me, either, and I blame that on the shorter length of the story. Some of the roadblocks that sprang up to drive a wedge between Johanna and Damon weren’t developed to my satisfaction. Johanna’s relationship with her mother is only briefly explored. Her childhood has a huge impact on her relationships with other people, and the reason for her social isolation stems from her relationship with her mother.
While On One Condition didn’t work for me, I am looking forward to reading Divinely Ruined, Diane’s April release from Entangled Publishing.
Review copy provided by publisher