Today I finished reading Marianna Jameson's debut novel "My Hero". At least I think I read somewhere that she's a new author. Anyway, regardless of whether it's a first book or not, it is really, really Good!
Some Spoilers ahead - stop reading unless you've already read the book in the first place.
Let me start by saying I've read so many romance novels that the same old theme - gal meets guy, instant sexual combustion, misunderstanding and then happily-ever-after - doesn't enchant or impress me as much as it once did. Probably 'cause I grew up and discovered my own ice cream of (it's summer - not almost, but actual sweaty and hot summer down here in the South, & I'm melting - of course I've got cool, sweet things on my mind!) happily-ever-after came with a huge and largely unwanted topping of compromise and other stuff...well, that's food for blog some other day.
Anyway, this novel isn't that different in the general theme. Where it differs, is in the *execution*. I'm not an author or an editor or some such so I don't know if that's the techy term for it, but I'm going to call it execution. The heroine of the story Miranda is a romance author (shades of the author's own personal experience?) who has some trauma in her past that makes her (not immune but) resistant to the abundant and teasing charms of sexy cop Chas Casey (I sometimes hate alliteration - I keep thinking of him as Cas Casey!). He's supremely confident of bedding her - after all she's a romance author, one who writes hot love scenes besides! But no such thing. She turns tables on him after some time and is happy with a fleeting affair while he's the one suddenly longing for a white picket fence....er, not exactly, but close.
The reason why is kept a secret until three fourths of the novel is done and this kept my interest in it quite keen. Even after it's revealed, what's going to be done about it keeps the interest going. Cas.... darn it! CHas also has to weigh the burden of family expectations against that of a deep compulsion, the same one which made him a cop. Misunderstanding is just waiting around the corner, but it loses its way and the whole thing sort of fizzles out. But their personal relationship goes way off course and the essential question of whether these two make it together, is kept a suspense till the end (yes, despite knowing that this is a romance novel and hence a happily-ever-after *will* be how it ends).
After the story was over, and I was reflecting back on how much I enjoyed it and how it's tied up all neat and tight at the end, than questions started popping up like popcorn (movies, Tom Cruise, Batman...anyone?) in my mind. Why did Jane (secondary character who runs a paintball gallery - most unique occupation of any secondary character I've come across till now) go off with an older man, and why is her sister Paxton still upset over it after all these years? Why did Paxton's grandmother help put Miranda through Smith? Did they ever catch the hackers? And what of the alligator-infested encounter Joe has with that feisty female executive in the swamp? Etc, etc, etc. Hmm...Hope these are not just loose ends but tantalizing precursors to more novels by this new and talented author. Hope to read from her. And hope her editor isn't as ballsy as poor Miranda's! Oh, oh, one more q popped up - what did Miranda write for her second book, the one that the same ballsy editor loved with such ease?! Which reminds me - I'm extremely curious about that tapioca pudding love scene that was never quite elaborated on. Marianna, if by some X-files like phenomena (aka search engine) you're reading this, please PLEASE send the scene to me ;-)
Conclusion of all this rambling : Small things apart, this book is sort of like old wine in new bottle, and it tastes fantastic just the same! 4.5 Stars (-0.5 for the unanswered qs)