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Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Book Review: Romance for the Beach

How to Walk Away
by Katherine Center
St Martins’s Press
By Jackie Atkins
Make no mistake about it, this is a Pantyhose Network book, a summertime-I’m-on-the-beach-don’t-kick-sand-in-my-face head turner. It is the hot book of the summer with a red cover, white type and a title reeking of duplicity. It will turn heads on a chair by the pool, or garner a second glance when left on a cubicle desk top. 

So much for the value of marketing. It is as close to fine literature as an QVC clothing special is to haute couture. If it weren’t for the endless chapters on hospital procedures and physical therapy methods, How to Walk Away would be a very nice read. Formula writing at its mediocre best, which is a shame because Katherine Center is a very talented scribe.
Her free flowing prose allows you to disregard the unethical story line and preposterousness of the young girl having everything (Maggie Jacobsen, defined by snagging a young up and coming fiancé and a job she is clearly unqualified to do) and loosing it all (courtesy of this man who walks on water) only to be swept away in the stoic arms of her physical therapist.
A Fairy Tale originally was defined as a story written for children. Now it is a saga, marked by seemingly unreal beauty, perfection, luck or happiness. 
This romance allows the Heroine to escape the domain of a me-sex- possessed-excessively-ambitious fiancé along with his meddlesome would be mother-in-law by clinging to a dreamboat moody Heathcliff of an aloof man with a Scottish brogue and possible Green Card problems. 
It has a happy and implausible ending. I am not here to wrap up the other plot line, which has to do with her runaway sister, except to say, this loony tale also is neatly wrapped up in a tidy package right about the time said Heroine flies to France to crash the wedding of her ex-fiancé to her ex-BFF.
When I read something like this I weep for my gender. This story line is as liberating to women and as smoking Virginia Slims.
First this modern lonesome tale of overcoming adversity is based on the old premise, “Some day my Prince will come.” True, this is a Romance but the hard cover does not mast the paper back Harlequin plot line. Worst the only thing which makes this modern is the apparent horniness of the heroine during courtship and the driving energy of her Type A, me-first fiancé to take charge. 
Although she clearly has a fear of flying (Erica Jong double entendre explained tediously in the first chapter) her doofus empathy free entitled man of her dreams insists she go with him on an evening flight even though he has no license to land in adverse conditions. And guess what happens next? Well, after he proposes, hands over his grandmother’s ring, bingo the winds pick up and he crash lands.  Right about here in real life on TV we should break for a commercial on glass smear proof dish washer pellets. Unfortunately if you are reading the book we are air lifted away to a hospital.
Where we have to scan monotonous medical procedures punctured by visits from family and Chip (yes that’s Mr. Dreamboat’s name) and Chip’s mother. Mommy is worried Chip’s has needs Maggie can no longer fulfill. She wants Maggie to call off the engagement. I this point, on cable, we would zip into a video on vaginal deodorant. In the book she throws the ring at her.
Now let’s cut to a liberated woman’s mentality, Harlequin readers. why, why, why can,t our heroine see the obvious handwriting on the wall?
The love of her life should be her lawyer. Throwing away a ring shouldn't end your relationship with Chip. It should tether him to your wheelchair pushing it with monthly checks from a structured settlement account on your winning law suit. That way he will always be a part of you and you to him and your attorney spouse, who is bound to you and your judgement payments. I know, just call me a romantic.