REVIEW: Tanya by Rebecca Rogers Maher
“Tanya—a recovering alcoholic—meets Jack at a roadside stop on the way to her sister’s wedding. Hoping to drown her sorrows in the company of a stranger, she brings him back to her motel room.
The next day, shaken by the intensity of the experience, Tanya joins her sister’s bridal party at an upscale mountain lodge. There, she meets the groom’s family for the first time, including his brother, Jack—just home from the Peace Corps and reeling from his night with the bold, beautiful woman he thought he’d never see again.
Both at a crossroads in their lives, Tanya and Jack collide for one explosive weekend. Will they choose the safety of past regrets, or will they be brave enough to embrace the present—together?”
Dear Ms. Rogers Maher,
I’ve come to expect the unexpected from you. And to just dive right in to your novellas regardless of the blurb, the characters or whatever issues you’ve given them. The ride might be wild but it’s usually worth it.
The book opens with a scene that is definitely not an anonymous romance meet-cute. No, after a short interlude in which Jack reminisces about the fact that only rich people have the luxury of searching for their purpose in life it’s an anonymous meet-fuck that blows Jack’s doors off. I found it cutely amusing that as he went into the seedy motel room he was mentally referring to it as tryst. He sure didn’t feel that way about it for long as the anonymous woman takes control, orders him about, twists his world inside out and he discovers he loves it. Jack’s vanilla sexual world just added a few dark flavors.
Meanwhile, Tanya discovers she’s hooked up with someone a little different from the men she usually fucks when she gets this way. It’s not only power she’s after, though she comes on strong and takes what she wants. It’s the shame and self punishment she’s after since for her, that’s the feeling that’s normal and safe. She knows that feeling and she’s comfortable with it. It’s also a bit of revenge for all this shitty boyfriends she’s endured over the years. She enjoys being the bitch, being the boss.
But like the aftermath of the usual romance trope, now these two have to move past their initial impressions of the other and decide is there something more for them? This is the heart of the novella.
Apparently I was just utterly oblivious of the fact that the hero of “Hurricane Lily” is the half brother of Jack and Henry but there’s no doubt about how this novella ties in with “The Bridge.” I held my breath waiting to discover what shape Henry and Christa would be in. I was delighted – yeah, I know it sounds strange – about the signs that love hasn’t solved all Christa and Henry’s problems. Christa did another round of cancer treatment while Henry is almost painfully and vulnerably in love and tells Jack he takes each day at a time.
Amidst all the hot sex that Tanya and Jack engage in, there are hints that that Jack is someone who needs to care for someone else. It’s why he entered the Peace Corps. But can he find love with Tanya? And can she allow herself to be loved and believe that maybe this time the other shoe won’t drop in her life? I’m cautiously optimistic on both counts and appreciate that the novella ends with each of them tentatively willing to work on something more.
Thank you for another story about wounded characters and ones without easily solved issues. You delve into the darker side of emotion and life and manage to get me to buy into at least a HFN – and in the case of Henry and Christ a HEA. Oh, and I love the dedication. B