Hope Tarr – "It’s A Wonderfully Sexy Life"

5 Dec

GENRE: Romance / Contemporary
PUBLISHED: Harlequin Blaze, 2006

The back blurb:
“Baltimore street cop Mandy Delinski isn’t expecting any miracles this Christmas. She’s thirty, a little too round, still very single and she lives with her parents. So who could have guessed that her whole life would change before New Year’s Eve? That a simple job policing a Christmas party would find her in the arms of sexy-as-sin bartender Josh Thornton? That they would be on the bring of making love before the night ended?
That Mandy would find her perfect man in the morgue the next day?
Or that she’d be given a magical chance to go back a week, save Josh …
and have the best sex of her life. Does Christmas get any better than this?”

There are two firsts with this novel: a) it’s my first Harlequin Blaze; b) it’s my first Christmas themed novel.

What made me get this one: a) the author (liked her writing style in Vanquished very much); b) it’s a spin upon the James Stewart Movie
It’s a Wonderful Life. I was interested in how that would be handled.

The novel went off to a wonderful start. I liked the main characters and I really had the feeling that there was something between them. I expected Mandy’s discovery that she’s reliving Christmas day to be a critical point (it is a hard to believe thing). But it was okay and it didn’t pull me out of the story (much). And anyway, this transition took up just a few pages. Then the story was up to speed and went along nicely again.

After the first half of the story, the focus shifted from the romance between Mandy and Josh to Josh’s role as a protected witness and the hit man who is out to kill him. I thought this part weaker because a) I’m not much into these “thriller”-elements (romantic suspense is way down my list of reading preferences); b) (more objective perhaps) there are some things I found a bit hard to swallow about the way the threat to Josh’s life was handled. I know that sounds rather crazy after I went along with the going-back-in-time, but there it is. For example, his cover is blown and he isn’t moved to another place? Let’s just say that I had to remind myself how much I enjoyed the first part on this novel.

After the external problems are solved, there is a satisfying conclusion, mainly because Mandy had learnt some things about herself by then. And we’re back to what I enjoyed most in this story: the characters and their relationship.

Would I recommend this novel? Probably yes.

Would I read this novel again? Yes (skipping the “?”-parts).

Grade: 4 / 5


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