I LOVE Lisa Kleypas. I have raved more times than is good for me about her gorgeous, passionate, sexy books. See here. And here. And here. Also here.
Yep. I love her.
But I am oh so confused by her latest release.
Her last four releases have been contemporaries. Sugar Daddy I haven’t read. Blue Eyed Devil and Smooth Talking Stranger were both pretty good, the latter more so than the former. But they didn’t sparkle for me like her incomparable Hathaway series. They were written in first person, and she seemed to take her move into contemporary as a chance to bite off bigger issues – which I’m not entirely sure was a good idea.
The first disconcerting thing about Christmas Eve at Friday Harbour was the look of it. It’s about half the size of a typical romance novel. Something about most genre fiction, and single-title romance for sure, is that the look and feel of the book is familiar.
So this slim tome was immediately alien to me.
Then the first chapter, which sets up the premise of the book, felt like the kind of summary an author might write for herself to figure out what’s going on and what’s coming up and how everyone’s feeling about it.
It didn’t feel like a living, engaging, right-now kind of story. There was so much telling and so little showing, that I hardly cared. The hero was ordered straight from Amazon (thanks Jenny Crusie!) – blue eyes, dark hair, not handsome, but rugged and good-looking enough that it doesn’t matter.
He and his brothers are being brought back together for the first time after surviving a turbulent upbringing and the loss of a sister. Which feels like nothing more than a by-the-by, “this is my character’s backstory”.
Again, like she’s writing notes, in summary, to herself.
I can’t help but wonder whether she ran out of time. Inspiration. Talent… Nah, ok, I wouldn’t go that far, because this is Ms Lisa K we’re talking about.
But a very odd, disconcerting experience all up.
Oh, and I forgot yesterday: The blurb is completely misleading. I understand that blurb writers can’t read every book they write blurbs for (or else that would be the best job in the world!), but surely they at least get the editor to OK it before it goes to print?