Judy Christenberry – "Snowbound With Mr Right"

6 Jan


GENRE: Romance / Contemporary
PUBLISHED: Harlequin Romance, 2007 (e-book)


From eHARLEQUIN.com:
“Tempting the tycoon out of the city…just in time for Christmas! Sally Rogers’s family store is the heart and soul of the small town of Bailey, and she’s working all hours to keep her business afloat. So when city slicker Hunter Bedford arrives, determined to buy her out, Sally is furious. No way will she sell to a ruthless businessman like Hunter! Instead, with Christmas approaching, she’ll show him the warmth and spirit of Bailey. But as the snow falls thick and fast, they are trapped together and Sally begins to wonder if she’s snowbound with Mr. Right…”


There’s nothing terribly wrong with Christenberry’s Snowbound with Mr Right but there’s nothing really right with it either. For me, that is.

After the first chapter, the novel was off to a bad start: I had a lot of why-questions. But they were the wrong kind of why-questions. I didn’t ask them to know what would happen, I asked them to know how this story came about and what this story is about. In short, I wasn’t hooked and thought the premise unbelievable. The grandson of a big cooperation owner is sent to a small shop in a small town out in nowhere so that he learns about doing business there with just a gentleman agreement between the heroine’s father and the grandfather and no payment for the grandson? Okaaay. In light of the grandfather’s characterization (later) as a control freak, I thought this premise even more outlandish than after I first grasped it.

The hero and the heroine are standard romance novel characters. He’s from the big city and she’s from a small town (that’s also the main conflict of the story and between them). Assume niceness and small town morals on the heroine’s part and not-the-standard-big-city-character traits for the hero (that’s the heroine’s role, more on that later), and you’re set. There’s a lot telling and nearly no showing which makes for rather bland and weak characterizations in general. For example, a big deal is made of Hunter acting as Santa Claus (he doesn’t want to do it and only concedes after Sally agrees to assist him). When the big moment arrives, I read nearly one page about getting Hunter ready for his Santa stunt and the actual event is like this:

Sally motioned for the first child to step up to Santa’s chair, and they began.
When they had finally ended, Hunter had handled his role perfectly, but he was ready for it to be over. (p. 129)

Huh?

As I said, the main conflict of the story is between big city life and small town life. In this story, it didn’t work for me. First, how small or how big is this town? I couldn’t decide because I thought there was such a discrepancy between the projected smallness of the town (rumours are supposed to start flying just because Sally is going to eat in a restaurant with Hunter) and what is actually there (for example: two restaurants, a doctor with a small clinic, enough people to keep five people busy around the clock at the store). There’s also a character who acts more “slutty” than Sally with no mentions of rumours going round.

And second, tying in with the characterization problem, for the sake of the main conflict, Sally assumes things about Hunter, repeatedly, with no foundation at all in Hunter’s character or behaviour (except his being from a big city, see above). There are sentences like “She figured he was hoping to leave at least one broken heart when he headed back to Denver” (p. 109), said in a conversation where he admits to feeling sorry when he has to leave. Because of such sentences, I thought Sally assuming, mean, and rather narrow-minded which really goes well with her niceness, supposed that it.

Maybe Snowbound with Mr Right didn’t convince me to read another story by Christenberry because her writing style didn’t manage to pull me in (somehow too “distanced”). I also thought there’s a certain vibe to the story which irked me in some way. So I should say there are a few flaws but overall it was an okay read. But in the end, it comes down to what I wrote above: there is nothing really right either, meaning that there was nothing I liked enough to balance out (at least a few of) the flaws.


Would I recommend this novel? No

Would I read this novel again? No

Grade: 2 / 5


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