Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sense Intrudes on a Lovely Fantasy

Did a bit of speed reading, so on to the second review of the weekend - finished last night actually, but my laptop was unavailable (knew it was essential to bring along :))  Anyway, review #2 goes to yet another Christian romance... I do seem to spend altogether too much time reading those, so I'm deeply sorry.  This one has the glorious title Anna Finch and the Hired Gun (by Kathleen Ybarbo) and apparently is such a Christian romance that Shifra Z. could tell what it was by looking at it... or was that Peryl? not sure, but either way... love that title, don't you? :) 

So I got it out because it was by the author of The Confidential Life of Ms. Eugenia Cooper, which turned out to be up there with Robin Hatcher in being an extremely readable Christian romance and I thought the author seemed promising.  As it turned out (should've guessed) this book is actually a sequel to the first one.  Which is always a little annoying with these kinds of books because 1) I kind of forgot the first book and then I feel like I'm missing some details - that wasn't a huge deal b/c most e/t is covered in this book and, more importantly, 2) the first heroine is obviously the favorite, and obviously the cool one so she's the prettiest and she marries the best guy... oh well :)

Anna Finch is pretty and her guy isn't bad either, so the book wasn't too bad on that front.  The writing wasn't bad, I mean we're talking pretty low standards here, but I didn't close the book in agony, so great going :) There was a lot of scenes between the two characters, and a lot from the guy's POV, so that aspect of chic lit romance was well covered.  Despite these promising signs, I can't give the book all the stars it might have had otherwise for a few reasons. 

1) I know I'm not usually the only to complain about this, but *plausibility*!!! a) Anna Finch is a society girl who decides to become a reporter.   She approaches the legendary Wyatt Earp at a chance meeting and he gives her his life story which she proceeds to publish no problem in the Denver Times, who then gives her a column, lickety split.  And then none other than Doc Holliday himself gives her an exclusive interview... you know plot has never been s/t I pay much attention to, but when the twisting is this blatant, I'm kind of forced to stop and say... this makes no sense! (of course, I'm also the one who got annoyed watching Finding Nemo last night (yes, we did :)) because fish don't have fatherly feelings toward their offspring... so maybe only certain types of implausibility bother me?
Anyway, in my book the even worse plausibility error was b) why her father hired a Pinkerton to look after her in the first place?! I mean as it turns out, she careens all over the state on her own, so she could use a bodyguard, but her father doesn't know about that and I *really* don't see how a bodyguard will help her get married... sorry, just don't.  I know it's fun though :) and I guess I'm wrong, I don't mind this inexplicable plot device nearly as much as the first, since it kind of makes the story ;)

2) So what was my second complaint? Oh yeah, the romance was just not that good - they kind of fall in together without much tension or back and forth or anything... I mean it's not like they get together in the beginning of the book, which would of course ruin everything... but it's almost like the romance takes a back seat to the rest of the story and even though they gradually become closer we don't see much of it or get to enjoy it (this is not strictly true, it's not that we don't see it happening, there's just no angst involved.  And you know what I say, angst=romance ;)) Well here it might be a case of bad writing interfering with the plot, because I think the book was entirely too abrupt, kind of skipping from scene to scene without time to revel in the good ones.  That contributed a lot I think to the feeling that there wasn't really much development.

So after all that, it was a *decent* romance,  and I did finish it.  And I'd read more of her books, because yes, my standards are that low :) So I can't really complain....

Verdict:going to do this the way I did Robin Lee Hatcher - for a Christian romance, 3.5/5  in general, 2.5/5 (that's on the low end, but 3 seems too high... 2.75/5)
Food: Well this was a food that doesn't even get that good at it's best, but this wasn't even at it's best.  Keeping with the bakery cake theme of Robin Lee Hatcher, this was like sheet cake.  Got all the ingredients, to my unrefined taste buds it's totally edible, but come on, it ain't Mama's Death by Chocolate chocolate cake :)

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