Sunday, February 20, 2011

Review: I'm in No Mood for Love by Rachel Gibson

Clare Wingate arrives home unexpectedly only to discover her fiance in flagrante delicto with the washing machine repairman. She doesn't have time to focus on this catastrohe because she has to act as bridesmaid to her good friend so she decides to deal with Lonny and his infidelity (and sexuality) later. But later turns out to be after an extended amount of time and drinks in the hotel bar and Clare can't remember much of the rest of her evening, knowing only that she has awakened naked in a hotel room. Worse yet, it appears she has awakened in the bed of her childhood nemesis Sebastian, now a gorgeous reporter who has chased important and dangerous stories around the globe. When she assumes that the two of them slept together, Sebastian doesn't disabuse her of the idea, thinking it's rather fun to see perfect, monied little Clare flustered.

There is a reasonable amount of friction between the two characters but there is quite a lot of time spent on each of their seperate development and growth and not nearly as much as might be expected in a romance on the actual relationship and its evolution. It is interesting that Gibson chose to make Clare a romance author who can't even command respect from her mother given her choice of subject matter despite the fact that her rather over the top prose has made Sebastian hot and bothered. The story doesn't follow the traditional arc of a romance but it also doesn't work as anything other than a romance novel and so this deviation from the conventional, instead of being a strength, ends up weakening the story and leaving the eventual resolution feel a bit rushed. It is also a tad wearying that the character who is unable to sustain the concept of "friends with benefits" is Clare, causing Sebastian to panic until he realizes that he too needs more than to stay the cliched commitment-phobic male. Romance fans will likely not be ambivalent about this one, either hating it for its tepid relationship or loving it for its ability to show major change and growth in the main characters independent of each other. Personally I'm rather wishy-washy about it, appreciating the attempt but ultimately finding that the attempt created flaws that wouldn't otherwise have been as evident.

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