Heroes Are My Weakness: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips is back with a delightful novel filled with her sassy wit and dazzling charm

Deepest winter.
An isolated island off the coast of Maine.
A man. A woman.
Puppets. (Yes, puppets . . .)
And . . .
A mysterious house ...

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Heroes Are My Weakness: A Novel

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Overview

New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips is back with a delightful novel filled with her sassy wit and dazzling charm

Deepest winter.
An isolated island off the coast of Maine.
A man. A woman.
Puppets. (Yes, puppets . . .)
And . . .
A mysterious house looming over the sea . . .

He's a reclusive writer whose imagination creates chilling horror novels. She's a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids' puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill his characters with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill an audience with laughs. But she's not laughing now.

Annie Hewitt has arrived on Peregrine Island in the middle of a snowstorm and at the end of her resources. She's broke, dispirited, but not quite ready to give up. Her red suitcases hold the puppets she uses to make her living: sensible Dilly, spunky Scamp, and Leo, the baddest of bad guys. Her puppets, the romantic novels she loves, and a little bit of courage are all she has left.

Annie couldn't be more ill prepared for what she finds when she reaches Moonraker Cottage or for the man who dwells in Harp House, the mysterious mansion that hovers above the cottage. When she was a teenager, he betrayed her in a way she can never forget or forgive. Now they're trapped together on a frozen island along with a lonely widow, a mute little girl, and townspeople who don't know how to mind their own business.

Is he the villain she remembers, or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes.

It's going to be a long, hot winter.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
★ 08/01/2014
Returning to Moonraker Cottage, her childhood summertime haunt on Maine's remote Peregrine Island, ventriloquist Annie Hewitt wants to stay only long enough to fulfill the terms of her inheritance and find a mysterious legacy left by her mother. She definitely doesn't want to have anything to do with popular author Theo Harp, the stepbrother whose cruel betrayal almost killed her as a teenager and whose twisted horror novels prove he's only gotten worse. When their interests collide, the aftermath is unexpected, throwing everything Annie believes into chaos. Old secrets, renewed passions, and hidden scandals combine with rapier wit and smart, sharp comments from Annie's puppet alter egos in this nonstop, red herring-laced romance. VERDICT In a stunning change of pace, Phillips reveals a brilliant flair for the gothic as she channels the Brontës, Daphne du Maurier, Victoria Holt, and Phyllis Whitney in a riveting, updated tale featuring a brooding, dangerous hero, a threatened (but definitely not classically helpless) heroine, and a chilling, foreboding setting (complete with a windswept cliff-top mansion). An unforgettable, deliciously spicy romance that readers won't want to put down. Phillips (The Great Escape) lives in the Chicago suburbs. [See Prepub Alert, 5/19/14.]
Publishers Weekly
★ 06/09/2014
When 33-year-old ventriloquist Annie Hewitt returns to a Maine island and the isolated cottage where she spent her teenage years, she only expects to recover her health and search for a legacy left by her mother. She doesn’t expect to find widower Theo Harp in the manor house on the hill, or Jaycie Mills, the quiet woman who once saved her life, working as his housekeeper and raising a mute four-year-old daughter. Phillips (What I Did For Love) uses hints and references to Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca to create a sometimes tense atmosphere, using the structure of the older book to both fulfill and subvert the reader’s expectations. Theo fulfills his role as the stereotypical brooding hero, and Annie is much more independent than her counterpart as she learns about her past, helps Jaycie’s daughter overcome trauma, and investigates the mysterious occurrences that are trying to drive her off the island. Details of smalltown New England life round out this powerfully successful homage. (Aug.)
Booklist (starred review)
“realistically quirky yet all too relatable characters, polished writing, tart humor, and an abundance of potent sexual chemistry. [...] another romance to treasure from one of the genre’s superstars, and proof positive that good things come to those readers who wait.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062106117
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/26/2014
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 522
  • File size: 631 KB

Meet the Author

Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Susan Elizabeth Phillips has found fans all over the world with her warm and wonderful contemporary love stories that manage to touch both hearts and funny bones. She's the only four-time recipient of the Romance Writers of America's prestigious Favorite Book of the Year and was also honored with their Lifetime Achievement Award. A resident of the Chicago suburbs, she is a wife, the mother of two grown sons, an avid hiker, and—unlike some of her characters—notoriously inept at any sport requiring a ball.

