My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm smiling as I write this review, because this book was a Blast from the Past. I recently watched the American version of "Life on Mars," and I have started to feel more fondly about the 70s. After all, I was born in this decade, even though I still resent being teased about committing the fashion error of wearing bell-bottoms after they went out of style (I couldn't help it! My grandmother made them). I envisioned this book as a movie from the 70s, complete with the requisite 70s score playing in the background, lines delivered in the typical cadence that actors used in this period. It wasn't an unpleasant thing, since I was in the mood for something old school. Yup, this book definitely has that scent of the seventies. The hero wears velour shirts, brown slacks, and ruffled dress shirts. He smokes in public, and people say things like 'heel'. There's even a photostat of incriminating evidence mentioned. For the youngings, that was a way to make copies way before laser copy machines were around. Yes, it's dated, but I don't mind. I like to reach for the vintage romances like nobody's business. After all, just because something's old doesn't mean it's no good anymore. That's why we call them classics.
There are elements of this story that I'm glad that Diana Palmer doesn't rely on as heavily nowadays. The numerous old 'little girl' and 'child' comments are a bit grating. I really don't like the patronizing attitude that men can have towards women, especially when they are considered 'pretty young things.' I think that Carla deserves the respect due her, even if she's twenty-three. She's a very good reporter, and she is definitely a professional. Her father owns a paper back in her small town, and she knows journalism from the inside out, even if she's a newbie at her paper in the 'big city'. I liked her spunk, although I think she was a bit too vulnerable to Bryan. I admit, it's nice to read a contemporary where the heroine doesn't 'sleep around', which are not as common nowadays. At times, Bryan was hard to like, saying some pretty mean things to Carla. I realize he was guarding his heart, so I'll give him a little leeway, especially when he makes up for it. I liked that he was sensitive about being 'middle-aged,' pushing forty.
The news and city politics elements show Ms. Palmer's background in journalism. They flavor this book, perhaps a little too heavily initially, as they made it hard to get into the story initially. Politics and journalism are two things I don't have that much interest in, personally. However, it gave Carla and Bryan some depth, as professionals in this arena, who find themself completely in love with each other. With the sixteen-year age difference, the fact that Bryan is the mayor who's been implicated in a land scandal, and Carla being the reporter on the story, and the fact that Bryan's first wife made him very leery of marriage, there are plenty of obstacles in their relationship. In her usual fashion, Ms. Palmer brings Bryan very close to losing the woman he loves to get over his stubborn insistence not to show his love back to Carla. Although I think Carla was more vulnerable than he, Bryan does show enough chinks in his armor for me to be satisfied with the conclusion of this story.
This one gets four stars because it was charming, and I
Don't read this book if:
*You hate the 70s
*You hate the older man/younger woman theme
*You dislike inequalities in power between the hero and heroine
*Don't like an innocent heroine
*Don't read books that don't have a steam rating above 'warm'
*Hate politics and reporters
Read this book if:
*You like all the things I mentioned above
*Nostalgic for the 70s (boom-chicka-wa-wa)
*You are a Diana Palmer fan
*Would like a book that is sweeter or are looking for a palate cleanser from all the sexually over-descriptive and permissive storylines
View all my reviews