Painted Dreams Publishing, $2.99, ISBN 978-0-9891422-3-6
Contemporary Romance, 2013
Love Goggles is a phrase used to describe one’s blindness to criticism or objectivity when it comes to the person that one is in love with. I guess it’s a nicer way to say “bunny-boiling crazy obsession”. That’s the plot of this story, by the way, and the heroine Torianna “Tory” Michaels is the one wearing those goggles.
Tori believes that she is in love with Hil Barker, while Hil’s cousin and Tori’s friend since they were kids, Justin, is in love with her. Tori sees Justin as merely a good friend, and believes that Hil is just a misunderstood fellow that need a chance to prove to the world that he’s capable of something good. Justin, however, knows that Hil is bad news for Tori. Hil is bad news for everyone, period, because every negative adjective you can think of, he has it. Can Justin ever open Tori’s eyes to the truth about both him and Hil? Meanwhile, Hal is up to no good, and what he does can end up jeopardizing everyone’s happiness.
I can’t say that I didn’t know what I’m getting into – the title itself warns me of the nature of the plot – but I was hoping for the best when I opened this one. The problem with stories like this is that, eventually, I will start to wonder why the person wearing the love goggles is so clueless, and, later, why this person is worth the effort to get her to discard the goggles. The author could have made things better for the heroine by making Hil less of a cartoon villain and more of someone that a conceivably sane person could get attached to, but here, poor Tori just ends up being too clueless for her own good.
The romance itself is actually pretty fun to follow. Tori has a thing for strays and the downtrodden – which explains her initial taking to to Hil – but she comes off as a nice if occasionally naïve sweet person instead of someone I’d like to strangle. Justin is a nice guy who occasionally wants to end his misery by letting Tori keep Hil if that’s what she really wants, but he loves her too much to see her with that fellow. These two have a convincing bond between them that’s built on friendship, and I find myself chuckling at times with Tori as she slowly discovers that she’s falling in love with Justin.
I have no problems with the romance. I just wish the author has approached the plot in a different way, to make Hil a bit more human so that Tori’s infatuation with him would seem less like a plot device and the poor dear wouldn’t end up looking like a fool most of the time.