Biography

Susan Elizabeth Phillips believes if Jane Austen were writing today, novels like Pride and Prejudice would be sitting on the bookshelf alongside the love stories that she and her fellow romance novelists pen. "Oh, and one more thing," she said, wagging her finger at a Chicago Tribune reporter in 1999, "Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy should have kissed at the end of that story, and if I'd have written it, they would have -- and it would have been a good kiss, too."

Such sass is Phillips' calling card, and since her 1994 football romance It Had to Be You, she’s been stitching threads of humor into her romance novels.

"I'm not a particularly funny person in person. I can't tell jokes, but it just seems like it happened when I started to write," she told The Romance Reader in 1997. "It wasn't anything that was planned. I'm a very intuitive writer; I just sort of let the characters talk to me, and they started saying funny things, so I wrote them down."

A schoolteacher until her first son was born, Phillips began writing in the early 1980s with her best friend and neighbor. The two were both regular readers and decided to try their hand at a book of their own, plotting their story during nightly bike rides with their toddlers in tow. They got the name of a publisher at Dell who liked the book and published it under the pen name Justine Cole.

Her friend moved into a legal career, but Phillips continued writing and publishing, this time under her own name. She released what she calls her "big books," titles like Fancy Pants and Honey Moon featuring Hollywood starlets and jet-setting London socialites.

Her stories, she has said, moved outside of the mainstream after that. She gives her romantic characters emotional wounds and personal difficulties that often impede their inevitable happy endings. But without such obstacles, there would be no story.

"I've grown increasingly interested in writing about family dynamics and much less interested in sticking a psychopath with a gun in any of my books," she said in an interview with the web site iVillage. "Technically, I've simply learned how to capitalize on my own distinctive voice and how to be a better storyteller."

The healing process that the characters go through is what makes the novels work. "Creative plotting adds sparkle, and entertaining, well-drawn secondary characters round out the novel, but it is the growing, healing relationship between the protagonists and how they finally form a family that touches the heartstrings and makes this contemporary romance an unforgettable read," the Library Journal wrote in a review of Phillips' 2000 book First Lady.

The dialogue, she has said, is also important. The exchanges in romance novels are satisfying to women who love to communicate, she told USA Today. "Women really like to talk. That's one of our processes. We talk to gather information. Women love the connection that comes from conversation," she said. "My husband says we broadcast. He thinks through things before he talks, but he says women just kind of broadcast until they zero in on what they want to say."

Phillips has also disputed the notion that romance novels are nothing more than books about "throbbing thighs." They aren't about sex, she told the Chicago Tribune in 1992, but are instead complicated fictions about women taking charge of their lives and being the stories' heroes.

"The woman always wins the man," she said, "and he always gets tamed in the end."

Good To Know

Phillips wanted to publish her first novel under the pseudonym Chastity Savage, but her best friend and co-author nixed the idea.

Though two of her books -- It Had to Be You and This Heart of Mine -- have football plots, Phillips doesn't consider herself much of a sports fan. "In my mind, if you don't have to wear mascara to do it, it doesn't count as recreation," she told Book Page.

