ISBN: 978 1 742 55018 3 (June 2010)
The warning signs were there. American author. Skanky cover. Still, it had favourable reviews on Amazon UK and the story line Greek billionaire falls for reclusive pianist promised so much. What went wrong?
In a society that has pathologised the character trait of shyness, Monroe probably thought that she was been brave when she compounded her heroine’s affliction with agoraphobia and sociophobia. Of course being American it stems from childhood trauma. Sensitively handled? Hardly. Here is an exchange between the hero and his business partner in front of the heroine:
“Neo crossed his arms and frowned at Zephyr. ‘I don’t think you’ve got better things to do than stand around gossiping, partner.’
‘Are you going to try and deny you’ve already got a recovery plan in the works for Miss Baker and her agoraphobia?’ he asked instead of taking the hint.
‘My research has not reached that point yet.’
Cass’s heart pounded in her chest. That ‘yet’ was ominous.” (pp.91-92).
Ominous is right. For after one month of hypnotherapy Cass is cured of her agoraphobia.
Monroe does not know what to do with this character or how to advance the story. Often in the MB storyline, the second act is the hero isolating the heroine. Here the character is already isolated so to meet the 55 000 word count we have to endure a thirty-odd page (pp44-79) exchange on the heroine’s home security or lack thereof. In a country where the ability to bear arms is a constitutional right and a collection of deadbolt locks is mandatory perhaps we are suppose to interpret this as a romantic gesture (?)
Monroe does not convey an intimacy with the piano and as such we are hardly convinced that Cassandra is a renowned pianist. We are informed that Cassandra is a top-selling ‘New Age’ Artist. Which is what? Enya without the vocal (p.166) The most offensive part is Neo (who can barely managed the basic chords) slapping down his black Amex to acquire Steinway baby grand. American capitalism at its best.
Wait, we stand corrected. The most odious section is Neo discussing with Zephyr the potential loss of Cass’s virginity (pp.127-131).
It is a pity that in rattling off their combine language skills (Mandarin, Greek, Japanese and Spanish) little time was spent on their mastery of the English language as their conversations lack sexual frisson. At times the writing is puerile. Example ‘He’d broken her brain’ (p50). What does this mean? Is it an American expression?And this ‘she wasn’t really sure how their lips met, but meet they did and it was the most profound kiss in the history of kisses.; (p.185) Cue the dry retching.
As we made the exerted effort to skim the rest of this book (the remaining two thirds) all that we had in mind was the chorus of Ke$ha’s Blah Blah Blah.
We wouldn’t mind seeing this storyline recycled by another author with more finesse and wit. This was not a single session read…it was painful (waste of time). It is a tragedy that trees (recycled plantation or not) died for this.