Friday, January 18, 2008

Okay, I'll Say It...Awwwww

I just read the cutest book, y'all. A Harlequin Super Romance, A Perfect Stranger, by Terry McLaughlin. I shouldn't have liked it.

First off, the heroine, Sydney, is a teacher who is chaperoning a group of high-schoolers on a European trip. Herding teenagers through museums is SO romantic, don't you think? The hero, Nick, has come along with a different set of kids, helping his teacher brother. He writes pulpy detective stories, and knows his way around France.

McLaughlin handles the requisite kid scenes pretty well, the teens alternately excited and bored and getting caught trying to sneak out at night. The other adults shove Nick and Sydney out for dates, bravely minding the children by themselves. That kind of convenience has always bugged me a little bit; but it's worse when a heroine Mother of the Century suddenly leaves her kid with a neighbor for tea and crumpets with a guy she isn't even sure she likes.


Plus, Sydney is sort of engaged to a nice guy back home. He isn't a jerk, he's not a stiff, he's just...wrong. He has his own fling with a girl from the wrong side of the tracks while Sydney's in Europe, and that sort of thing usually turns me off completely. I'm into monogomy. But this wrong-track girl is really cute and sweet can probably see where this is going.

And finally, the trip is set exclusively in Paris. I know Paris is supposed to be the most romantic city in the world, and it may be. I've never had the opportunity to go. But the lands that capture my imagination tend to be of the Scottish Highland variety- Paris has never made my heart go pitty-pat. With all these nit-picky things, I shouldn't have liked this book, right?

Except for stuff like this: "And yet, she'd wanted this- this memory, this moment in Montmartre. She'd wanted to blend with the lovers surrounding them on the steps of Sacre-Coeur, to step into this impressionist canvas of Paris on a summer evening, to be part of the beauty and the romance. A kiss from a handsome, mysterious man would make it all perfect. Perfect. His lips brushed softly, so softly against hers, once, twice, seeking permission for more, and then she floated into the scene and pressed against him, sliding into his arms, sinking into this fantasy of a romance, kissing a rogue from a storybook, taking her chance at a perfect moment to treasure forever. "

The most cynical, jaded beyotch in the world would swoon at that. McLaughlin has several moments like that in the book, and I appreciated that she might not have all the details I'd like, but she knew what made me tick. This guy is absolutely right-

The chicks LOVE that romantic crap.


StarvingWriteNow said...

Go donkey!! (I loved Shrek!)

I've been to Paris. It has its romantic spots, and the views from the Sacre Coeur are spectacular (if you haven't succumbed to heart failure after climbing all those steps, that is...). But it is crowded, noisy, people have no sense of "personal space", and all the Metro stations smell like urine. I even saw a guy taking a piss in one such station. Kiiinnd of a turn off, if you see what I mean.

Yes, the Scottish Highlands seem way more romantic... mmm... men in kilts...

Bernita said...

That is a very nice passage you quoted.

Missie said...

When we take our whirlwind tour of Europe (that you are totally springing for with all that money you are going to make on the sale of your first novel) (and without husbands or kids), we will compare Paris to Scotland for ourselves.

Robyn said...

See, Beth, that is the vision of Paris I've always had, so romantic? Not so much.

Isn't it divine, Bernita? Swoon!

Darn straight, Missie.