Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86387-7
Contemporary Romance, 2015
All of Me, huh? It takes guts to title a book so soon after that song by John Legend, which just refuses to die even now. Fortunately, there is an element of slow burn romanticism in this story to make the story seem less like a wannabe.
Karen Morris is currently not looking for a boyfriend or even a fling after having some bad experiences with an ex who couldn’t keep it in his pants. She goes on a cruise to the Caribbean and, sure enough, meets Damian Bradshaw, who in turn is egged by his friends to find someone to have a fling with. Damian has been celibate since the death of his wife a while back, and now his friends are pestering him to sleep with anyone but Karen, who apparently wears a sign on her that only men could see, a sign that says, “Enter here and be married to me forever!” Damian, however, finds that Karen is the only woman on the cruise that intrigues him. He is thinking of wooing a girl back home, however. So what now?
All of Me is focused on the building up of the relationship, and it’s a pretty decent read. No one does anything particularly dumb here, and the romantic moments have their charms. There is nothing too memorable about them or their actions, I’m afraid, as they are pretty much standard where the romance formula is concerned: the same over-analysis, the same insecurities, the same “I just want us to be friends!” drama, et cetera. Still, everything comes together pretty okay.
The author doesn’t seem to trust her romance being able to convince anyone by itself, however, as she also introduces so many people insisting that Karen and Damian are meant to be. Given how little they know about Damian or Karen, they come off more like the author’s mouthpieces blasting into my ears about her characters’ true love rather than believable secondary characters in their own right. Also, Damian’s friends can be quite juvenile in their talk about hooking up. Yes, guys may trash talk about women and sex all the time, but there is something about these guys’ conversations that feel artificial and forced.
At any rate, All of Me, is a decent read that has its moments, but at the same time, it doesn’t rock the boat or shake things up much. It’s not telling any story that hasn’t been told by many other books in this line in the past.