Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86459-1
Contemporary Romance, 2016
One oogie books are not necessarily books that are botched so much in the execution that they should have been torched early on – they are also books in which the author really tried, but the result still falls so short of expectations that I can’t not give it the stank face.
Monica Richardson’s Second Chance Seduction is a prime example of the second sort of one oogie book. It’s competently written – the writing is serviceable, although there are quite a number of moments when the dialogues feel very rehearsed and wooden. But this is the story of a divorced couple getting a second chance, and the story is doomed from the start because of the choices the author made from the get go.
Savannah Carrington wants to move to London with her daughter Chloe. This enrages her ex-husband Edward Talbot, who sees his daughter once a week but somehow acts like he’s the most involved daddy in his daughter’s life. Here’s one problem that stands out to me: Edward never behaves like a believable loving father – he says that he is, quite often, but I see in this story a man using his daughter as a pawn in his games to get the better of his ex-wife.
As for the heroine, she says that she is tired of catering to her now ex-husband’s ambitions and desires. Well, good for her… but she is going to London to basically do the same for her estranged mother, all just to try to have a relationship with that woman. In other words, Savannah isn’t having an epiphany when she plans to go to London, she’s just replacing Edward with Nyle in what seems like a perpetual bad habit of enabling asses and twats. And she’s going to disrupt her young girl’s life for this? Charming.
Both Savannah and Edward cannot compromise at all. It’s all his or her way or the highway. Fine, maybe these two can grow up a bit… hah, not a chance. Instead. the author has Savannah realizing in the end that oh, she still loves Edward and, besides, her mom sucks anyway, so back she goes to Edward.
Edward never has to learn to compromise – the wife just comes back to him, how lovely. This won’t be so bad if his antics hadn’t been troubling up to that point. He’s quite petty, he can’t accept anyone disagreeing with him without pouting and getting all “I will make you agree with me… or make you pay!” like a spoiled little boy, and he actually expects the wife to fold and come back to him by just unzipping his pants and rogering that woman into an orgasm. There is an air of selfish entitlement that does not bode well for the longevity of their second time romance.
Instead of exploring her characters’ emotional growth, the author relies on bad Hallmark-type plot devices. Family members practically force the two characters together here, all the while using vapid “advice” such as: “If she loves you, and you love her, what’s the problem?” Are our hero and heroine going to move all these family members into their home so that these family members can mend their fences the next time they argue over something? And seriously, much of the “advice” given here – “If she loves you, and you love her, what’s the problem?” – gives off the unfortunate impression that this book is written by someone who has never been through a marriage before. Now that Edward and Savannah decide that she’s in love with him again, bumpy conflicts and disagreements are supposed to just magically disappear? These two never learned to compromise or handle disagreements in a mature manner, so good luck with that love thing, really.
And the icing on the cake is that creepy daughter Chloe getting into that oh-so played out “We think she’s going to die, so now Edward and Savannah must love each other!” nonsense.
The author uses every smelly thing that sticks to the kitchen sink to convince me that her hero and her heroine will really make it work this time around, but she overlooks what really matters: emotional maturity, the ability to give and take as well as to find a middle ground, and the understanding that, in a marriage, sometimes love just isn’t enough – Mommy and Daddy need to behave like adults, and I don’t see that happening here. Instead, Daddy shows Mommy off like a brand new toy in front of his family members in the epilogue because he wants everyone to know that Mommy loves him again – barf.
Hence, Second Chance Seduction is a completely unbelievable romance story. I don’t buy the romance or anything else the author is selling here, hence it is a complete failure. Or, to put it more nicely, it’s a one-oogie effort.