In an ideal world, that quote would be all you needed to make a decision on if you truly wanted to read something of this nature. Sadly it’s not an ideal world and I have a little bit more to say on the matter…
First of all, this is not my usual reading material but as my good friend Kirsty purchased it for me as a ‘humourous’ christmas present, I, naturally out of sheer politeness decided to make the time and immerse myself into what could be a hitherto undiscovered genre of fantastic literature for me to explore.
Mills and Boon have been knocking about since 1908 and are written for ladies of a certain age, who want escapist fiction to brighten their day. I suspect Kirsty bought the book for me just to wind me up, unless I really give off that bored middle aged woman vibe.
The cover shows the Sydney skyline and a man who seems to have a nasty itch on his neck. Also there is the offer (bribe to buy the book) of a chance to win £5,000. The about the author bit tells us the author likes to create “stories that are believable, modern, fast paced and sexy” her interests include gambling amongst others.
So, to the star-crossed lovers of this emotional epic that may possibly scar (or scare if you will) the innocent peruser deeply for life:
Ryan Armstrong is an ex goalkeeper, who has played for some of Europe’s finest teams (although they aren’t mentioned as that would be research), turned business man who has been out with many ladies, but has never two timed them, which of course makes him attractive to the female readers as a ‘bad boy’ with a heart. But as he always dumps a woman before shacking up with another he is somehow portrayed as a man with morals. That’s about it for his character.
Laura Ferrugia is a lawyer, whom having been hurt in two previous relationships has decided to not get hurt by another man EVER. She is a high flying lawyer and seen as a ‘bit of a challenge’. She is the strong, independant type of woman who presumably the ladies can relate too, although that is pushing it a bit.
That’s it for characters, no sense in making them believable, but for the sake of balancing out the review I’ll lie and add: the two protagonists have lots of depth to their characters and fantastically deep back stories, how can we fail to be drawn into their lives and feel like we are vicariously living through them?
So to the complex plot… when Laura’s gran is assumed to be dying she says she is going out with Ryan to make her happy on her deathbed. The rest of the family doesn’t get on with Laura, important plot point that. Gran gets better, so the family disbelieving she actually goes out with the most-famous-ever man Ryan invite her and Ry to a bit of a do. There is then the bit where Laura asks Ryan if he’ll play along. They talk concede they aren’t as bad as they thought each other. There’s a bit of will-they won’t-they go (to add tenseness) but they do to further the plot. but the family still don’t believe they are together so she then gets him to act as a proper loving couple. Hackneyed plot then overall, like any one of a thousand straight to DVD romantic comedies.
Laura this strong woman is in reality really shallow and dull. *SPOILER ALERT* Ignoring her valued morals and beliefs, she does a U-turn that would make the Tory party proud and decides she wants Ryan afterall. Then whinges a lot that she should never have got into this situatoin(her own fault) when he reciprocates an interest back, and then SEEMS TO DO HER BEST NOT TO ACT THE PART even though her fave family member gran is supposed to be taken in by the facade of happiness and that was the whole point of doing it in the first place. Fickle is nowhere near what this woman is.
It’s just hack writing, the sort that you may have noticed gets me angry. Lee likes to create stories that are “believable, modern fast paced and sexy” I had to repeat that for sheer disbelief. There are many lines that prove this, the characters dropping clichés all over the place, Ryan’s internal monologue referring to Laura “Afterall it wasn’t healthy for her to continue living without a man in her life” and the mention of the ‘highly seductive experience of riding along in a convertible’, the oddly phrased and/or poorly researched sports terminology 19th hole is the golf club, premier league english club, etc.
The two phrases that made me cringe the most were “hard metal” surely heavy metal and “sexy Y-fronts”, I randomly polled 14 random lady friends on Facebook to see what the consensus on this was nine answered eight said no and one said depends who is wearing them. So a resounding no then.
Stranger still is this sentence about Laura’s dad “carmelo ferrugia had been a lawyer, A refugee from Columbia whose first wife and children had been murdered by some very bad people” Some very bad people. seriously? That’s it? Was the internet not working to research it that day? Was the guy corrupt? is the family living off drug money? This is the story I want, at least some mystery about Laura, she could be anyone and all you want is tell me of is this weak predicament. I want to know about her dads flight from the Columbia with a ton of cocaine and a suitcase of money and the bribes to get australian citizenship and how he corrupted his daughter into the world of being a dodgy lawyers or being a mob king pin. That is the real story here, not the farce we are ‘treated too’.
There followed a least a weeks intermission before I could get around to the sex, I assume this is usually a relief after the dross of the build up. It doesn’t get any better. In fact if you are curious to know how cringeworthy it is, take it from me don’t attempt to find out. I have erased it from my mind, you may think that is a cop out but really it’s best for us all if we just walk away from the whole sorry affair.
The demographic this book is aimed at is hard to tell. I assumed middle age woman wanting to enjoy a fantasy but having laboriously read it, I don’t think I could look these people in the eye. the use of the word ‘bling’ seems out of place, especially when later Ryan uses the word ‘rotter’. It seems like an amalgamation of fast paced modern life, with the 1920’s sensibilities. It would be hard to pull off if Lee was a talented writer. Presumably they aren’t hoping to break into the kids market just yet but with the style of writing it’d probably sell if Fifty Shades is anything to go by. Perhaps they could term it laughable literature.