Her family helps her keep the details straight. Husband Bill was her technical adviser on describing Dallie Beaudine's golf game in Fancy Pants, and son Zach's interest in knives, guns, and dead insects surfaced in Teddy, the son of the novel's leading lady. He also wrote and recorded a companion CD to her title This Heart of Mine, which is available from her web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 35 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 35 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 26, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    3.5 stars I have been reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips's (SEP)

    3.5 stars

    I have been reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips's (SEP) books for a long time and I really liked the sound of Heroes Are My Weakness dark brooding author and quirky/funny heroine. While we did get the great story you come to expect from SEP it didn't capture my attention as much as her previous books did. I loved the feel of the book, the isolated Maine island, the Gothic novel feel, the mysterious happenings and the secondary characters. What I wasn't in love with was the chemistry.

    I really liked Annie's character. She was down on her luck, desperate even, funny, witty and had a great backbone (Didn't love the puppet dialogues in her mind, but the puppets do come in handy in the story). Theo's character just felt tragic and mysterious. It took a while for me to even want to get to know his character and when I did, I never really understood all the reasons behind his actions, but I did start finding myself wanting more time with him. When these two characters were fighting and immersed in pissing matches, it was great. The chemistry and then lack of spark with the heat/sexy times was unfortunate. I never really "got" why Annie would let Theo close, she spent a lot of the book terrified of him. My other issue was when they were together, there was no heat in there interactions. I might have felt more chemistry if we got to read a bit more of their "togetherness". (What can I say, this girl likes her sexy times in books).

    Heroes Are My Weakness was a good story. I liked getting stuck on a Maine island in winter and feeling like you were struggling along with Annie, while trying to solve the mysterious happens throughout the book. I enjoyed how the story rolled out (even though it was a bit long), but something kept throwing me off between Annie and Theo. I am glad I read this book, it was a great escape and I will continue to read SEP books in the future.

    If you are a fan of SEP you will enjoy this slightly darker Gothic feel to the story, and you know you are getting characters with depth, spunk and baggage. If you have never read a SEP book before this would be a good place to see if you like her writing style before diving into her enormous back list. Heroes Are My Weakness was a good read that makes you glad it is still summer time and not buried in snow up on a remote island in Maine.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    A modern day Gothic romance that's sure to make readers swoon.

    A modern day Gothic romance that's sure to make readers swoon.

    I've been on a Susan Elizabeth Phillips' binge lately, and was SO VERY EXCITED when a copy of Heroes Are My Weakness showed up on my doorstep!

    What I Loved: This cover fits perfectly with the story, and as a reader, I love when the bookish people involved make that connection.

    Heroes Are My Weakness has all of the elements I've come to expect (and enjoy) from a Susan Elizabeth Phillip's story; witty humor, quirky characters and steamy romance. However, this one is a little darker, right down to the horror writing novelist and the creepy house he lives in that may or may not be haunted.

    And then there are the puppets...

    I really liked Theo and Annie! She has her fair share of quirks, a somewhat cutting sense of humor but she manages to see the good in people even when they don't deserve it. Theo is tall, dark and broodishly handsome, the epitome of Gothic romance hero. Their shared history and their occupations provided for some thoroughly entertaining situations. The mystery element was intriguing and I enjoyed watching Annie and Theo try puzzle out what was really going on on the island as well as what was happening between the two of them.

    It's always fun to read a story where the characters start out as frenemies only to discover things (and people) are not always what they seem. Susan Elizabeth Phillips' fans will not be disappointed!

    What Left Me Wanting More: Nothing.

    Favorite Quote(s):

    "I'd be glad to, except I have trouble cutting up dead bodies. All that bone."

    "He gave a long sigh. "And with those chilling words, the raging fire in his loins vanished."

