Monday, February 22, 2010

Reading “truly, madly” by Heather Webber

I recently had the chance to read an advanced reader copy of Heather Webber’s “truly, madly”

This book was a delightful read. I enjoyed the characters right from the first chapter, but I enjoyed the premise even more. Lucy Valentine’s family has long been able to matchmake by use of their psychic skills to read auras, and they amassed a fortune in the process. Unfortunately, Lucy lost this power when she was fourteen due to an electric shock. Ever since then her psychic power has been to locate lost items. Hardly the talent needed to run a matchmaking business, yet that’s exactly what she has to do when her father takes an unexpected leave out of the country.

The dialogue was snappy and sassy, the romance keen, and the plot moved along quickly. Webber balanced the pacing well without bogging the story down with the different plot lines. There was a smattering of vulgar language, giving this novel a strong PG rating. The novel also dealt with sexual tension, but in a sensual, teasing way, never smutty. Think more like Castle and Moonlighting, less like Gossip Girl. Webber also had a good command of language, especially regarding humor. I found myself often studying the way she delivered punchlines.

As Lucy’s character dealt with the mysteries she tried to solve, and the ramifications of using her talent publicly, Webber stepped up the pace of the story and moved events along quickly. I will be surprised if this novel doesn’t have its movie rights optioned. It seemed made for the jump to the screen, either silver or plasma.

I have to admit that the girlish cover colors had me nervous, but I was determined to open my horizons this year and read something out of my box. I was happily surprised to find myself in love with the characters and enjoying their escapades. This is how I would like my books to affect readers. I want them to forget about their difficult lives and their hang ups and baggage while reading my stories. I’m not sure I’ll ever write great literature. I honestly don’t think it’s within me, but if I can write a book that entertains the way this one entertained me, I will consider that a great accomplishment.

There were a few downsides I encountered while reading “truly, madly”. The descriptions often felt flat and uninspired to me, as if Webber was transcribing notes instead of painting a scene. Also, the scene where Lucy damaged her feet seemed to come out of the blue. I reread the text several times and could find no reference to what caused her injuries. I just assume it happened while she ATVed through the woods without shoes on. Or I could have missed it. I imagine this hole was caught and addressed in the final release.

Overall, a good read. If you are looking for a meaningful exploration of father/daughter relationships and the dynamics of tradition and expectations upon the youth of dynasties, then this isn’t the book for you. If you are in the mood for a light hearted romance with a smattering of mystery, suspense, and adventure thrown in, this book might be just what you’re looking for. Sometimes we just want to be entertained.