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Monday, August 14, 2006

To Love and to Cherish by Joan Elliott Pickart. Contemporary romance.

I'm not sure why I had this book in my TBR pile. I'm hoping it's just a matter of having recognized the name at the flea market and using it to round out my 5/$1 category romances, and not that someone recommended it.

This is an excellent example of why I decided, at two different times, and after giving it a fair shot (at least a dozen books each time), that I did not like romance novels.

Let's start with the characters. Just their names drove me nuts: Alida, pronounced ah-lie-da rather than the ah-lee-da my brain wanted to pronounce it as, so that kept pulling me out of the story to correct my pronunciation (yes, it's a weird tick I have--I recognize this); but even worse was Paul-Anthony. Now Paul-Anthony by itself isn't all that bad. But all the characters in the book had a habit of saying the name of the person they were addressing every time they spoke, and by the time we're introduced to his brothers, John-Trevor and James-Steven, and a glance at the page shows a good dozen Paul-Anthonys, John-Trevors, and James-Stevens, it got really, really irritating. It reminded me of this supercilious school counselor we met with who'd apparently read somewhere that using a kid's name made it more personal, and she prefaced every sentence she spoke to our daughter with her name, until I wanted to punch her in the face. *sigh* Okay, okay, the names were goofy and way over-used. I'm over it. (I'm really not, but I'll pretend I am.)

Then there's the plot. Alida and Paul-Anthony meet in the mist, have sex on the beach, and she refuses to tell him her name. You can see the entire plot from there, can't you? Yep, exactly. She gets pregnant and wants to keep it a secret. He stalks her until she gives in. And oh, yeah, throw in the obligatory bit about her not believing in love because she had one bad experience. It gets an extra half star because she only doesn't believe in love instead of hating all men. There's another half star because he doesn't go apeshit when he finds out about the pregnancy. The last half star is because there's a smidgen of a suspense plot regarding her work--I guessed whodunit right away, but at least it was there.

Gah. At least it was short. And thank goodness I discovered that there's much more to the romance genre than books like this one.


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