Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86415-7
Contemporary Romance, 2015
AlTonya Washington’s Treasure My Heart is loose related to Embrace My Heart (the heroine is this one is the sister of the hero in the previous book), but it can stand alone. Heaven knows, the author tells so much in this story, it’s actually impossible not to know too little of anything here.
Minka Gerald is said to be capable and confident career woman, although she spends more time here having dinners and hanging out with friends than actually working, and the few times she has to make important decisions, she kind of screw things up. But this is a romance novel, and we can’t expect too much from our heroines, so let’s just try and live with this. She and Oliver Bauer (the brother of the woman her brother will be marrying) will spark up and hook up, and a villain from her past shows up late in the story for the obligatory dramatic denouement. That’s basically the story.
I know I will have big problems when, a few pages into the story, Minka starts narrating her family history to her grandmother. Isn’t that like a random person lecturing a cardiologist on the biology of the heart? Such a scene is no doubt for the reader’s benefit, but within the context of the story, it makes little sense. The same issue permeates the entire book. Way too often, characters will launch into speeches that are clearly designed for exposition, often dumping these speeches on people who, by right, should already be familiar with the content of the speeches. When they are not making these speeches, these characters are talking like they are new age gurus trying to sell me magic crystals. The author always has a whimsical kind of philosophy about live and love that often shows up in her stories, but here, she frames these things with conversations that do not feel real or natural. These characters sound like they are reading aloud from new age pamphlets.
Also, the author pads her story with so many boring filler scenes of the main characters, especially Minka, doing all kinds of mundane details that the story moves as slowly as a hippopotamus wading through a deep pool of mud. It’s not like these people are doing interesting things, like doing ninja tricks or having acrobatic sex – they are mostly talking about mundane everyday things like what so-and-so is wearing and whether so-and-so is coming over tomorrow for lunch. These boring people are constantly talking about boring things, and I am hard-pressed to muster any care to give.
There is hardly any character development here. Minka seems to just drift through life, sheltered from the harsh realities of life by her brother and now her new beau. Even when the villain threatens to rape and kill her, it’s pretty obvious that the big brave men in her life will come to her rescue ASAP. Oliver is basically another typical rich and boring so-called player hero in this line – he doesn’t stand out much, as he’s just another guy like all the rest.
So, boring characters, slow pacing, nothing interesting to compel me to turn the pages… Treasure My Heart gives me very few reasons to bother with it again, much less treasure it.