Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Reading Where You Live

I finally forced myself to start my latest review book, Here With Me by Beverly Long, yesterday. So far, it's a pleasant read, but I found myself suspending my disbelief even before I finished the first chapter.

Now, since this is a time travel romance, one would immediately deduce that suspension of disbelief comes with the territory - but what if I told you that my straining credulity has nothing to do with the time travel aspect? Let me explain.

The heroine is noticeably pregnant (I believe the novel states 5 months) and is sitting on a deserted beach outside of Los Angeles at dusk. OK, first we need to get past the deserted beach bit. Even if it's cold and slightly miserable there's going to be at least one homeless person milling about. Anyway, the hero has just traveled through time (from 1888 Wyoming to be exact) and wakes up on the same beach feeling like something the cat coughed up. Then Pregnant Girl gets pulled into the ocean by a wave and hero rescues her.

Silly, but OK - I'll go with it. The hero is shocked to notice the heroine is pregnant. She thanks him and a conversation ensues. A conversation that feels off. Now, I know the guy just saved her life, but given that she's pregnant and almost drowned you think her first thought would be "I need to get to a doctor to make sure Junior is OK." Interestingly enough, a hospital is never mentioned (although she has no health insurance, so one wonders if she's even getting prenatal care). She casually mentions that her best friend drowned at that very beach (this ties into the first book in the series, Stay With Me) and proceeds to tell this total stranger all about her friend, how they used to be social workers together, and that a young boy they both were close to finally died after a long illness.

OK, does this ring true to anyone? Especially factoring in that we're not even out of the first chapter and the heroine lives in L.A.? Trust me, no woman with half a brain cell rambles on about her life to strange men (especially those who are slightly off given they've just traveled through time) alone on a deserted beach in L.A. Why not just wear a sandwich board saying Helpless Vulnerable Female Please Rape And Murder Me?

Granted, naive people are allowed to live anywhere - but in a city the size of L.A. you'd think the girl would have picked up a few street smarts. However by the end of the second chapter the hero (still a stranger mind you) is agreeing to pose as her "husband" because naturally she told her conservative grandmother that she's married and pregnant as opposed to pregnant, working a crappy waitressing job and single.

Which makes me wonder, would this bother me as much if I didn't live in Southern California? If I had no clue what it was like here? If I had no clue that the closer you get to the ocean the more crazy (lest we forget, desperate and homeless) people there are? So not only is this girl a few pints low sitting out on the beach, alone, at dusk - she's also nuts for talking to some strange man, having him pose as hubby and driving north to Napa Valley where they will have to share a bedroom at the family vineyard together because naturally, they're married! Yeah, he did save her life, and he does seem perfectly nice, but that's what people said about Ted Bundy.


Amie Stuart said...

I shouldn't laugh but that was funny. I think the prenatal thing would jump out at me too though regardless of where it was set, same for the talking to a strange man, not bec. I live in Cali but bec. I live between two large cities. I don't talk to strange men (outside of bars LOL)

Wendy said...

I'm further along in the book now and the heroine isn't adverse to prenatal care, since she's getting ready to see an OB/GYN. So it is a little odd that she doesn't immediately think to see a doctor after almost drowning!

Amie Stuart said...

AGreed! The average woman's first though would be about the welfare of her baby.

RandomRanter said...

It's interesting also because we are so conditioned in soaps and such that breathing to much might hurt the baby, so wehn you encounter the other side, it seems particularly un-caring. But - I live near-ish the other pond and I am a conversation in elevators kind of person and still - no - alone on the beach, thank you for rescuing me, I'll be going home now.