Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86395-2
Contemporary Romance, 2015
Reyna Allen and her girlfriends take off to the Adirondacks for some R&R, mostly to help a friend get over a painful marital breakdown. Reyna is a divorcee herself, and it makes for some awkward moment when she discovers that she is attracted to Garrison Richards, a guest at the same resort… who also happens to her ex-husband’s lawyer five years ago. Garrison would really like to get up close and personal with Reyna, however, so can he melt down her defenses and impress her with the size of his subpoena?
This is a simple story, but I don’t know how well it would go down with readers who are also lawyers. The author presents lawyers that handle divorces as ruthless, amoral, and nasty low lives, and Garrison apparently has it so good when he gets down with Reyna that his orgasms compel him to change into a “better person”. Oh, I don’t know, if I were contesting money and more in court against an ex-husband, you bet I’d want a lawyer who is ruthless enough to get me everything. That’s what I’d be paying the lawyer for, after all. The author isn’t going to get me to sympathize with Reyna by telling me that, five years ago, Reyna didn’t do anything even as her ex-husband ended up free without having to pay her a cent. He was a successful actor – the fact that she didn’t even want to get a lawyer to get some money out of that asshole… if the author wants to show Reyna as some kind of oppressed victim, it’s not working. Reyna was so dumb to do nothing five years ago, and dumb is forever.
Snowy Mountain Nights is, at the end of the day, all about putting down lawyers in such a broad and often unthinking stroke that it ends up making Reyna look overwrought and stupid. Here’s the thing: if she is fundamentally against the very nature of Garrison’s job, to the point that she rails at him for doing his job for his client, why then stay with him? Why marry him? Of course, she has to marry him, as this is a romance novel after all, but then author doesn’t succeed in showing me why Reyna stays with him if his “morals” are so repulsive. I get that she finds him hot, but the fact that she can claim to love him while at the same time disliking a fundamental aspect of him makes her look like the hypocrite here.
The romance in here screams “rebound” – if such a thing can happen five years down the road after the first broken relationship – and it’s compartmentalization of love as a separate matter from one’s feelings for everything else about that person is unbelievable. The heroine being an overwrought and overemotional screechy creature makes things worse.