Grade: C- (Amazon 3 Stars)
Synopsis: Olivia and Michael have been connected since they were only six years old, becoming, over time, best friends and lovers. However, as they grew up, Michael was lured from Olivia and their small town life by the promise of a directing career in L.A. When he abandons Olivia, everything they were together is lost. But over a decade later, Olivia’s powerful father decides it is time to repair his relationship with his daughter, and he knows the first step is reuniting her with the man she has always loved. He cooks up a plot and moves himself, Michael, and an entire film crew into his daughter’s little town and into her home! Will all of this go according to script or is this just a recipe for disaster?
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The Good: Let me be honest here, shall I? I am terribly ill. Miserably ill. No, wretchedly ill with some summer bug, but this novel was enough to distract me from my woes for a little while. The novel has an intriguing synopsis, and it grows even more interesting when Perry reveals that Olivia’s father’s secretary has been pining for his attention. It was fun watching these parallel stories, and I enjoyed reading about a slightly older couple. The earnestness in that plot line was a welcome contrast to the hot-and-heavy-lost-their-minds plot line of the main couple.
The Bad: Do you remember what it was like pressing fast forward on a VHS? You would hear the high-pitched rattling of words as the world zoomed by and, if you had it set up high enough, it would skip entire scenes, racing to the end? That’s what reading this book felt like. I don’t know if this is a case of editor-took-a-hatchet-to-the-tale or if the author just wanted something short and sweet and, thus, didn’t bother with creating something dense, and emotional, and real.
Olivia and Michael’s history is simply backstory and little more than that. We don’t get to know their younger selves or have much sympathy for them. And, I didn’t really care much for their older selves either. Although they have so much history between them they are obsessed only with sex and with each other’s physical changes. This is possibly Perry’s plot contrivance (i.e. it must only be physical with them because they are both too emotionally scarred to move the plot quickly enough. So let’s turn up the heat and see what happens). But, dammit, give them a chance to make it emotional. Make the book longer. Cut out some sex scenes for some conversation. Anything. Please. I’m begging you.
It’s even worse in the Father-Secretary subplot. At one point, Lanie (the secretary) is swearing never to see Everett (the father) again. One very quick chapter-focused-on-Olivia-and-Michael later, she is on a plane back to town and back to him… Of course, she flew in thinking to meet Olivia, but when she sees him BAM!
Perry attempts to make everything work, and, honestly, there is consistently believable logic that keeps this tale firmly on the rails, but the logic feels like rationalization not romance.
The Ugly: The Cover. Oh, the cover…
We’ve all been there. We’re wandering through a bookstore, or maybe aimlessly searching suggestions, looking at random lists on Amazon.com for something to read. Happily, we traipse through booktopias convinced that we’re going to find something wonderful to read and then… We are greeted with this:
Before I begin, I feel I must point out one very simple fact:
Most authors get absolutely no input in their covers, or, if they do, it’s mostly a kind of courtesy. Publishers rule. Authors weep and hope for reprints.
Challenge accepted. Unleashing Mockery…
Stacking up even more proof that cover designers do not read the books! How could these covers both be for the same novel? One is full of tender moments and sweet good morning snuggles. The other is folded jeans, and tough-girl boots, and running from flesh-eating monsters. (I’m not the only one who sees Rick and Lori from The Walking Dead, right?) What’s worse than these two separate covers is that neither of them match anything or anyone in the books.
I actually like the covers a wee bit and wouldn’t cringe taking either of them up to the front register (with the exception of the phallic imagery in the right one…his little-man head aiming for her. ugh. *shiver*), . BUT–and this is one giant but–it makes me angry that neither of these moderately well-designed covers was created with the book in mind. This couple doesn’t snuggle. They are afraid of intimacy. There would be no early morning chat and tumble and snuggly-buggly-wuggly. And, Michael would never run headlong toward Olivia. In fact, he is dragged kicking and screaming back into her town and her life. Her father essentially has to bribe him.
This book was incredibly short. I have no idea why the designers could not be bothered with reading it. Can’t they consider reading the book part of their work?
I know some of you are hopeful and optimistic. You are thinking that romance cover designers aren’t this lazy/too busy to read the books they design for, but let me tell you. It happens. When a book is coming out, many authors get to fill out a suggestion sheet telling the designers about our covers. But we are asked: what do the character look like, where is the story set. etc. And that’s it. No follow up. No feedback. So, I can only say…
Forgive the cover artists, for they know not what they do.
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