Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tongue in Chic, by Christina Dodd.

I have to say, neither the title of this one, nor the cover image really fit with the book. Not that that's Dodd's fault, but it seems like whoever wrote the title only read the last chapter of the book and the cover artist only wrote the title. That's neither here nor there, I suppose.

So the plot: Meadow breaks into this old house (that belonged to her grandmother's ex-husband) to steal a painting her grandmother had left for her. Of course, upon breaking in, she doesn't find the painting. Instead, she finds that the old owner had sold the house to the oh-so-gorgeous, yet grim and ruthless businessman Devlin Fitzwilliam. Well, in the process of him discovering her, she falls and bonks her head and goes out for a minute or so. When she comes to, she finds him demanding what she's doing in his house. She panics, thinking she's going to be sent to jail, and claims amnesia. Her memory is, in fact, perfectly fine, so imagine her surprise when he tells her that she's his wife.

To sort of hit fast forward through the rest of the book, it's about a mismatched pair, Meadow coming from hippies, Devlin being very ruthless focused, growing up on the wrong side of an affair in South Carolina, where it's apparently still the 1950's. Meanwhile there's a lot of intrigue over this painting. In the sense that people are willing to kill for it. I was a little skeptical about that too until the end; that part does actually make sense.

So there were some things I really liked about this one, and a few that didn't really work. Overall it was pretty good, but it's a "pick up in the library if you want" book rather than a "rush out and get it" book.

I loved her reaction when he told her she was his wife. It was such a turn around from some of the more traditional, cliche "amnesia" plot lines it was hilarious. The longer the farce went on, however, the more contrived it felt. He knew very well that she didn't have amnesia, she knew very well that she wasn't his wife. By about 2/3 of the book, it was such a stupid source of conflict it just didn't feel right. The fact that, by a certain point they're such a close couple, and she trusts him so much, and yet she won't trust him with such a stupid "secret" -especiall since she knows perfectly well she's not fooling him and never did - seemed to be at odds with her character.

I adored watching her take on the cast of characters, and I adored watching him watch her take on the other characters, especially the "old farts" And I really liked Devlin's relationship with "Four." I almost wish something more had been done with it though.

While I get that in the town these people are from, the tradition of the old days is still a big deal, I would like to note that this is not actually the 1950's, and I don't think Devlin's illegitimacy would have ostracized him quite as much as it did. One other bone of contention I had was that, while for the most part the characters were pretty well developed, there were a few moments that just didn't fit. I get that Meadow was a hippie, but the whole "dancing naked under the full moon" thing was way too much. Through the whole scene I was convinced that someone had slipped her some kind of drug. When I found out that that was just her way of being "free thinking," I had a major WTF moment.

It also bothered me that, despite the fact that she knows how much Devlin's illegitimacy has scarred him, (and Dodd specifically made this a major plot point) she still was so cavalier about having unprotected sex, even the second time after he has specifically mentioned condoms/unprotected sex.

Anyway, this story was so much about people, and not just the main characters, who are so different in so many ways falling in love and finding a life for each other. I'm usually very very skeptical about these sorts of things, but I feel that the characters worked very hard for their endings. Consequently, it's one of the few "we're polar opposites" stories whose Happy Ending I can find myself believing.

All in all, it was an entertaining, worthwhile book to read, but I don't think I would call it a must-have

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