Signet, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-451-41963-7
Contemporary Romance, 2013 (Reissue)
Beware, people: Sydney Landon’s Fall for Me is prime crack read material. It’s very easy to feel filthy in the aftermath of the whole thing, but during the whole session, it’s way too easy to experience all kinds of bliss.
Beth Denton and Nick Merimon got sleazy back in Not Planning on You, and when this story opens, Beth is pregnant. You know the rest, I’m sure. First class creepy stalker Nick turns into a first class creepy stalker daddy-to-be while Beth acts like being wanted and proposed to by a hot millionaire who is also the father of her baby is the worst fate ever to befall her. She used to be fat, you see, and after losing a hundred pounds, she’s hot and sexy although she won’t believe it even if Jesus rises from the dead to tell her so, so there you go, the drama of the entire story. Will the dumb twit ever come to her senses and open up her heart to Nick to the way she opened… everything else to him?
Yes, Beth is a whiny idiot who doesn’t do much other than to pretend that she’s Buffy being all sarcastic and funny. She and her sister are steamrollered by their mean parents – thank goodness there is Nick to save these women from their horrible parents! Beth doesn’t do much of anything other than to whine while acting like a helpless loser. Okay, she’s actually quite the loser, as the only reason she gets to work under Nick – ahem – is because her sister hired her after she lost her previous job, and Beth also doesn’t have much of any backbone or even drive. She’s like that useless parasite of a bum who happens to be related to you, and when she’s finally married a millionaire, you don’t know whether to be relieved that she’s finally moving out or to hate her for doing nothing to deserve that happy ending. Apart from putting out to the right guy, that is.
Then again, that’s assuming that Nick is the right guy, which I have my doubts about. He’s basically like every hero so far by this author: doesn’t take no for an answer, stalks like a crazy ex vying for a spot on America’s Most Wanted, and shows little indication that he respects the heroine’s wishes. It’s hard to see him as a husband material, and his sleazy ways in the previous book do him no favors. Then again, with Beth being a whiny blister in the rear end, in a twisted way she needs someone to do all the decision-making and thinking for her.
I’ve touched on the author’s weaknesses when it comes to her technique in my reviews of her previous books in this series, so I’ll just give a brief summary here. Yes, the author hasn’t improved. There are many moments when I find myself thinking, “Wait, people don’t talk like that!” I feel that the problem here is that the author hasn’t quite succeeded in creating distinct personalities for her characters. The guys all sound like the same guy, and the women are the same. Therefore, often I get this impression that I am listening to someone cracking jokes to himself and laughing hysterically over these jokes. The whole thing feels… lame, to be honest.
I also find myself pausing over a particularly awkward scene or two every other page. When it comes to awkward scenes, the author’s idea of male bonding seems limited to guys giving verbal equivalents of high five for their sexual prowess with their respective girlfriends. This makes for some scenes that feel simultaneously sleazy and awkward.
You may be wondering why I haven’t just spared everyone the pain and give this book one oogie. Well, here’s the thing: this book is absolute high grade cocaine because it touches on a fantasy that I can’t help finding to be very appealing: the hero moving mountains with his bags of money to shower the pregnant heroine with every luxury he can afford. Sure, he’s high-handed in the process, but come on. The pregnant woman is being put on a five-star pedestal. The idea of having every whim fulfilled while carrying a baby makes all the mood swings, nausea, awkward and even painful mobility issues, and other typical pregnancy woes fade in the background. It’s almost easy to believe that, once the baby arrives, Nick will help with the night feeding, hire a contingent of third world maids to clean the house so that the mother can rest as much as needed (these maids will also help massage her feet), and buy her all the ice cream she wants.
Yes, I can’t help thinking that a part of this story works very well mostly by accident, but still, it does work – it’s prime antenatal pornography in motion. This a very nice fantasy for anyone who wants to pretend, if only for a while, that pregnancy is truly a breeze and every woman should get pregnant every day, every week. Now, if the author does a similar story about breastfeeding and make it work, awkward prose and all, then I’d be really afraid.