For quotes/comments as I read and others commentary: Buddy Read Perfect
700pgs. 700 PAGES
The first 30% was good, with amazing development and laying foundation down for our characters. In newer published books, that first 30% would have been edited down to around 10%. I miss layers like that. Having said that, oh my god, could a lot have been edited out. I think. Secondary characters that seemed to add depth to the story, characters, and setting, started to become skim worthy as they didn't seem to add to the main arc. There's twin sisters that add flavor and a thinking commentary storyline but towards the end, I was wondering what the point was. Adding to a lesser degree, the heroine's boyfriend Greg(?) and the storyline of a FBI agent falling in love with heroine. They add to the layers of the story but they also meander the reader from the main arc and end up disappearing with no real conclusion; I was left with "what's the point?”
This would not only satisfy your old tv show Dynasty cravings, this would fulfill 3 seasons worth. I feel like I lived three lifetimes reading this. Season One is the childhood of our heroine and hero and the development of how they came to be as adults, Season Two is the November sweeps lust, murder, kidnapping, and D-rama, and Season Three is the lies, betrayal, revelations, and happily ever after.
All this D-rama of secondary character stories, lusting, murder, and life living is told through an early '90s romance view point. I ended up not liking the hero because of his overly aggressive, I know you love me/want me so I'm going to sexually man handle you until your body forces you to admit it, a heroine who could be read Mary Sue-ish with some innocent, too sweet to be real, 26yr old virgin, wishy washy, and "Perfect", a puritanical vibe, and a overhanging view that good wives are cooking and doing laundry.
The murder mystery got a bit washed out as it was pushed to the background by the D-rama and not for my 21st century woman self, views. After I read the last sentence, I started to think about the ranting review I was going to type up, until I saw the Author's Note. Due to our heroine's childhood, she grew up illiterate until the 5th grade. As a result, she becomes a middle school teacher and after hours teaches adult women to learn how to read. Then in the note, the author talks about how harshly illiteracy affects women, which is also shown through secondary characters (heroine's grown women students) she weaves in how women are trapped in abusive relationships and poverty because of their illiteracy. She brings up a program called "Literacy. Pass. It. On.", a program funded by Coors Light and how it is working to help women gain literacy. I looked the program up and through my weak, quick research it went five years and earned 5 million dollars (looks like they were shooting for 40mil). Was this whole book, a story rife with sexism and clearly a prevailing view of its time, showing and relating to women, a cloak for a message of how women are held back and a way to help prevent that? Maybe, maybe not. It is why I love the romance genre, because there is a message here, even if its veiled, because maybe it had to be. Social commentary and women reaching out to women, hearing, acknowledging, and addressing our issues, that is what is commonly hidden behind those bare chest men covers.
Did I like the story as a whole? No, too much editing needed, main couple's relationship was not built on a believable, solid foundation, and the whole Dynasty-like D-rama. However, the sub-plot of illiteracy and its harmful effects on women and how we can help them? Sign me up every time. (Secret: The romance genre is chalk full of this and why I'm signed up a lot for these books)
The Literacy. Pass. It. On. Program is not around anymore but please considering donating whatever you can at any literacy non-profit/charity. Share the love of reading