Dear Mrs. Dodd,
Despite the promise of eccentric aunts and zany robberies, I decided to try this contemporary novel. The conflict between sensible Nessa Dahl and undercover bank investigator Jeremiah MacNaught sounded intriguing, especially with the implied show down once the truth was revealed. And at first, things worked great but then slowly the eccentricities took over and ended up dimming my view of the whole book.
Books which feature lead characters with whom everyone is seemingly in love usually irritate the crap out of me. It just seems so Mary Sue-ish. Nessa could have annoyed me if you hadn’t have immediately paired her with Mac who doesn’t fall for her as she’s used to. Or at least he doesn’t let her know what his feelings are for her. He added the necessary tonic to balance out the setup that everyone in NO loves the Dahl women. And then the bank vault scene…my, oh my. That was hawt. Amazing that they didn’t melt the steel door. One question though. Don’t most banks have cameras in their vaults? Even eccentric NO banks that are in old, converted homes?
I loved watching Mac fall hopelessly under Nessa’s spell. He’s so determined that she’s involved in the annual Mardi Gras robberies at various branches of the bank of which he’s the CEO and that he, unlike the other investigator he sent to NO, won’t fall for her no matter how much she turns him inside out. So of course he immediately has to start fighting the attraction he gets zinged with.
I also feel that you set up a realistic conflict between the man for whom truth and taking responsibility are everything and the woman who owes so much to others. I loved it when Nessa finally let loose on Mac for lying to her yet also adored his stilted proposal to the first woman he’s ever loved.
The aunts are charming during their famous Mardi Gras party and I fell into their spell as quickly as did Mac. The food, the fun, the dancing, the setting of their slightly frayed Historic Register House was delicious. I could smell the flowers and hear the music and laughter of the hundreds of guests. But then things tipped over and they became “characters.” The nationwide, heck even the citywide, aspect of the denoument was just too much.
And as for the identities of the bank robbers. Well, since I’m headed towards spoiler territory I’ll bring out the cloak of darkness.
My guess is that the eccentricities of the aunts and of their boarders were supposed to leaven the seriousness of Mac’s character and background and of Nessa’s repressed outer self. But somehow it didn’t work for Mac and only halfway for Nessa. Mac still seems to be a much more controlling man than he should though he is making strides at lessening his iron grip on life. While Nessa, oh Nessa, does loosen her girdle in regard to her relationship with Mac though she still can’t quite break loose of the inner banker.
I see this is part of an ongoing series and I liked enough of this book to want to see what’s in store for Gabriel. I hope the crowds are back for Mardi Gras in NO and that the city is on its way to recovering some of what it lost during Katrina. For those of us who’ve never been, “Thigh High” helps to show us what we’re missing. B-