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August 23, 2009

Review: The Family He Wanted

2009 Finishes: Books

The Family He Wanted by Karen Sandler
Genre: Romance (category; contemporary)
Pages: 217
Rating: 6

I was going to start with some sort of explanation or excuse or something, but enh, I don't have the energy. So I read trashy romance novels sometimes. Harlequins, even. So sue me.

Aside from my apparent defensiveness about the subject in general, though, I had somewhat mixed feelings about this particular title. Generally, what I am looking for in a romance novel is:

1. Grammatically correct writing.
2. Characters who a) seem like real people and b) are either likeable or are interesting enough for me to not care that I don't like them.
3. A plot that seems at least mostly coherent.
4. A happy ending that follows believably from the plot and isn't TOO far-fetched.
Of course, numbers one through three are what I'm looking or in any novel, not just a romance. Anyway. This one was written decently, which gets it major points in my book, but the characters and the plot both seemed a little - off - in ways I'm having trouble articulating.

It was one of those stories in which the characters have just Decided, for reasons that aren't entirely clear, that they will Never Fall in Love or Never Trust a Man or whatever. So of course over the course of the book they have to realize that they were wrong, etc., etc. This plot device often bothers me, but sometimes certain books can make it work. This one didn't, really. Although now that I think about it, this was the second in a series and I didn't have the first, so it's possible that there was more character background/motivations given in that first book (in which the main characters from this book were secondary characters).

But too much of the book just seemed - random. Things happened, but the things that happened didn't necessarily seem connected. And the things that happened caused character development, but not necessarily in ways that made any sense. The male lead went from being an old friend of the female lead to wanting to help her when she showed up on his doorstep pregnant and penniless, to deciding that even though he would Never Fall in Love he should marry her to take care of her and the baby, to falling in love with her. And that's a fine progression, if it's written in a believable way. But this just - wasn't, quite.

And this is one petty little detail, but it's still bugging me: At one point, there's a secondary character who needs a transplant (kidney? I think?), and several characters are talking about getting tested for compatibility. Including the female lead. And no mention is made of the fact that she's pregnant and therefore, I assume, wouldn't really be a great candidate for transplant surgery. Sigh.

Posted by Kat at August 23, 2009 10:44 AM

The shocking waste of valuable reading time. I don't know why we do that (feel the need to defend our reading choices) but I think we all do. No matter what it is we're reading.

Coherence seems like a small thing to ask.

Posted by: Carrie K at August 24, 2009 06:35 PM
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