REVIEW: The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers
I will meet you on Wednesdays at noon in Celebration Park. Kissing only.
Carrie West is happy with her life . . . isn’t she? But when she sees this provocative online ad, the thirtysomething librarian can’t help but be tempted. After all, the photo of the anonymous poster is far too attractive to ignore. And when Wednesday finally arrives, it brings a first kiss that’s hotter than any she’s ever imagined. Brian Newburgh is an attorney, but there’s more to his life . . . that he won’t share with Carrie. Determined to have more than just Wednesdays, Carrie embarks on a quest to learn Brian’s story, certain that he will be worth the cost. But is she ready to gamble her heart on a man who just might be The One . . . even though she has no idea how their love story will end?
Dear Ms. Rivers,
Reading a good novella is a wonderful treat for me. To get a complete, perfect story that encompasses beginning to HEA and does it well and convincingly is such a joy to receive. And this is such a great story. Such a great damn story that it makes me happy thinking of it again as I write this.
The writing brings you in close to what these people are feeling. I don’t just feel as if I’m being “told” what’s going on, I feel it. I see it. It’s like I’m there watching and experiencing it – not in a kinky voyeuristic way but in a deep, connected way. The writing is also great in a subtle and elegant way. It shows instead of merely telling. When Carrie and Brian pull apart after a kiss, Carrie talks about the sudden little chill that is between their body heat now and how she wants to chase it away. I feel that along with her.
Carrie is normal – which is such a relief. She doesn’t have hang ups. She isn’t frustrated with her life or determined to do something totally wild. Just a little wild and different and daring. She has a normal job, normal friends who aren’t kooky or trying to matchmake her or anything else. She’s real.
The hook up is slightly offbeat. Wednesdays in a public park for one hour just kissing. No last names, little personal info and either one can break it off at any time by merely not showing up the next week. A tenuous start with nothing anticipated for long term – just the “here and now” of it. But it begins to branch into a bit more. IM exchanges and then phone calls and then brunch as Carrie pushes a bit to discover why Brian has set these boundaries, why he won’t accept more and ask for more from a relationship, what there is in his life that makes him unable to risk more. So the weird beginning morphs into a closer connection upon which their relationship can build.
And it does build and grow and meld together two people. Little by little, brick by brick it’s built and solid despite the starts and stops and issues. They talk – as Carrie tells Brian later in the story, “You do talk well.” By the time the sex finally arrives, in all its messy, moving, glorious, glasses smudging way, it was a culmination of the slow, hot acceleration build up and also the exquisite emotions these two feel for each other and care they take of each other.
The issue that initially Brian is initially dealing with is real, and deep and such a part of his life. It also helps show the loving, bedrock kind of man he is – needed in a first person POV book. But it’s presented in such a way that it didn’t feel like a made up excuse for angst. When Brian confesses to Carrie what he hoped for when he first saw her and why, I wanted to just bawl because he deserves so much.
Warning: Having said that, when I go back and think of the story, I do feel that it probably wouldn’t impress readers who are disabled. [spoiler]The person who is disabled is a secondary character and the story focuses mainly on how this affects Brian.[/spoiler] For that, I’m knocking my grade down a notch.
I love a story that moves me at times to tears – just as Carrie does, and BTW that’s a sexy, librarian tattoo she has – and this one does it many times in ways both dramatic, sad and happy. In the end, though, the resolution of Brian’s issue is done realistically and the situation is hopeful which is a great way to end a book. When I sent my list of recommended books to Jane this month, she said she’d heard this one is good and I replied to her “I just finished it and as I’m sitting here jotting down thoughts for the A review, I’m crying and smiling.” I still am. A-