"Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather, and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know." - John Keats

"You're not allowed to say anything about books because they're books and books are, you know, God." - Nick Hornby

Friday, September 16, 2016

Review #47: Mismatch, by Tami Hoag

After the disastrous Rumor Has It, I thought I'd give Tami another go, and downloaded the audio version of Mismatch to distract me from the snowbirds and school buses clogging my roads. And while it was better than Rumor Has It, I'm not sure I'm going to download any more of her novels.

Short version: Bronwynn Prescott Pierson (really?) escapes to the rundown estate that used to belong to her uncle to mourn the fact that she just became a runaway bride. Wade Grayson, a rigid straight-laced Congressman from Ohio is vacationing at his friend's country estate next door. They meet the night that Bronwynn shows up to the neglected farmhouse and tries to burn her fiancé's suitcase on the front lawn. Sparks fly (no pun intended) and before you know it, Bronwynn and Wade are fixing up the old house together and having sexy times in between rescuing Wade's Important Government Papers from Muffin, Bronwynn's pet sheep. But then the jilted fiancé shows up, livid at being left at the altar in a spectacular way (and really, I do have to give Tami some credit here. She opens the novel with Bronwynn halting the wedding to say thank you to some people, and then she thanks her cousin for showing her what a jackass her fiancé is by having an affair with him. It's a pretty good, if implausible, scene). Anyway, the fiancé shows up (I can't remember his name), and accuses Bronwynn of having an affair with Wade, flounces off, and then days later, the press arrives, driving Bronwynn and Wade apart until she finally comes to her senses and goes about to get him back in a truly mind-boggling sort of way. And they all lived happily ever after.

So why not a great rating? Well, there were some things that bothered me. In no particular order...
1. Muffin the sheep appears to eat everything, from wallpaper to government documents to Wade's car seats. I don't know a lot about farm animals, but I kept thinking in my head, "Is Tami mixing up sheep with goats? Cause this sounds much more like goat behavior." But what do I know? I can't stand goats and make it a point never to go near them.
2. Wade. Wade was pretty boring, but at the same time, he also made me want to scream. There were all sorts of weird misogynistic undertones that I can't even really put in to words, but I felt them. To her credit, Bronwynn called him out a few times on it, but he never really backed down or changed. It was very much "you can't use power tools cause you're a girl". That drives me insane.  It's possible that Bronwynn didn't know how to use that wallpaper stripper, but I can guarandamntee that neither did Wade, and just cause he's got an outie instead of an innie doesn't mean that he is automatically more qualified to figure it out. This book is about Bronwynn being independent. Let her be independent, Wade. Jeeze.
3. The reconciliation scene at the end is a bit over the top. Wade is a Congressman. They literally break up on camera after being caught in the Vermont woods together. Wade goes back to work. Bronwynn nurses her broken heart and her sister and a Beach Boys singing hermit talk some sense in to her. So she calls a press conference to Wade's office without his knowledge so they can reconcile on camera. Maybe this book was written before the days of TMZ and 24/7 political coverage, but I just don't think that was the best course of action. See also: public marriage proposals. She could have very seriously damaged Wade's career.
4. This is a stupid thing to be bothered by, but I think it bothered me more than anything. After the estate catches fire and nearly burns down, Bronwynn decides she wants to go camping in some meadow by a lake with Wade. So they hike in to the woods with their backpacks for a few days and pitch a tent. On their last night there, the night where Bronwynn's decided she's going to say the L word, she sends Wade to the lake to catch dinner. When he comes back, she has a plaid blanket set with real silver and china, and they have a romantic meal. Then she stands up, shimmies off her sweatshirt and jeans that she's been hiking in all day to reveal a silk teddy (which she evidently has been wearing all day as well), and disappears in to the tent, where she has laid out both sleeping bags topped with an ivory satin sheet. And all of this fit in her backpack? And then Wade follows her in the tent, and then takes off his shoes and socks. Now I'm no camping expert, but even I can tell you that shoes do not come in the tent with you. At least, not on. And not on ivory satin sheets. And when you're backpack camping, you take the least amount of stuff possible. Like, you leave behind the china and silver and ivory satin sheets. I'm just saying: this was an implausible scene.

Anyway, it was an okay story. Not great, better than Rumor Has It, but not better enough to make me want to read more.

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