Review: Now who doesn’t like a contemporary romance novel that sees the heroine sexually violated in the first few chapters, eh? I mean is there every a better way to set the mood of the book than that?!
But rather than making me feel sympathetic to Francesca, I spent the majority of the book pretty much hoping that she was going to be killed off.
Dallie said it best when he said: “…if you had a different personality I could even see myself losing my head over you for a few weeks. But the thing of it is, you don’t have a different personality, and the way you are is pretty much a composite of all the bad qualities of every man and woman I ever met, with none of the good qualities thrown in to even things out.”
And anyone who says this about a cat is instantly in my bad books: “The cat’s unrelenting ugliness disturbed her. She had this illogical feeling that she didn’t want to be around anything so ugly, that some of that ugliness might rub off on her, that people are judged by the company they keep.”
And how can I respect anyone who, despite being absolutely starving, spends the $5 left for her on beauty products instead of food?!
Don’t get me wrong, Francesca is undoubtedly both a product of the time the book was set in and written but I just do not like my contemporary romance heroines as being spoilt, vain, childish, whiny individuals. And characters from this time are never just, you know, normal. They have to be caricatures and have extreme personalities and big emotions.
Yes, yes I know she goes through a ‘change’ and becomes more likable but the fact is that we have to deal with Spoilt Francesca for more than half of a book …..
So there I was getting frustrated with Francesca and scratching my head about how I was ever going to make through the rest of the (rather long) book when the delightfully sassy Holly Grace entered and shook things up.
(Now what does it say when I was actually rooting for Dallie to end up back with Holly rather than Francesca?!)
And before you know it, there is a huge jump in time and we fast-forward through births, promotions, geographical relocations, friendships and Francesca is given a huge personality transplant. Yay!
So in the second half of the book, my character issues mainly lie with Dallie. Whilst of course I can understand his anger at finding out about Teddy, his concern that he is a sissy and might ‘end up queer’ if he doesn’t play more sports completely enraged me and Francesca’s defence of her son won her a few points (if only she didn’t keep ending up in bed with the now-odious Dallie).
By the end of the book, whilst a part of my shipping heart still lay with Dallie/Holly Grace, I couldn’t help but feel that Dallie/Francesca deserved each other and as for my favourite character in the book, surely it must be Teddy. No contest.
Still, having moaned about all of the above I still managed to enjoy the book. Why? Because SEP really knows how to tell a story, there is dialogue which makes me smile and whilst I usually find huge jumps in time annoying or a cop out, in SEP’s case they are necessary because the reader knows that if they hang on long enough, characters with really ugly and annoying personalities will grow up and turn into beautiful swans.