Kimani, $5.99, ISBN 978-0-373-86006-7
Contemporary Romance, 2007
Deborah Fletcher Mello’s In the Light of Love brings up a rather interesting issue. The main characters are such wonderful people that, were they real, would make great real life friends. However, that doesn’t mean that they make interesting main characters in a story, especially when the whole thing is written in such a manner that seems devoid of urgency or direction. In other words, it is too easy to put down and forget this book.
Talisa London and Dr Jericho Becton certainly cannot be faulted as terrible people. He volunteers his services as a doctor to those in need in war torn Uganda while she too is a volunteer there, having helped lead her college’s medical outreach ministry there. But they have already met before, when she finds herself admitted into Atlanta’s Northside Hospital for a ruptured appendix and Dr Jericho is there to offer some bedside care. They will proceed to fall in love even as they interact with an ensemble cast in all kinds of situation.
I have no problems with the characters but I do find their story too easy to put down and forget. They are pleasant and likable characters and truly, there is nothing really annoying about them or the story. However, Ms Mello offers a story here that is akin to a day-to-day accounting in the lives of these people as they go about doing their things. That’s fine, but where is the urgency? The story doesn’t seem to be building up towards an interesting climax. There are no long-standing or overreaching story arc that can be considered a long-term conflict that our main characters have to confront. Instead, Talisa and Jericho seem to encounter all those daily issues, big or small, that come their way. It’s like real life, really. The problem with this is that it’s too much like an ordinary kind of real life, albeit a romanticized one without all the more annoying real life issues like money problems, cellulite, and all. I don’t get this urge to keep turning the pages to find out what happens to Talisa and Jericho.
I’m not saying that all books need to have larger-than-life big explosions and chandelier monkey passion, of course. But in In the Light of Love, the sense of conflict or urgency is missing. It’s pretty clear from the start that the characters are alright, they will be fine, and everything will always be fine. Therefore, when the story seems to meander around into situations that only reaffirm the sheer perfection of the main characters, this book becomes not very interesting as a result. The characters are perfect and the storyline lacks any major conflict that genuinely threatens their relationship. Yes, if only our lives are as wonderful as theirs, but unfortunately, too much of a wonderful thing can result in a far from interesting story.