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Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Flashback

From May 2002:

The Boy Next Door by Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees. Contemporary romance.

I have to say that I was immediately intrigued by this book. Very unusual in a romance to have it start out first person from the hero's point of view. So since I'm a sucker for anything unusual, I was hooked right away. And then, like you said, Annie, I always like the stories where the hero & heroine have known each other a long time. So this book is definitely going on my keepers shelf. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find an e-mail address for Josie & Emlyn, so I couldn't invite them to join us. This is a shame, because I wanted to gush.

I don't mind romances with kids in them, but I usually don't especially like them either. The kids are so often precocious, or if they're not, there's a Brady-Bunch perfection about them. Aside: That doesn't bother me---I understand that in the interests of moving the story along, keeping it about the h/h, & keeping the book within page limits, a lot of things have to be left out. Not a problem, but I don't relate to the parents of the perfect kids, either. Not true in this book, and I really appreciated & related to Mickey's concern for her son.

This book broke with tradition again by having the hero engaged to marry someone else for most of the book. Once again, it was very real. Rebecca wasn't evil--she just wasn't right for Fred. The description of Fred & Rebecca's sex life gave me goosebumps. It was sad that he'd---that they'd both---nearly settled for that for the rest of their lives (or until they divorced, which I think would have been likely).

Basically, a story of two ordinary people, settling for ordinary lives, until a chance meeting with each other from their pasts shakes things up & they take a risk on having more. The Boy Next Door has a different tone than most romances, & the style forced me to slow down, step into their world, & just enjoy it quietly for a while.

Annie, that's great that you've actually been to some of the places in the book. You're right--it does help you connect with them. I've been a lot of places, but not places that end up in books, or at least not often. That's one of the reasons I like Elizabeth Peters' Vicki Bliss books so much---Vicki works in a museum in Munich. And there was a Harlequin series set near San Antonio, but that one had the opposite effect, after one of the books had a late May blizzard. Here. We don't have snow in winter, let alone May.

I wondered about the bull, too. Mickey got away without consequences. Fred ended up grounded for a month or so. So I'm guessing Fred's parents paid for the bull?

Eddie & Rebecca? I don't know. I didn't get enough of a sense of Eddie to tell. I know Fred had the feeling earlier in the book that Rebecca didn't like Eddie, but of course that's often because she really does. At least in books & movies.

And Fred, Mickey, & Joe? Of course they live HEA. You've just got to take that one on faith. Just one more way this book was different---it didn't end with a wedding, a proposal, or a pregnancy. Although I'm quite sure all those things happened.
You can read the entire thread here.

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Very interesting! I'm intrigued!
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