Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Megan Hart 'Stranger'

Can I say that I loved a book if I skipped about 80 pages in the middle. I suppose if I'm worth my salt as a reviewer I'm going to have to analyze it. I will apologize slightly for the fact that my reading choices lately have felt like catch-up with the rest of romancelandia (or the small part of it I allow myself to follow so as not to neglect my family entirely.) I apologize only because as Jessica discussed lately, it feels like I'm just following and not really adding anything new or interesting to the romance review world out there. So here I go again with the "following" thing.

I love, love, love the premise of Stranger. The heroine has decided that she doesn't want to put out the effort for a real relationship (for a lot of reasons) and so has developed the habit of paying for her dates and her sex. She has a reliable service, she's had some reliable providers from that service so why mess with a good thing. But one night she mistakes Sam for her latest 'date' and the convenience of what she's doing comes into question. If she's doing this, it doesn't just take the place of a conventional relationship, it acts in many ways to prevent her from having a conventional relationship.

I skipped the Sam chasing her part. I have to guess that there were some important moments in there since the author is definitely a character driven writer/thinker. But I came back in where they get together and with the characters' discussions of their relationship, I didn't feel like I needed to go back to fill things in. Am I a very bad, bad, reader or should I conclude that the author could tighten up the book a bit. I suppose a little of both (like on most moral dilemmas I come down in the boring middle).

I read all the rest of the book, I loved them together, I loved the author's strong actualized woman throw ins and I liked Sam a lot. Their struggle felt basically realistic and I was glad they got together in the end. :) This author can write some awesome sex and the characters really jump off the page. If I had to nitpick, I'd say the character flaws are a little simple. Interesting and thought out, but what stops this from being a work of literature (which is not usually a standard I even bring up) besides the genre rules, is slightly simplistic character flaws. Overall, awesome book if you don't mind having to hide it from your kids.

Contemporary Erotic Novel 2009: 4.5 out of 5 embalmed bodies.


Marilyn Shoemaker said...

As a reviewer myself, just you mentioning what you loved about the author or book is saying something. I felt the same way when my son and daughter were still at home or coming home from college. Working full time and balancing my husband and kids were a challenge but reading brought me peace.

You're a great reviewer, just also remember the long hours the author put into writing the book and please never be mean.

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