Dear Ms. Vaughn:
This was a top seller at Samhain’s My Bookstore and More a few weeks ago. I’m always curious about what other people are reading and so I bought the book blindly (no cover, no blurb) and I had never read you before.
India Powers is a woman who has spent her whole life pleasing her impossible parents only to be overlooked for her less successful older brother. She even went so far as to get engaged to a man she doesn’t love because it was the one thing that really pleased her parents. When India finds her fiance in bed with another woman, she decides that no amount of parental approval is worth a lifetime of unhappiness. She breaks off the engagement to the fury of her parents and heads off to take a vacation on a remote island.
Rafe Santiago and Grant Thompson have been best friends from childhood. Now adults and business partners, Rafe and Grant are weathering Rafe’s nasty divorce. During the marriage, Rafe’s wife constantly made plays for Grant, sometimes attempting to pit the two friends against each other. One stormy night, Rafe and Grant satisfied Rafe’s wife’s urge for something more exotic. This even created a closer bond for Rafe and Grant which Rafe’s wife found to exclude her. The two men decide to take a break from their business to celebrate the divorce and Rafe promises Grant that they will find the perfect woman to be a part of both their lives. (Grant is quite skeptical of this).
The three meet at a small airport awaiting the plane that will take them to their island destination. India’s battered confidence is salved by the attention to the two handsome men are paying her but before anything is acted upon, the three board a plane. The plane goes down and the three get stranded on an island. There, they find succor in each other’s arms.
I did like that you explored the pyschological aspect of the threesome and that India wasn’t ready to jump into bed with both even though she was attracted to both. I thought she should a natural and believable hesitation. What I found a little less believable was that the men would be so focused on inducting India into their little sexual society when they were just newly stranded. It seems that you would be more worried about being rescued than being laid.
I wish that the villians were more carefully nuanced. Instead, the parents and the ex-wife seemed to be caricatures and you were drawing a careful line between people. They seemed either all good or all bad. I also thought that India’s lack of confidence which returned after being stranded was frustrating. I would have also liked to have seen more of the survival skills that India, Rafe and Grant would have had to display in order to survive for so long on the island.
I did like the part of the book dealt with the social consequences of being part of a threesome and the idea of being open about the lifestyle even if that meant being the subject of derision. I.e., being with the people you loved mattered more than what others thought of you. While this book didn’t work quite as well as I had hoped, I would be interested in reading you again. C.
Stranded can be purchased at Samhain.