Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86526-0
Contemporary Romance, 2017
A Love Like This is basically the story of a creepy, obsessed fangirl finally landing the object of her star-struck affection, and the whole town cheers her on because once the man gets into that honey pot, boy, he is never going to get out of that town ever again. A new recruit into the cult of Sapphire Shores!
Everyone that knows Hadley Monroe knows that all she has ever wanted is Hollywood action star Devon Granger. She has been obsessed for years, and now that he is coming back to the coastal North Carolina town for his yearly holiday, she is practically hyperventilating as she decides that, girl, this year, she’s going to hit that. Tap that. Switch that on. Choke that. Slam that. And so forth. And honestly, do you think any man is going to turn down the attentions of a hot woman begging for a piece of him? Therefore, there is not much conflict here, only made-believe ones by people so rich that they have to come up with weird reasons to act all wounded and blue.
For example, Hadley has always crushed on a movie star, to the point that she probably has a shrine somewhere in her house in which she has all their sexual positions drawn in goat’s blood in the middle of a pentagram on the floor. But once she’s had him, all of a sudden it’s a broken record time that makes zero sense in the context of her thirst for a movie star.
Emotions were running high – she could feel it. Lying against him like this felt so good and so right, it almost frightened her. What did it mean to be so wrapped up in a man, especially one who had an entire life waiting for him three thousand miles away?
She obsesses over him for years. Everyone who knows her knows this – her BFFs all remark on this. So why is she now acting like she has never been so “wrapped up” in a man before? She’s obsessed. For years. As said by the author herself many, many times in this story. So why is she afraid? And why is she acting like she has no inkling that he has another life in LA? Either she has amnesia after her last orgasm and now believes that she accidentally fell naked onto a movie star’s, er, happy hugs, or the author is the one who has amnesia and has to resort to using played-out Kimani tropes to pad the rest of the story.
So, Hadley is now afraid that Devon will choose groupie or sophisticated LA ho honey pot over her. Sheesh.
There is also some silly conflict about how her misguided and buffoon-y brother wants to build condominiums in Sapphire Shores and, as we all know, in romance novels, condominiums are the things of evil. No, the only right thing for Hadley to do is to instead preserve the small town charms of the place! Easy for her to say – she’s the loaded heroine (family money, of course – romance heroines are incapable of making lots of money, as we all know a penis is necessary for that to happen) who doesn’t need to live on tourist money or upgrade to a better home with better facilities. Everyone must live in “country homes” – no urbanization allowed because it’s evil! Meanwhile, our heroine will jet off to LA and mingle with the loaded people with her conscience clear because she’s like, so Al Gore and Greenpeace, as the people back home are living in “green” middle class realness under her benevolent dictate.
The coup de grace of this story, though, is when the press finds Devon in the climactic moment of the story and he blames Hadley for being the tattle tale. Hence, he cuts her off, stops taking her calls, and generally rolls around like a wounded doe because oh my god, the paparazzi takes his photos and that’s like, OH MY GOD HE CAN NEVER TRUST THAT LYING HO BAG EVER AGAIN JUST LIKE ALL THE LYING HO BAGS IN HIS PAST OH MY GOD SO MANY WHORES IN THE WORLD. Seriously, this is the conflict that the author comes up with to somehow make me sympathize with Devon? This is like Taylor Swift is traumatized because her T-squad bails on her this weekend and she has no hot boy to canoodle with in front of the camera so oh god, the world is such a wretched place. I don’t care. Devon is behaving like a brat while acting like he’s the world’s most oppressed victim and I want what the author is having too, if she thinks that this “conflict” is going to have me writhing in anxiety and praying for Devon and Hadley to get back together again. I don’t care. The whole thing is so infantile and trivial.
And worse, the resolution isn’t about Devon being dumb and growing up. No, it’s that Devon has merely accused the wrong person. The author acts like the hero is perfectly justified to act like a big baby, therefore, and the happy ending only happens because Hadley happens to be the one not leaking to the press that the most boring and bratty so-called movie star in existence happens to be getting his jollies in the most boring cult-like creepy small town ever. Maybe they will really divorce ten weeks down the road when Devon suspects that Hadley is putting up pictures of his trash on Instagram.
This story is like a messed-up take of a standard small town cult romance. The heroine is a creepy, obsessed doormat and the hero is so boring that his most memorable moment is his acting like a childish brat in the late quarter of the story. Of course, the secondary characters exist only to sell future books or be no-life creepy cheerleaders who practically surround the hero and insist that he sticks it to her now… or else. A Love Like This is more like something awful, likely foul-smelling to boot.