Saturday, August 4, 2012

Review: An Engagement in Seattle by Debbie Macomber

I've decided to experiment with the "Blog this Review" feature from GoodReads, so pardon me while I toy with it. If I like it, I might start doing this with my longer, positive (3 or 4 stars and up) romance-related reviews... 
 
An Engagement in SeattleAn Engagement in Seattle by Debbie Macomber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book has two novellas in it, both published in the 1990s (with updating). "Groom Wanted" features an ambitious business woman managing the family's corporation, who enters into a "green card marriage" with the plant's star researcher so he won't be deported. "Bride Wanted" features an Alaskan good guy who comes to Washington to seek a wife, and finds a jilted teacher eager for a new start. I'm a big fan of Debbie Macomber, and these stories did not disappoint.

I loved them both as light, quick reads, but Bride Wanted worked a little better for me.

Groom Wanted was surprisingly touching (I confess it made me cry at a point or two); yes, it had a bit of cheese, but in a nice way. With another author some of the hero's "this will be a real marriage, so you will sleep with me" pressure could have gone very, very wrong (i.e. forced seduction or marital rape), but Macomber definitely didn't go there - thankfully! The premise is not really unique (immigration marriage), but not a sickeningly-common one in romance novels. Also, it's rather refreshing to see a (1) Russian hero and (2) a scientist who does actual work. The secondary characters were fairly well done, as well, considering this is a short.

Bride Wanted, my favourite of the two, was lighter and a bit more fun. I enjoyed the secondary characters, and the Alaskan angle. Also, the "small town knight in shining armour seeking companion", while not new, is adorable to me. I'm a sucker for small town heroes. The heroine was very likeable. I would have done the ending slightly differently, but overall it was a very fun read.

In terms of negatives, I have very little. The books, in my opinion, did what they were supposed to, and delivered some nice, romantic entertainment. However, I am finding myself increasingly frustrated by fade-to-black love scenes. I don't know - they worked well for me for decades, but now that more and more romance novels "go all the way," the FTB ones seem somehow anti-climactic (sorta-pun not really intended). The stories were so engaging, the characters so attractive, and the chemistry so vivid, I did find myself put out when the text went to "..." and suddenly it was the next day. Sigh. However, if you normally have no trouble with FTB (or you prefer them), this won't be a problem for you.

Very nice pair of stories from what I like to think of as "old school contemporary romance," the kind of which seem to be rather rare these days, sadly. Recommended!

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(Please note: I very rarely accept review requests. I buy and read the books I want, or I borrow them. I don't have the time to commit to reviewing, though heaven bless those bloggers who do!)

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