Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Wrong Way To Write a Romance

Next, next, next.  One you haven't heard of, since it's a brand new book from a first-time author.   I heard of it on Lauren Willig's website (where else? I guess Austenprose :)) and she pretty much raved about it.  Beatriz Williams's Overseas, a time travel romance.  Time travel I can take or leave (I do like Outlander of course) but romance I can always take... at least if it's romance in my style.  Question is, was this? We'll get there.  Meanwhile, all signs pointed positively, since there definitely wasn't much else in this book besides the romance (a little mystery, but it didn't look too overwhelming).  And, you know, rave reviews... certainly worth a shot.

So at the start, it was all very promising.  Heroine is fairly successful and very pretty nice girl, hero is billionaire hedge fund manager who is also gorgeouso.  And he woos our heroine with every luxury we can think of, and with every gesture of romance too.  OMG... who even wants that?! I mean come on, he loves her right away, he tells her he loves her right away, and she loves him right back! How boring can you get? Quite boring I will tell you.  On and on about his dedication and love/obsession with her and we're supposed to be enjoying it.  But I tell you, I was NOT.  I just get absolutely nothing out of hearing his speeches and watching his oh-so-sweet overprotective behavior.  Yes, yes, yes we get it, you love her, now finish this up already.

I mean, there is a point to the story of course - this is a time travel tale, and it switches back and forth between some "future" time back in the past and the present (2008) and we have to resolve how we get from one to the other and what happens at the end.  I found the ending somewhat interesting, if more than a bit of a cop out.  It's kind of funny actually, since the whole time we're all worried about this big cataclysmic danger that turns out to be mostly a storm in a teapot.  But anyway, who cares? Like I said, I can take or leave time travel.  The big disappointment here was the total, complete UTTER lack of what  I consider good romance.  Are there really people who enjoy such drivel? I guess there are... (and I'm sure there are *plenty* who would say the same about the drivel I enjoy :)) But what I'm almost reminded of is the Mark Helprin book I read last summer that I hated so much.  Both just kind of revel in whatever they're talking about without really caring too much about advancing a plot.  Of course, a plot advances, but the extraneities are too excessive to be considered anything but the main point of the book.  And as the main point, seriously, if I wanted to read about great love, I'd read Shakespeare's sonnets or something.  Not someone's overblown ideas about what constitutes ideal romantic devotion.

So altogether, thoroughly, thoroughly disappointing.  Somewhat surprising, given that I'm all for romance with not much else getting in the way.  But I guess there's a wrong way to do everything.

Verdict: 2/5

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