REVIEW: After the Storm by Amy Knupp
Dear Ms. Knupp:
I struggled to connect to your characters from the opening scene when Nadia Hamlin endangered the lives of rescue personnel to go back into a hurricane zone to retrieve a business file. Penn Griffin, a guy who tried to date her but was constantly stood up because of business decisions. After their one aborted date ended with her running out on Penn before the entrees were delivered, Penn had stopped his pursuit. Of course, her image has “haunted” him ever since. Why? Because she is hot? Why would you be haunted by a chick who is so selfish she couldn’t even manage to call afterward and apologize. When Penn blows up at her and then apologizes, she doesn’t acknowledge his apology for days. She’s just too busy.
I’m supposed to feel sorry for Nadia or empathize with her because she is doing her best to keep her business afloat. She’s even given up her enjoyable pursuit of casual dating which I guess is what she was doing with Penn. I just found her tiresome and irritating and I didn’t really understand why Penn would want to pursue her. Isn’t there any one else on the island he could date?
Penn injures his back trying to rescue Nadia and he is forced to have back surgery. Penn’s portrayed as having real anger issues associated with his recovery and pain. Instead of sympathizing with him, I winced at every angry statement yelled and every temper thrown. He allowed himself almost no time to recovery and for the majority of the book was determined to look at the glass as broken and leaking let alone just half full.
Where this story is going is painfully obvious. Nadia will learn the important lesson of settling down and taking it easy and Penn will learn to find new meaning in life when not being a firefighter. But it’s a downer of a book. Even the texts that the two exchange are depressing instead of cute and fun. The lack of levity meant that Penn’s moroseness associated with his loss of dream and Nadia’s grasping attempts to keep her hotel above water just wore me down.
There’s something I’d rather not talk about but need to say…
He stared at the screen, waiting for her to continue. Curious as all get-out but unwilling to prompt her to spill it.
Finally, another message appeared. Kiss was a bad move on my part.
So. Add “direct” to Nadia’s list of qualities. And thankfully, not a hopeless romantic.
He weighed his reply carefully. So many wrong things he could say without even meaning to.
He settled for: Not a big deal.
I know you’ve got way more important things on your mind.
Every last one of which sucked. None of which he cared to spend his time thinking about. Before he could figure out a response, his phone buzzed again.
Won’t happen again. Not that I don’t like you. Just that we both seem overwhelmed right now. Me with work, you with your back. Did you know it’s possible to babble via text message? ;)
Toward the end there is a reversal of circumstances wherein work prevents Penn from keeping a commitment with Nadia. Her response surprised me. It wasn’t understanding. Or laughter. Or recognition of her own past behavior. It was “If he thought she was going to honor their last-minute dinner plans, he was sadly mistaken.” But that was Nadia. Her single minded focus was purportedly on the hotel but it’s really about the preservation of her own dreams. What happened toward the end, however, was her having to readjust her dreams much like Penn had to. Her obtuseness in recognizing their similarities was just as maddening as the glacier pace of the book. C-