This was a terrific, short, light, fun read, and it’s got plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.
Kate has a plan. She’s a 35-year-old career woman who’s been engaged 3 times in 3 years – but never manages to make it to the altar. With the help of her best friend, Jessie, the plan is to go to a golf resort and find her life partner. Her requirements: tall, dark, and successful.
She manages to meet men right at the start: Lance, whom she shoved in the pool for being a little too grabby; Peter, who got rushed to the hospital for heart palpitations when she caught him cheating at golf; Donald, who got a fork in the hand when he tried to stop Kate from eating; Nick, who fell off a cliff into poison ivy for… well, just a nice kiss on a hike! (Don’t forget Allan getting kicked by a horse.)
Meanwhile, she spends her early mornings fishing with the resort owner’s brother, Jake, to avoid the overly-ambitious Valerie, social director of the hotel and the owner’s girlfriend. Jake spends his afternoons and evenings trying to rescue the men Kate’s inadvertently maiming; he warns her not to get involved with the locals since it’s such a small town… and she’s sending all the men to the hospital.
Jake is a former tax attorney who gave up life in the fast lane to move home to the small town where the resort is, in order to both finance and help his brother with the resort. Jake is a sort of silent partner – he now handles all the outdoor maintenance type work on the grounds, and fishes, and shies away from women like his ex-wife who values the fast life and big money.
Although it does only take place over 2 weeks, the relationship that builds between Jake and Kate feels real and believable, with them starting out just being friends. They both admit it – he doesn’t fit in her plan, and she’s the kind of woman he has no use for. When the feelings finally come to the forefront, they’re both actually a little surprised, although no one else is.
The major conflict is how to compromise for a long-term relationship: she’s on a career fast track (admittedly, not one of her choosing or that she particularly likes) and he’s semi-retired from work at all. Plus he’s commitment-phobic as well. So after a long buildup and a fast relationship, they have to now face a future where one or both have to make some changes or live without each other.
Renée Raudman’s narration is perfect for this light fare – her narrative voice is natural, as though she’s just telling you a story as it comes to her, acting out all the parts. She has an interesting way of using a little bit more than just pitch to create hero Jake’s voice – it’s a combination of a slight southern accent and even a touch of roughness or color to it, placing it differently in her voice. It’s compelling and draws a nice character note for him. She puts Kate in her own natural speaking range but it’s a little more business-like and brisk than the narrative, indicating Kate’s no-nonsense approach. Penny, another hotel client, is performed perfectly as the innocent young flirt, and Valerie is given a hard voice like the shark she is. There was the occasional misplaced pause/breath in mid-clause, but other than that, the voicing was perfect.
The story didn’t reflect its 1993-ness to me (audiobook released in 2008) – there wouldn’t have been smartphones or even ubiquitous cell/mobile phones, but since they were at a country golf resort, I didn’t notice anything I thought quaint or vintage. OK, maybe the heroine’s determination to find a man seems a little un-PC, but I liked her no-nonsense, make-a-list way of going about it. A case could be made she was really more trying to throw off the bonds of her father’s autocratic ways than turning into Donna Reed – and hey, there is a great Donna Reed reference in the dialogue that had me laughing all the way to the bank. (no really, I was listening to it while driving to the bank.)
Book Content: A
Steam Factor: Glad I had my earbuds in
Violence: well – some accidents, nothing graphic, fork in the hand, pushed into a pool, like that
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Brilliance Audio