It was a close call but last night I put my mind (and my time) to the task and completed the challenge. It would have been embarrasing to punk on my own challenge :loser:

Title: A Bridge to Love

Author: Nancy Herkness

Year published: 2003

Why did you get this book?
To be honest, I don’t know where I got it or why. I know it’s been on my TBR pile much longer than six months because of where it was located on my bookshelves. It’s signed by the author, so it’s possible it was a contest win of some sort.

Do you like the cover? I hate this question (yes Jay, I know I’m the one that made the questions. I still hate it). It’s a basic romance cover, nothing great about it.

Did you enjoy the book? Not particularly. It’s not the worst book I’ve ever read. I finished it, didn’t? It just had…issues. See below.

Was the author new to you and would you read something by this author again? Yes she was and maybe. If someone told me they’d read something by her that I just had to read. And it was someone I trusted.

Are you keeping it or passing it on? Passing it on

More in depth review with spoilers after the jump.

Anything else? There were a few things that made this book not really work for me. One, I’m a character and plot driven reader. Of course, I read for story as well, but I have to like the characters and the plot has to be well-executed and believable for me to enjoy the story. In this book, I had a very hard time connecting with the characters. The hero’s character is fairly one-dimensional until the last third of the book, when his back-story is revealed. The author falls back on the cliche of the self-made millionaire playboy who came from a very poor background and was “done wrong” in a small town. This is important because it suddenly, after one small hint in the first 2/3’s of the book, becomes the focues of the rest of the book. I’ll come back to this.

When the book starts, it’s really about the heroine, discovering, after her husband has been dead for a year, that he had been having an affair. This, of course, provides the impetous she needs to snap herself out of her mourning and go have sex with the hero. Who she’s just met. This happens a few times. She, of course, has guilt and remorse and feels like a slut and refuses to ever see the hero again. He is intrigued with her “for some reason” and pursues her, despite the fact that she’s pretty rude and cold to him. And despite–or maybe because of?–the fact that she’s not his normal type. She’s not blonde, she has children and she has a brain (I extrapolated that last one). The story is really focused around the heroine, her struggle to accept herself, her husband’s infidelity and oh…finding a job since she’s been a stay-at-home mom all these years. The hero gets to show brief glimpses of humanity through his introduction to her life, but really, he just wants to lay her.

And then we get to the last third of the book, which has a big revelation scene between the hero and his high school sweetheart. Who married his high school nemesis (of course) and we find out the hero thinks he’s had a daughter he hasn’t seen for 23 years *eyeroll* This would have had more impact on me as a reader had we been given some hints earlier in the book that this has caused the hero angst. Or that it was even a possiblity. Instead, I just know that he’s pretty flat, he’s rich and oh yeah…he likes soccer.

Here’s where I get really irritated with the book. In the last 20 pages, it suddenly becomes a romantic suspense, where the hero and heroine are involved in a car chase, shot at and then chased on foot. It’s not much of a suspense, because it’s perfectly obvious who’s behind this (the high school nemesis) but it is a major wtf moment. These last 20 pages are also about the same time the hero starts calling the heroine “darlin'” in every sentence. Often enough that I noticed and it would take me out of the story (not that I was that deep in it)

The problem with this book is that the author has several story threads that she develops both early and late in the book, but none are well-developed and the plot suffers from this. I didn’t even mention the friend of the dead husband’s who’s had a hard on for the heroine for years and apparently manipulated a few things in the sidelines on this time. Sheesh.

This book had potential, but suffered in the actual execution. The characters have some depth, mostly the heroine, but the hero is robbed of his believability by a lack of weaving his backstory into the whole book instead of dumping it all into the last part of the book. The heroine’s goal of finding a job is met–she’s going to design a bridge (she was an engineer) and it’s thought that more attention will be given to her doing this, the struggle of juggling motherhood, falling in love and rediscovering herself as someone other than a wife and mother, but that never happens. The plot would have been better served and the author could have shown her faith in the strength of her story by not suddenly turning it into a romantic suspense in the last 20 pages. All of the loose ends are tied up, so the reader isn’t left hanging, but this book doesn’t live up to it’s potential because the book and story lack the depth and richness both the characters and the story needed.

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