The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 11, 2008

Book review: Formulaic and predictable? Yes, but romance novels have their place

Need a book where you don’t have to think or analyze what you’re reading? Need a good beach read? Romance novels are good for that. They are stories with happy endings, set in just about any time period, with or without sex and with a little mystery and intrigue or not. Yes, they are often formulaic and predictable but in this crazy, fast-paced world, sometimes that is just what is needed.

‘A Week from Sunday’

By Dorothy Garlock

Following the funeral of her father, Adrianna Moore learns he left everything to his attorney, Richard Pope. Richard has always had an eye for Adrianna and upon informing her he is the executor of the estate and therefore he has control over all her father’s wealth, he informs her she is now his and they will wed “a week from Sunday.”

Adrianna has never cared for, let alone loved Richard and is appalled by this pronouncement. She knows there is no way she would ever marry him so she makes plans to leave her Shreveport home and head to an aunt’s home in Mississippi.

On her way to Mississippi in a horrible rain storm, Adrianna is involved in a car accident in which she hits a truck, causing the truck driver, Quinn, to lose all the liquor he is transporting to his tavern and injuring the passenger, who not only bartends at the tavern, but plays the piano there.

The next thing Adrianna knows, she’s agreed to play piano in the tavern and tutor Quinn‘s younger brother while he’s recovering from his own car accident. She agrees to this as it is the only way she can pay off what she owes Quinn for the lost liquor.

Little does Adrianna know there’s more to Quinn than meets the eye.

Set in the 1930s, the prolific Garlock writes a strong novel filled with realistic conversations, emotion, love and enough suspense to keep the engrossing story moving right along. Highly recommended.

‘Wife for Hire’

By Janet Evanovich

Hank Mallone needs a bank loan. The problem is his father owns the bank and is refusing to loan Hank any money until he proves he’s changed his ways. This means proving Hank has settled down and has stopped his wild ways.

Hank believes that if he can hire someone to play his wife for six months, that’ll be enough time to prove to his father he has changed and he’ll get the loan.

Maggie Toone is looking for a quiet place to write a book based on her great aunt’s diaries, so the employment agency sends her out to meet Hank.

Neither saw the other coming. Maggie is the only applicant and Hank’s not sure she fits the bill but has no choice. Little do they know just how much they need each other.

Before Stephanie Plum, Janet Evanovich wrote romance novels. This is the latest one to be reprinted and it’s perfect for a lazy afternoon on the beach or in your own back yard.

‘The Black Sheet and the Princess’

By Donna Kauffman

As a teenager, Donovan MacLeod spent his summers at Winnimoca, a very exclusive summer camp for rich kids. Donovan never actually stayed there as he was from the wrong side of the tracks and was the kid of the town drunk, but he met two of his best friends and eyed the owner’s daughter, Kate Sutherland, nonetheless.

Fast forward 18 years. Donovan and his friends run the Unholy Trinity, a business in which they help those in need and set right the law, even if their methods aren’t always lawful. While reading the paper one day, he finds that Kate has returned to the camp and intends to refurbish it for challenged children. Kate has run into some trouble, though, and it seems only natural for Donovan to get to the bottom of the issues.

Kate and Donovan never acted on their feelings as teenagers. It doesn’t take long for the two of them to find they still feel the same about each other and they grow closer to each other while resolving Kate’s problems.

A sexy, predictable romance with enough mystery to keep the story moving.

Susan Wray is the director of the Joplin Public Library.