Entangled, by Eileen Wilks

9 Oct

Nota bene: for someone who generally doesn’t like continuities, I sure have been reading a goodly amount of novels which are part of them lately, haven’t I?

Entangled, by Eileen Wilks

First title in the twelve title continuity Dynasties: The Ashtons, published by the Desire line of Harlequin/Silhouette in 2005. Set in California’s Napa Valley, each title tells the story of a different member of Spencer Ashton’s far flung family, exposing his lies, his selfishness, and bringing home the true meaning of family.

Entangled both tells the story of Cole Ashton and Dixie McCord, and sets the stage for the series’ overarching plot. It also introduces several characters whose stories are told later in other installments, by other authors. (The complete list of titles and authors is available here)

The back cover blurb:

Passion Aged to Perfection

After one sultry summer together, Dixie McCord’s affair with Cole Ashton had grown chilly. Unable to stay with a man who put business before love, Dixie had left Napa, never expecting that one day she would return to Louret Vineyards—and once again feel the irresistible thrill of Cole’s touch.

Cole couldn’t believe Dixie had agreed to work for him after their years apart, and he set plans in motion to seduce her. He’d fulfill all of his fantasies… and then leave her as she’d once left him. But the fire burned hotter with Dixie’s every surrender, bringing her closer to his family’s secrets… and his own melting heart.

Dynasties: The Ashtons
A family built on lies… brought together by dark, passionate secrets.

One of the things I enjoyed the most is the flow of this novel. The pacing is really good, going from the slightly awkward re-encounter between Cole and Dixie after eleven years—with some bitter memories from their last fight between them—and moving to a friendship between adults, who can control their hormones better now and who know themselves better.

It is also interesting to see how differently their memories of each other and of the relationship are—the fights or other incidents may be the same, but their individual interpretations of them are so very different, colored by their own expectations more than anything else.

I liked both main characters, but I really really liked Dixie. Why, you ask? Because once she and Cole started interacting again, as adults this time, she was able to see past her memories of the time, and accept that perhaps even if he had behaved the way she thought she wanted him to… perhaps even then, she would have left.

Of the secondary characters we get sketches rather than full out characterization, which I think is very clever of Ms Wilks, given that other writers will flesh those characters out later on the continuity. Still, we are given enough insight into their relationships and the dynamics between them for the purposes of this novel, while leaving the stage open for later installments.

I have two quibbles with Entangled. The first is that the final crisis didn’t truly solve the issues between the two protagonists. I don’t believe that Cole has changed in the basic ways necessary to make their relationship work, and I found Dixie’s capitulation (for lack of a better term) out of character. Second and worse, there was an epilogue which seemed to have as its only purpose to introduce more characters (via exposition to boot) for future installments.

Still, the writing is very engaging, as is Dixie. Entangled gets a 7 out of 10.

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One Response to “Entangled, by Eileen Wilks”

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  1. The Pregnant Heiress, by Eileen Wilks | Her Hands, My Hands - 23/01/2015

    […] became aware of Ms Wilks’ category titles back in 2008, and even though I knew even then that she also writes Urban Fantasy (hell, I probably own at least […]

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