By Caro Carson
I took a chance on this author because it came highly recommended by one of my favorite authors who reads Ms. Carson herself when she wants some super light reading. This is still another time I was disappointed by a favorite author’s recommendation. Yes, it was light. Boy, was it light. As far as sentence structure, vocabulary, complexity, and depth of feeling, it was on the level of maybe 5th grade. But I can’t really even say that, because the first 3 Harry Potters are 5th grade. There were some other promising signs that this might be worth reading: the publisher was a real one, Harlequin, which has published some really good books and given many a talented author their start. My library had a number of titles of Caro Carson available, she has decent ratings on Goodreads, and of course, words of praise by a beloved author. She must have some talent and a loyal following, right? Obviously, it’s me. Wow, what a disconnect.
But I finished it, so the writing was at least good enough not to make me mad. I just kept telling myself to give it a few more minutes, but by that time, I was so close to the end, that it would have been a shame to quit. And it was a very fast read because I could speed read or skip without missing a thing. The characters were cardboard; I didn’t care about them in the least; there was no humor, the prose was not entertaining, Let me count the ways.
Simply, (“spoilers” ahead! )a nice hot doctor needs a mother for his son he brought home from Afghanistan. He settles on a nursery helper who seems to have a special connection to his son, who has health problems (they both have health problems-she has allergies, his are more serious). She is poverty-stricken and plain and is treated unkindly, sometimes, by the nurses who work with her. She (finally) accepts his proposal, and the rest is just them getting together and making a real marriage of it. There is a little bit of suspense as he learns that the Afghan woman might have already been pregnant before our hero met her. So he takes a genetic test. I won’t include the result of the test, but does it really matter?
The plot summary of the book appealed to me. I like a fake-marriage story. I like a good Cinderella/makeover story. But that angle was wasted. There was no comeuppance for the mean nurses, no shock and awe over the plain little mouse becoming a cool chick. (Her makeover consisted of a new haircut and her nose stops running constantly because she can now afford allergy medicine.) But because of the simplistic writing and lack of character development, the book generated as much emotion and caring about these people in me as my paragraph summarizing the book did just now.
December 13, 2018