Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Book Review: Just The Way You Are

Author: Christina Dodd
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publish Date: June 2003
Rating: 4 Stars
Book Blurb: Shining with all the humor of her historical romances-but with a sassy edge that reflects the story's modern setting-Dodd's (My Favorite Bride, etc.) first foray into the contemporary arena is nothing short of a success. Separated from her siblings since her parents' death seven years earlier, Hope Prescott works as an answering service operator and dreams of getting a job that will finance her search for her family-not to mention socks without holes. While calling in for his messages, Zack Givens, a Boston CEO notorious for his cold manner, accidentally leads Hope to believe that he's his butler, and her scorn for the rich and heartless as well as her warm, caring manner encourages him to continue the charade. Upon meeting Hope in person and realizing that she has a heart of gold, Zack's focus turns possessive and sexual, and his stratagems revolve around getting her in bed and then showering her with wealth. But secrets from Hope's past and Zack's distrust conspire to ruin their happiness. Zack's poor estimation of Hope's moral strength may disturb some readers, but his bewilderment and agony when he realizes his mistake will soften hearts. Aside from one farcical side trip-when Hope is kidnapped by a crime lord-Dodd's surefooted story is lively, sexy and certain to expand her readership.

Review: This is my first book by Christina Dodd. I probably should have gone for one of her historical novels because as much as I loved the story and the characters, I kept thinking about how unrealistic parts of the story were.

I could get a handle on Zach's wanting to masquerade as his Butler Griswald when he first starts talking to Hope, but how can a business man be on the top of his game without knowing how to use a computer? It just isn't possible. The book was written in 2003, so that couldn't be used as an excuse.

The other thing that bugged me was Hope's need to save money to look for her sister. Uh, she's a computer science major! What about the internet? Why didn't she do any searching on her own? It was something that most people would have thought to do.

All that aside, Christina Dodd creates a cast of characters that you easily become attached to because they are so off the wall. There were times when I was reading this, that I felt like I was reading a Janet Evanovich novel. Aunt Ceclily felt like a cousin or wealthy sister to Grandma Mazur, and all the employees at the answering service Hope worked for were just a riot. They actually made up for the total lack of realism in the story, but hey, sometimes reality isn't much fun and this book really made me laugh at times.

Dodd also set up a good mystery with Hope's family being separate as a result of her parents supposedly committing a crime. It definitely makes you want to run out and buy the other two books in the trilogy, so you can find out if they get reunited and if all works out, clear their parents name.

All in all, this was a fun summer read.


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