Friday, January 27, 2012

Review: Tempted Again by Cathie Linz

Marissa Bennett is going home. She's just been through an emotionally devastating divorce so she's headed to the small Ohio college town she once couldn't wait to leave and where she is the new YA librarian. She arrives home in the middle of one of the town's many parades, literally right in the middle. Having taken a wrong turn, she is now a part of the parade until the sheriff waves her off the route and chastizes her. Worse than the embarrassment, it turns out that the sheriff is Connor Doyle, the first boy she ever loved and to whom she gave her virginity when she was in high school and he was at the local college.

Much as Marissa would like to avoid Connor, there's no way that she can. She ends up getting an apartment next door to his and then her pet project to connect with youth at risk is combined with a similar outreach Connor has developed. The two of them fight their attraction to each other despite their enforced proximity. Connor is haunted by the demons that drove him from his law enforcement job in Chicago to this tiny bucolic Ohio town. He still has nightmares about having a child die in his arms after gang related violence in Chicago. Marissa, on the other hand, is still reeling from the death of her less than one year old marriage to a cheating husband. She signed the divorce papers on what should have been her first wedding anniversary. Neither of them feels safe committing to anything close to a relationship and yet as they work together with the kids in their program, they draw ever closer.

In addition to Marissa and Connor, there are quite a few minor characters, including Connor's loony mother and grandmother, determined to marry him off, Marissa's menopausal and emotional mother, Marissa's self-absorbed and oblivious father, her irritating sister, and assorted townsfolk. Some of the characters are colorful and add entertainment value to the book while others serve less purpose. Marissa as a character is a bit annoying. She's got the self-esteem of a field mouse. Her divorce, while the catalyst for her return home, seems to have affected her less than the family dynamics between her parents, her sister, and herself despite the fact that much of the chaos of this situation is chalked up to her mother's menopause and is supposed to be a recent development. As for Connor, he supposedly doesn't recognize Marissa when he first sees her despite noting the unusual color of her eyes. This is a woman with whom he carried on a secret relationship and with whom he worked at a pizza place for a year and he's back in her home town. Odd.

The chemistry between Marissa and Connor was a little on the light side but given how reluctant either of them are to be together, it works fine. Some of the plot threads are given very short shrift and either should have been developed more or not included even to the extent that they were. Marissa's antagonistic relationship with her sister was not well-examined (or really explained at all). And the interactions with the youth group on both Marissa and Connor's part were few and far between. Given that a situation with the kids is pivotal to the story, the kids themselves and their relationship with the adult authorities (Marissa and Connor) aren't all that well handled. The resolution to this situation is also summed up too quickly for satisfaction. Over all a light and decent modern romance, this one won't wow the socks off of you but it's not a bad effort.

1 comment:

  1. Eh, just doesn't sounds fun enough to be worth it as a light romance.


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