By Susan Mallery
This was a good concept for a moving, funny, romantic novel. Two half-siblings from very diverse backgrounds (one is a convicted felon) come to live with another very wealthy and successful half-sibling. One is an old for her years 12-year-old. Unfortunately, it fell short in the writing department. Mallery falls into the habit that I have noticed in some competent but uninspired writers which is to spell. out. every. single. thing. about inconsequential parts of the story. Like she is getting paid by the word.
Delaney noticed that several of the booths around them were empty and realized it was much later than she’d thought. Malcolm had long since paid the bill and they were on their second cup of decaf. “This has been great,” she said with a smile. “Thank you for asking me out to dinner.” “Thank you for taking care of Keira.” They both stood and walked out front. “How are you getting home?” he asked. “Uber.” Because no one drove in the city if they didn’t have to. “Me, too. Want to share?” “Sure.” He opened the app on his phone and entered her address, then requested the car. “Three minutes,” he said, sounding unhappy. “Sometimes they’re too efficient.”
At which point he grabs her for a kiss. No build-up or chemistry. It might be OK if it were a scene from a movie, but not in explained in words.
The writing seems geared for juvenile readers, except for the bordering on crude sex scenes that seem discordant with the tone of the book as a whole. The author writes like she is a bored and uninterested transcriber typing out what happens in her story and with her characters. For the first third or so of the book, the plot was interesting, and the characters promising enough that I kept reading. It moves along pretty well, and I love a good fish out of water story. But I became as disengaged as the author seemed to be and so had to skim over the rest of it. I am amazed at the great reviews. She is not a horrible writer but her narrative voice has no personality. In this one, I felt like she was on autopilot.
March 11, 2019