St Martin’s Press, $6.99, ISBN 0-312-97862-6
Contemporary Fiction, 2001
Francis Ray’s big leap to mainstream fiction isn’t as big as you’d think. She takes the path a zillion other authors have taken before. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you, The Turning Point, also known as On the Run from Mad Husband in Small Lousy Car That Breaks Down in a Perfect Small Town and Meet the Most Handsome and Perfect Guy There.
Only, of course, the hero is blind. But he too comes with all the predictable baggage.
Lilly Crawford is the heroine who, on her twelve-year old car and only $40 in her bank account, flees her powerful husband whom she is in the process of divorcing. Hubby, gnashing his teeth and easy with his fists, is of course a very important figure seen as a pillar of virtue by the rest of the world, and Lilly has no choice but to flee. Oh, she flees… right to Shreveport, where her car croaks its last.
Oh, oh, oh! So Lilly now is in dire peril. What else is new? Well, the blind hero Adam Wakefield, who lost his sight from some courageous act, is rich, he is handsome, he is perfect, but oops, his eyes. He needs a caretaker. “Me, me, me!” Lilly cries and dashes up the Wakefield manor stairs.
Adam snaps, Lilly snaps back, they make beautiful hot love, evil hubby gets crushed under our hero’s manly boots as Lilly sighs. They both live happily ever after. Hey, Adam’s rich – he’s a neurosurgeon, man. Check out the bank account. Completing the beautiful assortment of stereotypes is the usual family bitch a rich family must have, namely Adam’s sister. Lilly’s stepdaughter is pretty bad too.
The Turning Point sticks to the formula, plays by the rules, and hence becomes just another “one of those woman-on-the-run books”. Nothing special, really. So much for turning points – unless, of course, we’re talking about the author’s bank account and not a reader’s broadening reading experience.