Heroines, Highlanders, and Robots! Oh, my!

One of my favorite books is The Pleasure Master by Nina Bangs. No! No! Don’t run away! It’s not what you think.

I know, the title sounds like the book a soccer mom would secretly have on her e-reader. While it is a romance novel, it’s not 50 shades of anything. For a lot of women that would mean it’s a nice, sweet read for grandma but not meaty enough for their tastes. Believe me, this book doesn’t disappoint.

pleasuremasterKathy, our modern-day heroine, is overworked, overstressed, and just got out of a bad marriage. When she cried out to the universe that she needs a sunny vacation she didn’t expect the universe to answer by transporting her to the highlands of Scotland…four-hundred and fifty years in the past. Somehow she has to find her way back home and the only help to be had comes from a sexy highlander (the Pleasure Master) and a talking toy robot.

For those well read in the genre, you’re probably thinking “…and she meets the Pleasure Master, he seduces her, and they live happily ever after.” Well, yes and no. I’m not going to spoil the book but I will say that as a divorced woman I appreciate that Nina made Kathy a strong, intelligent woman that’s more interested in a healthy relationship than a quick roll in the hay with a hot guy.

I think Henry Fonda said it best in the 1968 version of Yours, Mine and Ours: “It isn’t going to a bed with a man that proves you’re in love with him; it’s getting up in the morning and facing the drab, miserable, wonderful everyday world with him that counts.” This book does a wonderful job of illustrating that while simultaneously maintaing the delicious tension between the couple and balancing it with a healthy dose of humor (provided by the toy robot). This book is what all romance novels should be — a fun, entertaining romp through imagination that doesn’t rely on bad decisions or lust to bring two people together. It makes the happy ending much more satisfying.

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