So, how’s your significant other at gift giving? Mine is a long history in that particular department, which began with my first husband, our first Christmas, and a disastrous gift. Rather than relate the gory details, let’s just say that from then on, I began compiling lists of welcome gifts for my husband to choose from, and come any gift-giving event since then, I have been a happy camper. Notwithstanding this mutually satisfying practice, my sweet Ulli decided to go a bit rogue this Valentine’s Day. In addition to my requests, he took himself off to the bookstore and got me a set of magnetic bookmarks and The Love Detective
, thereby confirming the urgent and continued need for my ingenious gift list.
The thing is, it’s not that I don’t like romance. I do, but there’s romance and there’s romance...and then, there’s The Love Detective
. By that, I mean there’s Harlequin-type romance, which everyone knows is pure, unadulterated fluff with no storyline other than boy meets girl, boy and girl hate each other, and then, boy and girl fall in love. Alternatively, there’s more serious romance where, yes, there’s boy meets girl, but there is more depth to the story, less fairytale, and more realistic themes involved. Then, we have Ms. Potter’s book, which is really just a Harlequin Romance IMO. That wouldn’t be such a problem except it is double the page count and double the price for the pleasure of slogging through a book that goes boringly on and on about nothing much really.
Here’s all that really happens. For a couple of years, Ruby has been a basket case because she caught her fiance with another woman. Unable to write romances because she's given up on love, she sets off to India to visit her sister and shake things up. When said sister decides to elope, Ruby needs help tracking her down. Enter the gorgeous Jack, whom Ruby hates at first. A series of mishaps, miscommunications, and unbelievable coincidences ensue, and their mutual attraction grows as they make their way across India. .
The one saving grace in the book is the India setting. As Jack and Ruby go from city to city, Ms. Potter’s descriptions somewhat tempt the reader, even if they are superficial. Nevertheless, I must say I did take exception with her portrayal of Indians as pretty much all happy, dancing and smiling, no matter their circumstances. I mean, India is a country with heartbreaking, grinding poverty and other social issues. Not that every country doesn't have its issues, but the gloss over India's was simply too much for me. Everybody can’t be smiling and dancing, but from this book, one would never know it. Yes, I am aware this is a feel-good romance, but some semblance of reality somewhere in the book would not go amiss. Just sayin'.
Perhaps, my even rating this book is unfair as I would never have chosen it on my own and it is obviously geared toward an audience of which I am not part, but after reading 360-odd pages of much ado about nothing, I feel entitled to have my say. And it’s sad really, because since I’ve discovered my love of all things Jane Austen, I am truly tempted by Ms. Potter’s book Me and Mr. Darcy
, but unless it falls into my lap for free, I fear I will never read it.
So, in the end, this book was not for me. AND rest assured that Ulli will be banned from making further autonomous reading choices for me. But all is not lost. I do love my magnetic Valentine’s bookmarks. :)