Dear Ms. Walker:
I read many a good review for this book but the heroine’s actions seemed TSTL (too stupid to live) for most of the story and it affected my enjoyment of it.
The two main characters start out with a previous relationship that ended when Shay, a reclusive author, could not open up to Elliott, a bookstore owner. Despite a year long romance, Elliott was no closer to understanding Shay than he was when they started. When Shay’s authorial life is turned upside down, she turns to Elliott and reveals her tragic secrets. Together they work together to forge a new relationship and find Shay’s tormenter.
The premise of the suspense is good. Shay is an author of several bestselling thriller books living in Alaska. She does not do public appearances and has only her website as a form of public presence. Shay is in a car accident and coma (which must have occurred in a previous book because we see none of this) and when she comes out she discovers that there is someone impersonating her – signing stock in stores, setting up websites, and social media accounts. Moreover, she discovers her personal emails are being deleted and business relationships are being impaired. Shay has to enter the public sphere and start challenging the imposter.
What was happening to Shay was really awful but so little of her unwinding of the imposter’s actions are done on page. I.e., Shay references legal papers kept in a secure banker’s box and those are sent to a lawyer. What legal papers? Why are those helpful? Instead of going through and addressing all the emails she is receiving or calling bookstores or generally doing anything but posting a note on her website, Shay and Elliott have sex for the first time. In fact, every time the two have sex, I found it jarring and uncomfortable, in part because I never felt the Shay – Elliott connection. Whatever had drawn these two together before was complete backstory and all we were privy to was the recovery of the relationship and even that seemed centered solely around Shay’s sexual explorations with Elliott. And none of it made sense to me. I felt like she was so emotionally impaired that she needed a lot of therapy and her having sex with Elliott wasn’t going to cure her (although it sort of does in the book)
It frustrated me further when Shay refused or never thought of bringing in the police or getting a lawyer. She clearly had money which might have been an impediment. And when there was apparent danger, she still did not think of bringing the police. I think it was 84% before a police officer appeared in connection with this case and even then she was determined to do her own thing, her own way. She was the definition of TSTL, running into the house with the bad guys instead of out of it. I didn’t view her as brave or facing down her demons or anything but foolish.
There is no mystery as to who the imposter is. We are given short POV scenes right away which may have only exacerbated my frustration more. Shay was quick to clue in to who might be harming her but the unwinding of the identity theft was more happenstance rather than concerted action by Shay.
While the suspense was good, the main protagonist’s actions frustrated me and I never connected with the romance. C-