Friday, 22 May 2015

A Southern Star - Anya Forrest

Often when I finish a book I sigh, it's usually because I didn't want it to end, or because the ending was so good. This time, sadly, it was because it just didn't quite get there.

I really really wanted to like this book. A kiwi author, in the South Island, and even visiting Dunedin at one point. It should have been all there. But somehow it just fell a bit short.

It didn't really help that I didn't like either of the main characters to begin with. We meet them both in the opening chapter on a ferry crossing to Stewart Island. She's as wet as a soggy stack of newspaper that's been left out in the rain. He's domineering, overbearing and arrogant. 

I know that the charge taking, alpha male, is a stock 'hero' of many romance books. But he needs to have a balance to his character. He does develop this later in the book, but in the open stages, he demands to know things about her, cancels her food order and seems to get angry over nothing. She worries that she's upset him by not sharing things. But honestly, if this were real life, I'd get out of there now love, controlling, abusive relationship alert.

He does get better, in parts, but the rush into his needing to know everything, before they've in any way got to know one another seems forced. I did keep reading, and I did want to know how it was going to turn out. (Yes I know, it's a romance, you know where it's going really, but still). 

I don't want to give too much of the plot away, but I struggled with much of their relationship, and felt that the not talking about some of the issues was a bit forced. There were a few other things that just didn't do it for me. Once or twice we were told that one of them made a comment or said something that the other one reacted to, but not what it was. Very very odd, it certainly didn't help the flow of the story. Other aspects of the story line and people's assumptions were introduced in a way that didn't feel natural and didn't really flow.

I was also irritated by a section of the story that dealt with child birth. Despite being in New Zealand, the whole thing was handled by a doctor, which, unless there are serious issues, is pretty much unheard of over here. It seemed to be based entirely on tv shows, and ones set somewhere else at that.

I really did want to enjoy this, but didn't. It was almost there, but not quite. With a bit of polishing it could probably be much better. The author, Anya Forrest has another book out and another on the way. I may give them a go, just to see if with a bit of experience they pick up, as I really would like to 'like' this Kiwi author.

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