Tender Triumph by Judith McNaught

Tender Triumph 

(No Series)
Modern Romance


On Friday, a sensuous stranger entered Katie's life. By Sunday, her world would never be the same...

Stunning Katie Connelly submerged her painful past in a promising career, an elegant apartment, and men she could keep at a distance. Yet something vital was missing from her life -- until she met proud, rugged Ramon Galverra. With his urbane charm and his passionate nature, he gave her a love she had never known.

In his arms, she came fully alive to his every touch. Still she was afraid to surrender her heart to this strong, willful, secretive man -- a man from a different world, a man with a bold, uncertain future...

Eager to delve into the McNaught world with all the books I have by her that I need to read, it figures I would begin with one of the more poorly reviewed ones.

Story-wise, it starts out intriguing but then would need a bit more to fill it in to keep it as interesting. In the beginning there are clearly cultural differences where the protagonist shows her embarrassing ignorance and unintentional snobbiness to the point it got on my nerves. Through the first date to his stunning announcement, to the bizarre pool party night (what on earth was going on with all THAT?, and then to the awkward parent gathering. It was strange how different Ramon seemed in her presence versus how he was with his associate in the office at the book's opening.

The middle half gets even better as things progress, where she admits she has feelings for Ramon and tries to make it work, all the while subconsciously holding backing important parts of herself. Some of these just seemed silly, and I only sat back to wait for the explosion. The end was a disappointing wrap-up, though, bringing this review down a few notches. We don't get to see the scene where she sits down and explains an important element to Ramon. The reasoning behind her I love you avoidance was a bit silly and too forced a dramatic explanation, almost as if the author was searching too much. It's hard to believe Katie could be as clueless as she was with key points, I mean really!

Overall the pacing never harms the book, as things are always happening, plenty of tension is felt, internal struggles often encountered. Each chapter introduces a new plot point that breathes in freshness. McNaughts' writing style is done well with little hiccup. The atmosphere is one of moderate tension that adds to the book when it needs to.

Characters are fun overall. Ramon was my favorite as he had a sense of price hard to top, knew the right way to treat a lady (once you get pass the domineering annoying traits that pop up from time to time.) I felt more sorry for him than Katie. Katie was clueless most of the time and some of her faux pass in social settings just embarrassed me with her misconceptions of the poor. She may not feel herself a snob, but it was clear she was a bit at first. I'm happy to see this changed. I do have some questions, however. Why did she meet Rob at the beginning if she knew she wouldn't give him a chance? Is it insulting to anyone else the pastors opinion should bear so much fruit on the town's decision?

I did not despise Tender Triumph like others, and instead found it hard to tear myself away. The plot was riddled with impracticalities, some of it over the top and too much, while others just didn't make a lick of sense. The ending didn't pay off a lot of built up suspense, and the romantic relationship itself won't be winning any awards. Still, it's not a bad book, though perhaps by McNaught terms.