Life is too serious. We need a little more laughter in our world to balance out the heartache. Lane Parker makes it her mission to turn that frown into a smile with A Christmas Dream. Hayden is a character that is identifiable on so many levels. Self - doubt has become her ally and heartbreak has become her friend, yet she longs for something more. Will Jackson be the man to see beyond the mask into her deepest soul and accept her, faults and all? Fantasy becomes a reality to be celebrated all year round.
I was almost a third of the way through this slightly droll but deeply puzzling book, struggling to work out where it was going, when the lights went on - flashing LED lights - spelling out IT'S A ROMANCE, DUMMY.
That explains why the heroine is intelligent, well-educated, slightly bland and completely hapless - so she can come into her own by getting together with the right guy.
Now it's all clear.
The contract with the reader is that the woman should be nice, maybe too nice for her own good when it comes to dealing with her self-absorbed, hippy-boy-man-at-41 boyfriend, so that the reader can root for her and hope she'll smell the coffee and find someone worthy of her.
I got distracted by the bullying sexism or her employer, the apparently dark history of the house she's recently bought and my underlying lack of empathy for a woman so used to be being loved and protected by her family that she lacks basic survival skills.
I feel like someone reading the start of a werewolf novel and wondering why the characters, who seem prone to physical aggression when resolving status-related conflicts, are stressing about how close the next full moon is.
OK, now I can settle back and let the romance roll with the appropriate level of readerly collusion. with what the author is doing.
"On Turpentine Lane" has been on my TBR pile for eighteen months. I bought it in a fit of enthusiasm after reading "Isabel's Bed". I've looked at it a few times since then and gone, "I want to read that but not today."
I'm reading it now because it has a (mostly) green cover and so qualifies as my book for Mawlid An-Nabi.
So far it's been a light, mildly amusing comedy of manners kind of book but I'm struggling with it because it's exposing a prejudice I'm a little loathe to admit to. I find it hard to empathise with a privileged white middle-class, university educated woman in her thirties who is so hapless.
Her haplessness is fundamental to the humour of the book so letting it irritate me is self-defeating but what bothers me is my own reasons for being so quick to judge this woman. Her haplessness is quite plausible. She's conflict-averse, trusting, committed to her job and looking for a quiet life. I'd probably like her if I met her. Yet I find myself irritated by her inability to use the advantage she has.
All of which says more about me than about Elinor Lipman's writing.
So, I'll try to suspend my disapprobation and enjoy the story.