The One in My Heart / Sherry Thomas. 2015


When I found out a couple of weeks ago that Sherry Thomas had a new book out, I bought it right away, even though it's not a historical and it's written in 1st person POV. I am fine with the former, a lot more cautious about the latter. But Thomas is pretty much an auto-buy author for me. Anyhow, after I bought it I found out that the hero, Bennett, is the great-great-grandson of Gigi and Camden from one of my all-time favorite books, Private Arrangements. I knew I wouldn't be able to read this right away, but I was looking for something to listen to. So I downloaded PA and (since it takes 7-10 days to listen to a book) ended up reading the two simultaneously as I finished up PA

That wound up being pretty weird. The books are very, very different. But there are a couple of references to Cam & Gigi in TOIMH that me and my crappy memory would undoubtedly have overlooked otherwise. I liked this book. I didn't love it, but I did like it and was pretty absorbed in it, especially the second half.

Evangeline, the heroine, has a chance encounter with Bennett that leads to a one-night stand. A few months later, they meet again and Bennett has a request. He'd like Eva to pretend to be his girlfriend as he attempts a reconciliation with his parents, from whom he's been estranged for over a decade. Eva is reluctant, in part because she is strongly attracted and she is afraid to become attached. Eva has abandonment issues, among other issues. As the book moves along, we learn that Eva's and Bennett's lives have intertwined at previous points even though they've never met until the book's opening. 

Both characters are interesting. Eva is an assistant professor of materials science working toward tenure. She's geeky and has geeky friends. Her interactions with her friends are fun and funny. Bennett is a doctor who made a ton of money before going to medical school. (How he made the money relates, in part, to PA.) Most of the book takes place in New York City where Bennett has a Park Avenue apartment--a deliberate ploy to put himself in the same sphere as his wealthy parents. I enjoyed the descriptions of the city as well as the fact that both of them had jobs that kept them busy and occupied. The book takes place over a several month period.

One thing that I often find hard in books with 1st person POV is when it becomes pretty clear to the reader that something is happening and yet the narrator is oblivious to it. Eva falls hard for Bennett pretty quickly and whenever he does something to communicate his feelings, she's sure it's all an act. Of course we know better. I don't know--I think this kind of thing is why I generally stay away from 1st person and it may bug me, but not you. I also found it hard to fully sympathize with Bennett's estrangement from his parents. For a guy who's done some rather bold things with his life, I'm not sure why he needed Eva as a cover to re-connect with them. I didn't feel the angst that I think I was supposed to feel.

Still, the story was interesting and had a subplot involving Eva's stepmother, Zelda, that I really liked. I took a look at a few Amazon reviews before writing this and it's clear that this book won't appeal to everyone. But I'm certainly not sorry I bought it. For now I can say that I'd read more like this from Thomas.



Comments

  1. Phyl, thanks for starting this conversation! I agree that first person doesn't always work in romance, because you don't get the balance of insight. First person signals to me that one character has the most growing to do; I felt that was definitely the case here, but it did make it harder to really feel Bennet's situation with his parents.

    However, I really liked Eva's intense story, and I'm not sure it would have felt that way in third person. I liked the complexity of the Zelda subplot, and the acknowledgment of the complexity there (which we don't always get in romance). Most of all, I adored the Tolkein tribute.

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    1. You make an excellent point about why 1st person works here. Eva did need to grow way more than Bennett who was well on his way to making positive changes in his life. Also, Zelda's subplot was complex and I was impressed with how seamlessly it fell into the story.

      And yes, the Tolkein tribute was very cool.

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  2. When I first heard about this book I was thrilled to hear she is self publishing. I love her books but they are normally very costly as ebooks.

    And I've had a complete turn-around as far as first person books. Not long ago I avoided them but I've been very impressed with a number I've read so the fact a book is written in the first person no longer keeps me from reading it.

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    1. Oh, then I hope you try this one, Kristie. If you already like her books, I think you'll like this one, too. I just wanted to connect more with Bennett, so that's the main reason I'm not more enthusiastic.

      (And as an aside, it's SO good to see you blogging again :) )

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  3. Phyl! I actually didn't pay attention to this book, but after reading the following: "...one of my all-time favorite books, Private Arrangements. (...) The books are very, very different.",, I think I will like it because Private Arrangements annoyed me to pieces, especially the heroine who I can't stand! I know, I know, I missed the hidden gem she really is, but that's it.
    Anyway, this one seems more interesting and the heroine seems great. I'll add it to my list!
    Thank you again!

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    1. That's pretty funny, actually. I hope you love this one to pieces. :)

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