passion rating: warm
Dear Ms. Higgins,
I’ve read several of your books and, in general, have found them to be a bit too toothsome for me. I did however enjoy one of your earlier books, The Next Best Thing, so I was interested to read your latest novel, Somebody to Love, whose heroine, Parker Harrington Welles, was introduced in The Next Best Thing. I liked Parker in The Next Best Thing and I liked her in this book as well. I also liked James Cahill, the book’s hero. Nevertheless, I did not particularly enjoy the book itself. Again, I found your story to be so cute, so affable, and so neatly completed it left me disgruntled and slightly cranky.
Parker is thirty-five, worth millions thanks to her stock savvy father, a single mother to Nick (his father is Ethan, the hero from The Next Best Thing), and the writer of a truly dreadful series of children’s books called The Holy Rollers. Parker, a Harvard grad, proposed the series as a sarcastic joke to her editor when her first book, Mickey the Fire Engine—which sounded a lot like one of my favorite children’s classics, Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel—was rejected by her editor as being “a little familiar.”
“Got anything else?” George asked, already glancing at his watch.“Yeah, I do,” Parker said. “How’s this? A band of child angels are sent to earth to teach kids about God. Right? They haven’t earned their wings, though, so they roller-skate everywhere—they’re the Holy Rollers. Do you love it? All they eat is angel food cake, and they live in a tree fort called Eden, and whenever a regular kid is up against a tough moral decision, in come the Holy Rollers and the preaching begins.” She rolled her eyes. “It’s The Crippled Lamb meets The Little Rascals meets The Exorcist.” She sighed and stood up. “Well, thanks for your time, George. Good to see you.”“Hang on,” he said.The next week, she’d had an offer and a contract….
The books have sold millions of copies and a 3D movie is being made, but Parker, who loathes the books, has written her last Holy Rollers best-seller. (She’s never made a penny off them—she donates all her income to a charity called Save the Children.) Then, very suddenly, her father is busted for insider trading and she’s kicked out of the mansion in which she grew up and where she and Nicky, when he’s not with Ethan and his wife Lucy (Parker’s best friend), live. Furthermore, her father has raided hers and her son’s trust funds and she’s got $11,000 to her name.
Parker gets this news from Harry, her father, the day before he’s headed to jail. He tells her to have James, his personal lawyer, help her sort out the mess. Parker and James, whom she rudely calls Thing One, have a history. Unbeknownst to Parker, James, now twenty-nine, fell in love with her five years ago, the very first time he saw her. Parker was in the hospital, having just given birth to Nicky; her father had sent James to the hospital with paperwork for Parker to sign. (Her father never shows up for anything in Parker’s life.) Parker has almost always treated James like scum—she sees him as a kiss-ass extension of her self-absorbed, greedy father. I sayalmost because once, two years ago, at her cousin’s wedding, Parker, after one too many vodka martinis, grabbed James, dragged him into a near-by bedroom, and had wonderful, nasty sex with him. (One of my complaints about this book is you keep the reader firmly outside the bedroom door—your characters talk and think about sex a great deal, but when push comes to shove, you don’t let the reader in on any of the action. It’s an odd choice in a book so filled with lust and banter about sex.) Parker blew James off in a big way after their tryst and, since then, whenever she sees him—her father sends James to all of the family events rather than attending them himself—she acts the snotty, frosty rich girl and treats him as the lowest of the low.
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