For your consideration, my latest column over at Romancing The Blog.
Ever been really happy to finish a book? I mean, just glad that the pain and horror was finally over? Well I'm experiencing that relief this morning. I'm done with Return To Me by Shannon McKenna!
This book brought my recent trend of tearing through books to a screeching halt. And I feel a bit like a bitch, since I normally adore McKenna's work. Short stories, novels - whatever. I still attest that she's the best dang writer that Brava's got (my meager little opinion only of course).
But man, what a misstep this story is. I mean, it's just not good. Even with some brief flashes of brilliance (more of Cora and Ellen's mother please!) it can't salvage the gawd-awful romance.
Let me elaborate.
Bad boy hero returns to tiny town that shunned him after his uncle commits suicide. But hero doesn't think it's suicide. Despite uncle being a raging alcoholic asshole, he just wouldn't blow his brains out. Enter heroine - the sickeningly sweet girl he left behind. She's loved him all her life see. Sure she's engaged to the most eligible bachelor in town (naturally an asshole), but dang if her panties don't go gooey thinking about the hero - the guy who deflowered her as a teen.
So what's wrong here, besides the obvious? The hero whines about how he's "no good" for the heroine. Disaster follows him and he will surely ruin her life. The heroine pines away and romanticizes over the boy - but frankly doesn't know dick about the man except that he's so dang hot!
It was like entering an alternate universe and discovering I was back in high school. And no, that's not a good thing.
Then there are the prejudicial townspeople.
Question. If everyone in town is small-minded and hates you, why come back? Why bother? For that matter - why stay? Why not move somewhere else?
That's me talking crazy again though.
My final grade? D+. McKenna has done much, much, much, much better work. This one is a huge disappointment.