Arabesque, $5.99, ISBN 1-58314-194-4
Romantic Suspense, 2001
Francine Craft, in Forever Love, writes as if she had to finish this book, dress up, and dash for the next train (in twenty minutes) at the station 1,000 miles away while her car is running on empty in the gas tank (and the gas station is closed due to some unforeseen circumstances). Hence, she will describe a glorious explosion of love in one’s heart, the feeling of relief, contentment, and wonder as you realize that you are gazing in the beautiful eyes of your one true love… Ms Craft will probably describes the whole scene as “She looked at him and fell in love.”
There is room for being concise, but not here, sister dear. This is a romance, I want some sentences that don’t just consist of a simple subject and a short predicate.
The story isn’t much to scream about either. Francesca Worth divorced her husband who cheated on her with the glee of a wolf in a sheep pen. She is now has a successful radio talk show (Midnight in Minden) but alas, she is also getting newspaper and magazine clips and cuttings from an obsessed fan. Anyway, Jonathan, a police detective, is here to protect her. Jonathan has the usual police baggage: his dear brother Kevin died, and he wasn’t there to protect him! Oh, oh, oh! Can he open his heart to Fran? Can she open her heart to him?
Even more important, why is this story written in such a stilted manner? Ms Craft doesn’t descend into the inane babbling style made into an artform by Cassie Edwards, but she comes close to sounding like Connie Mason. There are weird imageries, such as Fran imagining her life as a rose which has lost a bloom or something. Or Jon, tossing wildly in bed because he is so horny that Fran is just sleeping next door, suddenly dreams of taking reflexology classes with Kevin. No, I don’t want to figure out the significance of that dream. I don’t think I want to know.
The author spends many, many sentences describing trivial details, but when it comes to the scenes that count (emotional ones), she crams the emotional dramatics in one choppy paragraph too many times. It’s like watching a grand kiss in a romantic movie while someone is playing a Pee Wee Herman soundtrack in the back.
And for the mystery subplot, it is more of a vapidity subplot. Have I mentioned how the heroine disarm the burglar alarm systems the hero set up in her house and goes out walking and hopping in the evening alone? It’s not as if her mother called from the hospital or anything. “Oh, Jon… I don’t know,” is all she can say in her defense.
With all the annoyances in this story, bad writing techniques, missed opportunities, and more, this one just doesn’t make the cut.