REVIEW: Sold to the Highest Bidder by Donna Alward
Dear Ms. Alward,
The impression I got from the blurb for “Sold to the Highest Bidder”
“All she wants is his name on the dotted line. He's got other ideas-
For Ella, marrying Devin had seemed like a good idea at the time. Friends since childhood and in love with him for as long as she could remember, marriage had been the next logical step. Then the real world called, and Ella's feet had itched to get out of Backwards Gulch, Colorado.
Now, with a new opportunity on the East Coast beckoning, it's time to put her past behind her once and for all. When she sees Devin standing on a charity auction block, she decides it's the perfect opportunity to finally get his signature on the divorce papers he never signed.
Devin's certain about one thing when he sees Ella for the first time in twelve years-‘she's not the girl he married. The way she left him still stings, and if she wants him to sign on the dotted line he's going to make her work for it-for the full forty-eight hours she paid for.
When the old attraction flares between them, the years apart disappear and resolve melts faster than high-country snow in summer. But when Ella awakens with the same determination to get back to Denver, divorce papers in hand, she has a problem-
Devin still hasn't signed them.”
I sort of got the impression that this was more a comedy than a drama. And this impression continued for the first chapter or so while the charity auction took place and up until Dev and Ella got back to his place. Then the plot took a turn for the dramatic which I hadn’t expected.
Ella and Dev have lots of unresolved issues beyond their marriage. These are slowly revealed, which makes sense, as they work their way to a HEA. But at times I got the feeling that their issues changed depending on the needs of the plot and which chapter I was reading. There are also some things which, when I go back and consider how to write this review, don’t make too much sense. Ella and Dev have supposedly known each other since childhood, loved each other since the point where puberty kicked in yet they often don’t appear to know each other at all.
At first, Ella seems to have decided her marriage to Dev was a mistake and that she wants more from life than to be married young and live in a small town in Colorado. So she heads off to college and later sends Dev a letter outlining why she’s not coming back and then repeatedly sends him divorce papers to sign. But no, it seems she was supposed to go to college then come back. No wait she headed off to college but wanted Dev to come after her to prove how much he loves her unlike her father who abandoned the family when Ella was a child. She would have come back if Dev had followed her and tried to get her back until the point when she tells him she still wants a divorce from him. My head was spinning trying to remember all the different versions of the story.
Dev is still mad that Ella left him and more mad that she didn’t come back and face him to tell him she wanted out of their marriage. That’s why he never signed any of the divorce papers Ella had sent to him. No, not quite as he later says he’s always loved her and would have gone to track her down and fight for their marriage if something else hadn’t prevented him. He’s bitter but he still loves her. Or is he bitter and hoping to make her pay for 12 years of grief? Or does he want a chance to work for their marriage? Again, it was hard to keep track of the current goal Dev had chapter by chapter.
But despite my confusion over the characters’ wants and desires, I was still interested in them and in how they were going to work out a HEA. Yeah, their goals change a lot but they are two complex characters who aren’t all bad or all good. They have nuances and I like that you aren’t afraid to show them in less than flattering lights. They might have exasperated me at times but I never wanted to stop reading the book because of that.
While this book didn’t work as well for me as I had hoped it would, it won’t stop me from trying another of yours. The setting was well done, the secondary characters, while only briefly shown, were supportive of this book and as I said, I didn’t lose interest in the story. It”s also a straight contemporary, with nary a SEAL or pseudo government agent in sight so for that alone I’d give it a C.