Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Ah, cheesy romance novels

So, I read one last week.  I'd seen the author's name come up on the book lists numerous times so I was curious.  After the first three pages, I almost didn't pick it up again.  This past week I had been talking to my writing students about how important it is for a book to be realistic, authentic.  Well, this book wasn't!  Not at all!  But, there was a special reason that the book's story struck me.

The book is titled On Lone Star Trail by Amanda Cabot.  The story follows TJ and Gillian as their paths intersect at the Rainbow's End Resort, owned by Gillian's best friend.  At the very beginning of the story, there is a sudden rainstorm, and TJ hydroplanes on his motorcycle.  He hits a guardrail--enough to completely bend his front wheel, flips over the handle bars, and stands up with only a few bruises to show for it.  Really?  I laughed out loud.  The man was wearing a helmet and a leather jacket (good protection), but it didn't mention that he had anything other than probably jeans on his legs and boots.  My husband has ridden motorcycles for seven or eight years and is very safety conscious.  The idea that a man could flip over a railing (likely put there because there was an incline on the other side) and be okay?

I asked my husband how likely this scene could happen.  His answer?  Yes, it is possible--But, highly unlikely.

The author could simply have had TJ get a flat tire, which would have been enough to strand him and his motorcycle so that he'd need a lift from Gillian somewhere.

Reviewing books for the past ten years has taught me to pay attention to how stories are written and weather a book sounds authentic or not.  Could this story happen?  Not really.  That scene was the tip of the iceberg.  It's an idealistic romance novel.  I likely won't read a novel by this author again.  Her writing is fine.  It flows and there were just a few jumps.  The cover reminded me of a Harlequin novel.  But, there's a question I often find that I have after reading a plot line like this one.  How long after a spouse dies, is the other ready to be in a serious relationship again?  Is a year enough time?  18 months?  2 years?  I am skeptical that the time needed to grieve is realistically as short as many authors, including Amanda Cabot, paint it in their stories.  I don't know, though.  A friend of mine was engaged to a young man who passed away and it took her several years to recover.

Would I recommend this book in the Christian romance genre?  Not really.  I think there are better ones out there if that is what you're looking for.

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Revell Books.

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