My Hero, by Marianna Jameson

>> Monday, February 15, 2010

TITLE: My Hero
AUTHOR: Marianna Jameson

PAGES: 384

SETTING: Contemporary US
TYPE: Straight romance
SERIES: I don't think so

REASON FOR READING: Random pick up from my TBR -see below!

Romance writer Miranda Lane is famous for her sensitive heroes, but her new editor wants something different: a tough cop who's sexy as Hell and twice as hot. But cops leave Miranda cold—until she encounters Stamford detective Chas Casey. Arrestingly handsome, this Connecticut Yankee packs the kind of heat Miranda needs.

Intrigued by this sexy, sharp-tongued writer who's full of fire one minute and cool as a breeze the next, Chas tolerates Miranda's off-beat research tactics with one goal in mind: seduction.

Chas is the perfect research subject - until he steals Miranda's heart. A specialist in drive-by romance, Chas doesn't do commitment. But Miranda doesn't do casual, so she ends their affair, underestimating the steep, unexpected cost of that plot twist in her life story.

When his involvement in her research costs Chas a coveted promotion, a shaken Miranda writes her way back into his heart knowing their love story will never end.
My Hero was my first read while on holiday in Uruguay. When I went back last year I mainly read from my keeper shelf, after being away from it for over a year, but this year I decided to tackle the TBR I left behind when I moved to England. I decided to go for stuff I wasn't too sure about and be ruthless about it. If it wasn't capturing my attention, I'd just stop and go for another one.

I started My Hero with that mindset and after a very slightly rocky start, I soon knew there was no danger it'd turn into a DNF.

The rocky start was due to a bit of an iffy setup. Miranda Lane is a romance writer known for her dreamy beta heroes. She's got a new editor now, though, a brash, opinionated woman who demands Miranda completely rewrite her latest (due to come out in a matter of months). If she doesn't change her kind Southern gentleman hero into an alpha Northern cop (and make the book a LOT steamier), then the book won't come out at all. Unfortunately, the new editor means it, not to mention that she's known as a bit of a magician who can turn authors into superstars, so after a bit of convincing by her agent, Miranda reluctantly decides to go ahead with the rewrite.

Now, let's stop right there. Does this sort of thing actually happen, or is it as preposterous as it sounds? I mean, I could understand and editor asking the author to amp up or tone down some element, or possibly even any of the changes I described above in isolation, but this is pretty much writing a completely different book, just because the editor has some hangups. But oh, well, moving on.

When she receives these news, Miranda just happens to be visiting a friend in Connecticut, a perfect place to do some research and try to understand this "type" that's so foreign and unlikeable to her, the alpha male. And it just so happens that, although the local police force reject her formal request to interview one of its cops, Miranda has already met Detective Chas Cassidy through some friends. Chas is very attracted to Miranda, in spite of her standoffish attitude, and he agrees to help her with her research.

I think my favourite thing about My Hero was its lack of predictability. At first sight, both Miranda and Chas are familiar characters. Miranda's past has given her a distrust and dislike for alphas, most especially cops, and Chas is the scion of a very wealthy family, who hate him being a cop and constantly pressure him to join the family business instead. So quite a few times, I thought the story and characters were ready to head into well-worn, commonplace territory, but it always turned out that Jameson would immediately veer off into something a lot more original and which I tended to like quite a bit better than what I'd been expecting. It meant that both Miranda and Chas (and therefore, their relationship) turned out to be quite subtly drawn and to have plenty of depth, and this made them real.

Something else I wasn't expecting was the fact that My Hero is a plain, straight contemporary romance. From the back cover, I thought it was going to be a romantic suspense. With Chas being a cop, and involved in several cases during the book, I kept half expecting one of them to somehow endanger Miranda there at the end... visions of her being kidnapped by the baddie and this making Chas realise he loves her, etc. But this is not at all what happens. See what I mean about the book not going in the directions I expected? Instead, the cases were either background into Chas' life (he's a cop, and he clearly works), or, in the case of another of the investigations, provides insight and development into his relationship with his family and his decision to join the police. This element, by the way, was yet another thing that went in a direction that was completely different to and much better than the one I was expecting.

I think this is intended to be a celebration of the true alpha, the non-Neanderthal kind, the type who is tough and a clear leader but is also kind. To me, Chas was more a mix of alpha and beta (I think some people call that an omega?) than a proper alpha, but never mind, he was just lovely and I enjoyed it. He deserved to be celebrated!

MY GRADE: A very excellent B+.


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