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 3, 2014

    One of my favorites. The characters were extremely well develope

    One of my favorites. The characters were extremely well developed and evolved throughout the story. It had a bit of everything: Romance, fear, caring, friendship, healing, suffering...the works. The puppets were hilarious and completely appropriate. All in all, a thoroughly good read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

           Antoinette, ¿Annie¿ to her friends, is at the end of her

           Antoinette, “Annie” to her friends, is at the end of her rope, ending up on a solitary road in the middle of a blizzard on an island she only knew as a child. Her mother has died, leaving behind a small cabin filled with bad memories but quickly becomes the only refuge Annie has. When she returns to her former childhood home, she is assaulted by the memories of her mother and the presence of her former crush, Theo Harp, only creates a more tense situation. 
          Theo has overcome a very sinister childhood to become an accomplished horror author. He lives a truly solitary life and is still dealing with the death of his twin sister and the suicide of his wife. Unused to any disruptions in his lonely existence, he is disturbed by Annie’s return to her childhood home that coincidentally is just down the hill from his very own mansion. Theo and Annie come together in an explosion of murderous intentions, revealed secrets, a little laughter and a whole lotta love.
         From the very beginning, you can tell this isn’t your usual Susan Elizabeth Phillips book. There is a very dark tone even in the first few pages that isn’t readily apparent in Phillips’ other novels. While it was very different for me, and at times I couldn’t believe my “go to” author was the actual author of what I was reading, the book worked for me.
           There is a lot going on in this one, so bear with me a moment. Crazy siblings, homicidal wives, mistaken identities, greed, lies, crucial family dynamics, hidden fortunes, unknown fathers, and a whole lot more make up Heroes Are My Weakness. Theo and Annie’s relationship takes a backseat sometimes, but it builds slowly and surely. Not as sexy as some of her other books, I found myself enjoying the mysteries as they unfolded and was satisfied with the outcome of the story.    
          A different tone from other Phillips books, Heroes Are My Weakness takes on a whole new world where no one is safe from the machinations of others. Theo and Annie have led fairly disastrous lives but through no fault of their own, but lets face it, without their pasts they wouldn’t have ended up together. Different than her own novels, but no less special, Seppie fans will find her newest one no less intriguing than her famed Stars series. 

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2014

    Good book

    A beautifully written and layered story. My only complaint is the ending feels a bit abrupt.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2014

    Not my favorite

    Sep make me laugh and that is why I love her books but this one missed the mark. I didn't laugh much at all - too dark. Theo isn't even a little bit appealing until late in the book and in light of the story the title is confusing to me. Still I love her books and have confidence I will love the next one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2014

    A little dissappointed ....

    Halfway thru the book and i keep thinking, when is this story going to pick up. Where is this story going ? There isnt anything about the two main characters that is interesting as of yet. Came to the reviews to see if anyone else feels this way. Someone please tell me that it gets better because as of right now page 120 its boring. Sorry sep i love your books but this one is soso

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 16, 2014

    Another Winner! A Gothic romance with a classic SEP flair. Very

    Another Winner! A Gothic romance with a classic SEP flair. Very much like the book/movie "Rebecca" in feeling: that dark brooding hero, the scary house, the weird relationships, the vulnerable heroine. But written by SEP, it has the most delicious banter and humor, which is quite tricky given its Gothic overtones. Yet, as we all expected, she pulls it off beautifully.
    Definitely a keeper.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2014

    Great

    Another fantastic Susan Elizabeth Phillips book. I love her books and this one is great. I wanted more, more, more. It ended too soon. Great characters and wonderful story!

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  • Posted October 13, 2014

    I loved this book!!!! There was drama, mystery, suspense, and o

    I loved this book!!!! There was drama, mystery, suspense, and of course lots of romance. I loved Annie and her puppets and her whimsy. I loved the fairy house!! I loved Theo and how he and Annie bantered together. Heroes Are My Weakness also had a small town feel since it took place on an island and I love all that a small town brings to a story. I also loved the history of Annie & Theo and how it ultimately brought them together. They are both stubborn which also makes for some great dialogue!! Once again Susan Elizabeth Phillips has created another book that I'm sure will have many, many fans.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2014

    I really loved this book. It seemed so fresh and different and

    I really loved this book. It seemed so fresh and different and all the characters were so well developed. I loved Annie's puppets and how she used them to speak her thoughts. I particularly loved the change in Leo's puppet, it mirrored Annie's relationship and feelings towards Theo.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2014

