Smooth Talking Stranger
St. Martin Press
I have read enough of Lisa Kleypas work that I pretty much buy her books on sight now if I happen to see one in the store. She is poignant and has the ability to design three dimensional characters that seem very real.
This time I was a little disappointed. It was like reading a bad movie on the lifetime channel for women. Sure, the book was full of drama and angst, but it's just not what I am looking for in a romance book.
I was irritated when I opened the first page and found it was written in first person. I hate reading books in first person. You don't get to look at all the characters points of view, everything's one sided. It's never as fun to read the sex scenes. I usually excuse this point of view in mysteries and I decided to do my best and ignore it in this case too.
Remember, I really like this author. I want to read this book. More than anything I want to enjoy it. So I keep reading.
Ella is in a long term relationship that is safe but not really committed. She doesn't speak to family because they are just weird and it feels like she is always tryiong to be the peacemaker and fix everyone's problems. Her mother calls to tell her that her sister dropped off a baby and if she doesn't pick it up, she will be dropping it off at Social Services.
Ella's current boyfriend wants nothing to do with it and won't even let her bring it home. He is very unsupportive and it's eye opening to the reader and to all the characters around Ella, but she is oblivious. Ella takes on the child wanting to do the right thing and immediately falls in love.
Her sister is very secretive about the father and is in a mental hospital recovering from her toxic relationships. Ella. does a little detective work and comes up with a list of possible Daddies. Jack is the first guy she accuses of being the father, and it's kind of a weird place to start a romantic relationship, but the sparks are there and Ella is currently in a relationship so she denies they are there.
She goes home at some point to find she has been in an open relationship all along and she didn't know it. In the end, she has to give back the baby and she commits to
Jack. In the Epilogue, the baby goes back to Ella because her sister can't deal with him on the road during an affair with a married man.
Now, don't get me wrong, but the open relationship that she was in bothered Ella. How is she supposed to be approving of her sisters affair with her married man? Does she just shut up so she can keep the baby? Does it really matter if her sister is happy living that way when it's almost guaranteed to end painfully?
I hated this book. It did stir up emotion in me but not in a good way. I understand what the author is probably going through and possibly even getting bored with her writing. So she is pushing the envelope. It's difficult to write a romance around a baby so she had to try it. She had to try first person because she needed a change, but I don't enjoy it as much as a reader.
There were things the author thought about ahead of time, and because the main characters of the book would be having sex, she set the crib up in the living room and not in the bedroom. The characters set to have a relationship were made for each other. One is a first born and the hero is a baby or middle child with those kind of traits. It's something this author is known for paying attention to, the personality traits and I love that, but the had to go in places I didn't like. Bringing up the sexual molestation, the mother who would seduce her boyfriends, the crap no one wants to deal with wasn't necessary. I read romances to escape the traditional problems in life, not to throw my mind deeper into the trash pit of modern day civilization. The happily ever after doesn't excuse that.
So I am giving her two stars for this book.