May 18 2013
Dear Ms. Kent:
At first, I was a little distressed because the hero is a lawyer and the heroine is a legal assistant (not at the same firm, though). It’s fairly hard for me to get lost in the world of make believe when the characters are so familiar to me. However, there was not enough of the law to interfere with my enjoyment and while I love your voice, the wonderful and awkward sex scenes you write, and your ability to create interesting characters despite having a limited point of view narrative, this book stumbled a bit at the half way mark and I was never fully brought around.
As a preteen, Erin Marshall had had a long standing crush on Seth Thomas, an orphan who was sent to live with his grandfather. Nothing came of this crush as Seth moved away and went on to become a successful defense attorney. He returned to their town only when his grandfather died. The two have a somewhat drunken hookup that results in Erin becoming pregnant.
Seth’s first response to Erin’s news is to ask whether it is his. Their exchange over this news isn’t sexy but testy with Erin telling him she’d rather have anyone else be the father but him and that it won’t be a Thomas baby. Seth doesn’t warm to the idea but wants to be involved.
The story tracks not only the pregnancy but also the delivery and the aftermath. During the pregnancy Erin has some physical urges and after an aborted attempt to go out, Seth offers to fulfill those physical urges. In sum, they are each other’s hookup.
There’s some implication that Seth is still dating while Erin is pregnant, but this didn’t bother me as Erin repeatedly told Seth she wanted nothing to do with him. Even as their physical relationship labors (pun intended) on, Erin’s feelings seemingly do not.
While this story is told in the third person, it is limited to Erin’s point of view alone. Seth is more enigmatic, but it seems clear that he is both afraid and excited about the baby. Erin does not see this. She’s a bit myopic and closed off emotionally. Because of her dogged intention to do this on her own, she ends up hurting Seth frequently.
Because this is told in limited third person, I needed a lot more justification on Erin’s end as to why she didn’t want to let Seth in; why she was so interested in raising the child by herself; why she was eschewing any emotional intimacy with Seth. I understood that she had been hurt before, but because it was told to us in a matter of a few paragraphs at the beginning of the book, it didn’t have much resonance as the story went on.
Erin often projects behavior from her ex husband on to Seth. As a reader, I could see Seth’s genuine emotion and risk taking and I didn’t understand why Erin was so determined to be an island, particularly after the baby was born. In fact, the story really became frustrating for me post birth due to Erin’s intractability in the face of Seth’s agreement to play whatever role Erin deemed appropriate in the life of their child.
This book was still super readable, despite the problems, and the portrayal of pregnancy, birth, and post labor was really well done. C+