REVIEW: Northern Rebel by Jennifer LaBrecque
Dear Ms. LaBrecque:
On the first page days, people always complain about books not starting in the right place and I felt that way about this book. Chapter one could have been told to us in two sentence. “Delphi Reynolds lost the best job she had ever had when her piece of shit boss came on to her. Now she’s in BFE Alaska with a no man vow.”
Instead, we begin with an entire chapter where Delphi is completely crushed to find out that the nice young doctor she works for wants Delphi to be his mistress When she refuses, he fires her and she is blackballed within the medical community by his overweight socialite wife. Delphi is stunned by her failure to read the situation correctly and I’m distressed by the vaudeville like dialogue from the young doctor. “He shrugged. “What’s the big deal?” An arrogant smugness settled on his face. “All powerful men have a mistress—it’s part of the personality of leaders, men of importance. Macy knows she’s lucky to have me.”
Second chapter fast forwards us six months whereupon our intrepid heroine moves to Alaska because that is the only job she can get. Anywhere. Unfortunately her vow to stay away from men is tested by hottie Lars Reinhardt, a demolitions expert. Lars tells us he doesn’t believe in marriage but upon seeing Delphi in the plane, his man parts are awakened. A few chapters and about ten dialogue exchanges later, Lars is beginning to wonder if Daphne is the one. I guess, primarily, because she resists him.
The fatigue he’d felt trudging through yet another airport fell off of him like an old shirt. Her “no trespassing” body language acted like a red flag being waved at a bull.
While I appreciate making a character’s career part of his or her personality, wouldn’t it be better to show the demolitions expert as patient, careful, not prone to taking huge chances, carefully analyzing the situation, acting calmly in face of stressful conditions? Nah, let’s go with the puns.
She’d almost detonated. He’d almost set her off….She was the undetonated device who silently dared him to approach at his own risk.
There are a lot of throwaway details in the book from the doctor’s wife who is described as overweight to the multitude of characters that have almost nothing to do with either of the main characters. There is a secondary romance between Natalie, the ex-wife of Lars’ twin brother, and Dirk, Liam and Lars’ cousin. This could have been fascinating and challenging because Dirk had loved Natalie all his life but never made any move on her which resulted in her marrying, but then divorcing, his cousin. Instead, this romance is as banal as the banter between Lars and Delphi:
Lars turned, a decidedly wicked grin quirking his lips. “Blondie, make no mistake about it. I will definitely catch you later. But I always practice catch and release.”
“But what if I don’t want to be caught?”
He laughed. “What if you don’t want to be released?”
Arrogant. “I can’t imagine that particular scenario.”
At one point, a secondary character summarizes her romance which I felt was basically the romantic arc of this story as well:
Skye plugged in an electric kettle for tea.
“He’s a thorough pain sometimes,” Skye said, while her indulgent smile and sparkling eyes proclaimed her thoroughly smitten, “but he is wonderful. I thought he was the most obnoxious man on the planet when I first met him.”
“How’s that?” Lars again popped into the front of her mind, which made him doubly annoying—she couldn’t totally put him out of her mind.
“Sounds good to me.”
“He was arrogant,” Skye continued as she prepared the cups, “and bold, and personal boundaries…forget it.” Yes, yes and yes. Skye smiled. “And too sexy for words.”
I didn’t read the second book as it didn’t interest me. C-