Heaven, Texas, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

>> Friday, May 16, 2003

After reading It Had To Be You, all the reservations I had about reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips' next entry in that series, Heaven Texas, practically vanished. I knew I'd hate everyone and everything in it for the first 100 pages, and only then would I start just loving it. Ergo, I'd grit my teeth for a couple of hours and then be able to start enjoying myself. I was pretty right!

Come heck or high water, Gracie Snow is determined to track down the legendary ex-jock Bobby Tom Denton and drag him back home to Heaven, Texas, to begin shooting his first motion picture. But taming an egotistical cowboy in a '57 T-Bird might be more than this prim Ohio wallflower can handle.

Despite his dazzling good looks and killer charm, Bobby Tom has reservations about being movie star -- and no plans to cooperate with the bossy little virgins whom he can't get off his mind or out of his life. Instead, the hellraising playboy decides to make her over from plain Janet Texas wildcat.

But nothing's more dangerous than a wildcat with an angel's heart in a town too small for a bad boy to hide. And all hell breaks loose when two unforgettable people discover love, laughter, passion -- and a match that can be made only in Heaven.

Throughout the first part of the book, I was driven crazy by Bobby Tom, and how he was being so unreasonable, determined to indulge his every whim even if this meant Gracie would lose her job. I also hated how everything was tacky, tacky, and how BT treated women so condescendingly. And my first thought when we met Gracie was: "God, no! Not another 30-year-old virgin!"

Only after they got settled in Telarosa did I really start having fun. And I did, very much. SEP even made excellent use of Gracie's virginity, making it a bit o f a running joke. However, some things were a bit icky to me, like when BT tells Gracie that since he's the expert in their relationship, the way to go is for her to accept that her body is his.

I couldn't believe how much I ended up liking BT, in spite of his arrogance. I loved that he realized how lucky he was and that he was determined to share with other people. It was awful to see how everyone took advantage of him, but I understood why he didn't send them all to hell. My favourite part of the book was the ending, when he realizes he loves Gracie and goes crazy trying to prevent her from leaving him. I so like a good grovel! ;-)

The secondary storyline was great, but it could have used a bit more development. That's one of the few things that didn't completely work. The other was that SEP didn't succeed in making me like the town of Telarosa and its people (something I'm guessing she was trying for, since BT and Gracie decide to live there, in the end). I found the townspeople small-minded, judgemental and much too ready to use BT without giiving him anything in return. And the way they'd all ostracized Way Sawyer's mother! That was so awful!

My final grade for this is a B+. It's almost an A-, but the townspeople and the way "women" in general are portrayed, mostly gold-diggers desparate to get married to BT, keep it from being a real keeper.

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