A Case For Romance
by Melanie Schuster, contemporary (2009)
Kimani, $5.99, ISBN 978-0-373-86098-2

If you are hoping for a story that is described on the back cover of Melanie Schuster's A Case For Romance, you may end up disappointed because the actual story is considerably different from what is described there. Still, I suppose the person who wrote that blurb had to do what was necessary to sell the story, even if it meant embellishing things a little.

Ayanna Walker hadn't had sex in ten years. She spent all her time and energy raising her two nephews, and besides, like every other romance heroine, she thinks that sex is overrated anyway. In this story, Johnny Phillips, her friend's brother, decides to put the moves on her because this player has decided to mellow down and devote his attention to the right woman. And that's about it, really, for the plot. The relationship takes place under the microscopic scrutiny of happy friends and secondary characters, with those who are already paired up in previous related books show up to demonstrate how utterly perfect their married lives are.

Ayanna is a perfect character apart from her contrived need of schooling when it comes to sex. Then again, I'm certain some readers would view Ayanna's lack of sexual mojo as a virtue, so in a way, Ayanna doesn't have any flaws at all. Likewise, Johnny is the perfect guy with no discernible flaw from his bank account to his flat stomach. Even the secondary characters are creepily flawless in looks as well as personality. Ayanna's kids, boys aged fourteen and sixteen, are easily the most unnatural boys of their age. Other boys would be interested in scoring with girls and running wild, but Cameron and Alec exist only to help Johnny get with Ayanna when they are not being the most perfect and obedient teenage boys around. Is it because of something Ayanna slips into their food?

With a lack of conflict and an emphasis on flawless characters demonstrating how perfect their lives are, A Case For Romance is what people would call a cotton candy kind of read. If you are tired, the kids are being annoying, the boss could very well move to Antarctica and take a few of your obnoxious colleagues with him, and you secretly wish that the husband would just disappear for an hour or two, then yes, this book may be a great way to get away from the mundane demands of real life and enjoy vicariously the lives and loves of unrealistically perfect and happy people. But if you are looking for compelling conflict and realistic characters, this book could very well end up being as bland and dry as stale biscuits.

Rating: 67

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