    Okay, entertaining

    Definitely not up to her normal standards. Ten days later and I can't even remember the plot!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2014

    Years ago, Theo and Annie had a teenage love relationship, until

    Years ago, Theo and Annie had a teenage love relationship, until Theo tried to kill Annie.
    Fast forward, Annie's mother has passed away and Annie has to go back to the island that is the "scene of the crime". Unbeknownst to Annie, Theo is living in the main house again. In order to keep her mother's cottage, Annie must stay in it for two consecutive months each year as stipulated by the will.
    As much as Annie would love to leave the island, she needs this two months to get her life back on track, to get healthy and find the "legacy" her mother left for her at the cottage.
    Of course, Theo and Annie have numerous encounters. Annie's cottage is broken into and other suspicious events occur which reinforces Annie's negative feelings about Theo, yet the passion still simmers and burst into flame all these years later.
    SEP has woven a "can't put it down" tale once again.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 30, 2014

    Years ago, Theo and Annie had a teenage love relationship, unti


    Years ago, Theo and Annie had a teenage love relationship, until Theo tried to kill Annie.
    Fast forward, Annie's mother has passed away and Annie has to go back to the island that is the "scene of the crime". Unbeknownst to Annie, Theo is living in the main house again. In order to keep her mother's cottage, Annie must stay in it for two consecutive months each year as stipulated by the will.
    As much as Annie would love to leave the island, she needs this two months to get her life back on track, to get healthy and find the "legacy" her mother left for her at the cottage.
    Of course, Theo and Annie have numerous encounters. Annie's cottage is broken into and other suspicious events occur which reinforces Annie's negative feelings about Theo, yet the passion still simmers and burst into flame all these years later.
    SEP has woven a "can't put it down" tale once again.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2014

    SEP knocks it out of the park again! Quirky, unforgettable char

    SEP knocks it out of the park again! Quirky, unforgettable characters featuring a gothic setting -- one of her trademark humorous, heartwarming, steamy stories that stays with you... Loved, loved Theo... A hero that made my knees weak!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2014

    Loved it!

    I loved this book and was sorry when I finished it; it is difficult to find romance that is so well done. While it was darker than most of her other novels, I thoroughly enjoy Gothic romances, and Rebecca was one of my favorites. This novel has many similarities, although it has the refreshingly quirky characters for which SEB is known.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2014

    Get a free pink ipod

    Get a free pink ipod

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2014

    Surprised Me!

    I have read all of Ms. Phillips books and loved her Chicago Stars Series (football themed). Loved the one about the golfer and the girl dressed in the Beaver costume... But this book is so different, I was totally unprepared for it... I expected another sports themed story and some humor... This was a little deep from what I usually read but it was beautifully written and I enjoyed it once I got into it... It did have the HEA that I enjoy but a lot of sadness to get there... Will continue to read anything this gifted author writes...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2014

    I have read all of Susan Elizabeth Phillips' books. This is now

    I have read all of Susan Elizabeth Phillips' books. This is now one of my favorites. I must say that is took a while to get the feel of Theo but it kept me guessing. I agree it not as funny as her other books but I did not put it down until I finished it. I loved it!

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  • Posted September 19, 2014

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Annie is return

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings

    Annie is returning home to lay claim on a home from her past that she must inhabit for 60 days per an agreement between her mother and step father.  She must return to this house in the dead of winter on an island off of Maine and tough it out while having memories of her childhood haunt her.  Theo is a part of these childhood memories that are haunting and he is living in his family's home trying to work on his next novel.  

    Their love story was great.  I loved the ups and the downs and the realizations they each had to make to get to where they ended up.  My favorite secondary character was a young, sweet girl named Livia who had been through a lot, but actually helped the other characters learn more about themselves through her.  She wins a prize for top secondary character in my book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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