Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Review: The Girl Most Likely To... by Susan Donovan

Scrolling through my shelves, I wanted a light and entertaining read. With a flirty cartoonish cover that promised fun, I was hoping that Susan Donovan's contemporary romance, The Girl Most Likely To..., would fit the bill. But the cover belied the contents, leaving me a tad bit disgruntled and disappointed.

When Kat sashays back into Persuasion, WV, she intends to face the demons of her past. She ran away when she was only sixteen, newly pregnant, dumped by her boyfriend, disgusted by her abusive, nasty father, and fresh off a disillusioning confrontation with her mother. Somehow she landed on her feet, taken in by a kind and generous woman, but she's never gone back to Persuasion. Until now. Now that she's inherited a lot of money and can flaunt her life in front of the people who almost destroyed her so many years ago, she's back. But twenty years on, all is not as Kat envisioned.

Kat's old boyfriend Riley is now a doctor in town, trying to build a new and desperately needed clinic for the underserved in the area. When Kat first sees him again, he is up on a roof working hard. She is shocked by his burning anger over the fact that she hid his son's existence from him, draining away all the satisfaction that she expected to get from informing him of his paternity. But before she can figure out just what he knows and how, she finds out that her irascible bastard of a father has had a heart attack and is in the hospital. When she goes to see him there for the reckoning she knows they must have, she runs into Riley again, this time in his role as doctor.

Kat is obviously dealing with serious relationship issues, from her toxic father to her feelings of abandonment by Riley, and she wants to show everyone that she is in a much better place now. Riley, too, is dealing with serious relationship issues. He has a psychotic ex-fiancĂ©, Carrie, and is incredibly angry with Kat for denying him the chance to know his son for so many years. But even though they each carry these burdens, they are still incredibly attracted to each other and find it difficult to keep their hands to themselves.  In fact, the sex scenes are white hot.  But what drives their reunion is the tension between them, which would be understandable except for the fact that Riley dumped Kat before she left town so many years ago. This means he really has no leg to stand on as regards his anger with her. And Donovan seems to know it, throwing in over the top, kooky secondary characters to take the focus off of that contrived and artificial conflict. Kat's father has no redeeming qualities, Riley's ex is wacko in the extreme, the gossipy, blabby innkeeper where Kat is staying is frankly a little silly, and Kat and Riley's son Aidan, the chief bone of contention between them, is barely present in the novel. The ending, which throws the reader a curveball, stretches credulity rather a lot, even if Donovan tries to explain it through flashbacks to Kat's years growing up in her completely dysfunctional family. Somehow the novel manages to be both over the top and flat at the same time.  Maybe it would work better for someone who didn't take the cover as an indication of the contents but as is, it just didn't work for me.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, breaking up with someone doesn't mean you shouldn't get to know you have a kid. Unless she put him up for adoption or something, I guess. But yeah, not fluffy enough fluff.


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