Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

REVIEW: In the Groove by Pamela Britton

Dear Ms. Britton:

In the GrooveHere’s some advice. Put this up on your website, rally your author friends, decry the reviewer’s writing credentials (I have none), and your sales numbers will rise. That is the lemonade of out this lemon.

The heroine in this story is so frustrating that I wished I could reach through the pages ala Jasper Fforde’s books and slap her upside the head. I read somewhere that you keep the bedroom door shut to appeal to your growing youth readership. Let me tell you that even 15 years old appreciate a smart, savvy heroine.

Sarah Tingle is down on her luck. She’s been hired to drive the crew bus for Lance Cooper. Lance Cooper has also hit a rough patch. He hasn’t won a race in over a year. Sarah bakes cookies for Lance’s crew, gives him a respite from the Nascar pressure and fans and helps Lance break through his driving slump. Unfortunately, the course to love is bumpy because Sara can’t let go of her #$*&(#$ insecurities and emotional immaturity to let Lance love her.

To say that I disliked Sara would be like saying that the sun is hot at the equator. Understatement to the nth degree. She says Good Golly. :( I think i am predisposed to disliking anyone who says Good Golly unless they are under the age of 12. She doesn’t know what Lance looks like. She knows nothing about Nascar. (It doesn’t make any sense to google this guy to find out something about him or try to get to know something about Nascar since your whole new job will be devoted to this). She is struck by a several hundred thousand dollar vehicle driven by a guy named Lance coming out of a house owned by Lance. When Lance says that he is pool boy, Sara believes him. Yes, Sara, there is a Santa Clause.

After that moment of inanity, Sara starts to break down about how her life is going to hell in a handbasket (of course, that’s my terminology as Miss Good Golly would never say anything like that). During her crying, Lance is hugging and holding her. Oh, this is a realistic scene. Guys just love it when strange women cry in front of them. They are absolutely going to jump in, cuddle her and say “there, there.” Not unless that woman is Heidi Klum and there is a chance to shag her silly.

Then there is the vehicle for Sara’s breakdown. She used to be a teacher but when photoshopped pictures of her appear in a porn magazine, she gets fired. Hello? Falsified pictures leading to the loss of your job and the degradation of your reputation!!! LAWSUIT? TEACHER’S UNION? Are you kidding me? Can we have even one little dose of realism in this book? If it is going to be a fantasy then don’t market this as a contemporary.

Lance was a bit unbelievable but adorable. When he falls for Sara, he’s not shy about it but Sara, oh she can’t allow herself to be happy. Oh no, she must not fall for Lance. He may break her heart. sob gasp sob. It’s all so terrible so instead of giving this romance with this hot guy who is caring and loving not to mention great in the sack a chance, Sara wraps herself in her self pity. She doesn’t like the fact that he has fans. Or that he has to judge a calendar model contest. Not once has he evinced desire to be with anyone but Sara, the dumb shit clueless fool, cannot risk her emotions and life on him. Climb on that hot horse and ride it to the freaking altar, girl. At the first sign of trouble in the relationship that comes from an external source, Sarah runs away. Why Lance would even want her at this point is beyond me. Someone run over me with Lance’s car. I can’t take it anymore.

Look when Lance was in the race car? Good stuff. When Lance was talking? Good stuff. When Sarah was crying, moaning about her lot in life? Crappy and unreadable. I am sure that even teens get tired of the self sacrifice martyed shit. Characters like your Sarah don’t deserve a HEA. Your character’s actions are F worthy territory. The rest of the book isn’t but it is not sufficient to save you from getting a C-.

Best regards

Jane

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

7 Comments

  1. Wendy
    Jul 25, 2006 @ 12:01:25

    You were way too nice. I normally like Britton, but I’d slap this dud with a big ole’ D-. You’re right – Lance is OK, but then you take into account that he falls for idiot Sarah and his appeal quickly diminishes. Frankly, if I wanted to read too much into it (and I do), I’d say this book perpetuates the ideal that women need to be “good girls” to land a man. And that’s enough to make me want to puke.

    Heck, just thinking about goody-goody Sarah baking animal shaped sugar cookies because Lance had “a bad day at the track” is enough to invoke my gag reflex.

  2. Karen Scott
    Jul 25, 2006 @ 15:40:14

    So, there’s like no sex in PB’s books? What’s that about?

    Sarah sounds just like the kind of heroine, I hate to read *shudder*. I agree with Wendy, you were far too kind, if she was as irritating as your review implies.

    Thanks for the warning, I was going to pick one of her books up from Amazon at some point, I wont bother now.

  3. Jane
    Jul 25, 2006 @ 15:47:20

    I admit I have a hard time giving a grade lower than a C-. I think it is in part due to the fact that the book is actually published. Someone somewhere thought this novel had some decent qualities. Just not me. LOL.

    Yes, the heroine is terribly irritating. And yes, there is no explicit sex. They do have sex, but the door is firmly closed. I don’t recall that being true in the historical Britton I have read.

    Over at Sybil’s blog, Syb mentioned that PB was keeping the door closed for her growing YA audience. In an earlier version of this review, I made mention that Sarah had the emotional maturity of a 15 year old and then decided that was an insult to 15 year olds and deleted it.

  4. Shannon
    Jul 25, 2006 @ 19:07:46

    Sheesh. I still can’t get over “good golly”. Except I do know someone who says that. The fact that she kind of reminds me of the RL version of Sarah makes me even less inclined to read this book.

  5. kate r
    Jul 30, 2006 @ 12:18:00

    aw jeez, I love love LOVE Britton’s historicals–like they’re on the top shelf of my keepers shelves. I’ve been meaning to try her contemporaries but errrrrrr maybe I don’t want to start with this one.

  6. kate r
    Jul 30, 2006 @ 12:20:11

    Shit. I say good golly all the time.

  7. Marilyn
    Sep 05, 2006 @ 07:53:31

    It’s my understanding that NASCAR has full control of what these authors write. NASCAR wants to keep “family image” so some of our favorite authors might not have any choice in the matter. I’m not going to put any of these on my TBR pile unless one of my favorite authors is writing for this series.

%d bloggers like this: