Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: A Simple Twist of Fate

This is the second novel in a series about the three Hanover brothers. Their father, Charlie, was a con man who died and left behind a trail of angry, cheated people. The grown brothers inherit a house from their grandmother, but the house is located in a small town where Charlie did a lot of damage. The first book, which I haven’t read, sets all this up and shows the brothers moving into the house and deciding to fix it up and stay.

A Simple Twist of Fate opens with Sophie, the housekeeper/carrier of secrets, walking in on a naked Beck, the lawyer/hater of secrets, after his shower. And that’s when I noticed that my brain wasn’t meshing with this author’s style. The conversation was interspersed with so many little body movements that I lost track of who was speaking, and it didn’t flow for me. Then another brother walked up and joined the conversation, and they were talking about how many penises Sophie had seen in her life, and it was strange. After that, I figured out that Sophie has been pretending to clean the house for a month while she searches for something important. Her aunt requested the search so she can’t tell anyone. It’s a secret! During that month, she has been lusting after Beck because he wears t-shirts that barely cover his stomach. Beck has been lusting after Sophie, too, because she wears tight jeans and looks cute when she carries a mop.

The first quarter of the book consists of people telling Beck that he should hook up with Sophie because of his lust, but Beck says he won’t because of their employer/employee relationship. People also tell Sophie to hook up with Beck, but she won’t because she’s on a mission and doesn’t want to get sucked in, or something. That was a problem for me, because Sophie and Beck didn’t interact with each other at all. I was told repeatedly that they were hot for each other, but I didn’t get a sense that they had ever hung out, joked around, or said more than two words to each other, so it was purely physical. Maybe all that chit chat happened in the first book. Basically, I got no relationship building between them.

This book spent a lot of time with other characters. Too much time, in my opinion, because it was taking away from the primary relationship. The whole history of the first book was spelled out, plus Sophie got to go to lunch with some girls, plus the oldest brother drank water and glared a lot. There was also an FBI agent popping up now and then who kept getting yelled at. And there was a mystery woman who would show up and say, “I have to talk to you!” and they would shut her down and go away. Sidenote — Don’t you hate it when characters keep saying “I have to tell you something” but they never just blurt it out? They allow themselves to be sent away without ever saying the very important thing that they need to say.

Eventually, awkwardly, Sophie and Beck decide to set aside their hesitation and have sex. Remember Sophie and Beck? Then suddenly she’s his girlfriend, and things are hunky dory, and she even tells Beck her secret! But the other brothers have issues, and then their mom shows up, and things are tragic and they separate based upon the worst misunderstanding ever until Beck’s brother talks some sense into him (another ding for having third parties solve the problem) and so Beck says nice things to Sophie and then it ends. Several plot points are left hanging because there’s another book to be written about another brother.

For fun, let me share a few things I highlighted: “Somewhere along the line he’d turned into a pre-teen girl.” “He treated her to a dramatic women-are-so-difficult exhale.” “He didn’t plunk down a stack of cash on this place to listen to them bicker like little girls.” “Running to Mom to talk about his love life? They were acting like little girls.” That’s just me being picky, but enough of the manly men stereotyping negative actions as girl-like.

I see this book as part of a saga about brothers finding their identity and dealing with the past. The romance is part of it, but not a big enough part. Basically, I was annoyed and frustrated with this book.

Rating: C



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