>> Friday, April 08, 2016
SHE KNOWS BETTER THAN TO SAY “I DO”Sidney Sinclair has just come out of a relationship with a man she thought was 'the one', but who turned out to be a cheating bastard. She's very clear that she's ready for marriage and starting a family, so she's pretty dismayed that she's just lost years with this guy and has to start again. She's definitely not intending to waste any time with men who're not in the same place she is.
After a humiliating end to her engagement, investment banker Sidney Sinclair is done with commitment-phobic men. But when her sister winds up engaged after a whirlwind courtship, Sidney is thrown into close contact with exactly the kind of sexy playboy she wants to avoid—the gorgeous best man. She’s stuck with him, for better or worse, until her sister walks down the aisle, but that doesn’t mean she has to give in to his smooth advances, no matter how tempting they are…
BUT HE MAKES IT HARD TO SAY “I DON’T”
Special agent Vaughn Roberts always gets his man on the job and his woman in bed. So Sidney’s refusal to fall for his charms only makes him more determined to win over the cool and confident redhead. Only what starts out as a battle of wills ends up as a serious play for her heart. Because the one woman who refuses to be caught may be the only one Vaughn can’t live without...
When Vaughan Roberts approaches her and tries to chat her up in a coffee shop, it's obvious to her he's one such time-waster. She makes it crystal-clear to him she's not interested, and exactly why. But it turns out that Vaughan's brother is getting married to Sidney's sister. In fact, that's why they were both in the same coffee shop; their siblings wanted to introduce the best man and maid of honour to each other. Before long, the proximity makes it difficult to resist the attraction.
The last couple of Julie James books have seen me falling a little bit out of love with her work. I still enjoy the books. I like her competent, professional heroines who feel much more modern than many romance heroines. I like the character-driven plots. I like the writing. All that said, the books are not resonating with me as they used to.
That was the case here. You can take it as read that all the usual stuff I like about this author's books was there. I did enjoy it. However, there were several niggles.
One of the main issues was that I found Sidney less interesting than I usually find James' heroines. She felt too perfect. There's work. Yes, I really appreciate James showing us women who are very good at high-powered careers, are confident in their own competence (and with good reason) and have no issues going for what they want at work. But usually James does more with their work. She'll look at issues of work-life balance, have her heroines deal with a little bit of adversity, something. For Sidney, her worklife is perfect. Period. She's a director at a private equity firm, she loves the work and has no issues at all with work-life balance. She's preternaturally good at what she does, to the point that she's almost fool-hardy in her confidence in her investment choices (but of course, that all works out exactly as planned, so she was 100% right). She's just as perfect on the personal front. She wants to meet a man to settle down with, she comes up with a list of criteria, she applies it and it works exactly as intended. She doesn't need to do anything, just wait for Vaughn to realise that he does fit the first of those criteria and does want to commit.
I guess I also didn't quite get why there was this vibe that Vaughn was doing something wrong with his life before he turned into Sidney's dream man. So he doesn't want to settle down; what's wrong with that? He's honest about it and doesn't jerk women around. But the vibe is that he must be made to realise the error of his ways.
The other issue I had was that everyone here is very affluent and there doesn't seem to be any awareness of their own privilege. I would appreciate some acknowledgment of this. I think the problem is that I've always identified a quite bit with James' heroines, so as I change (I've said it before, I'm doing the opposite of what conventional wisdom would predict and becoming more and more left-wing as I grow older), I feel annoyed at characters who feel like me some years ago.
MY GRADE: I'm still mostly enjoying these books, but a little bit less than I used to. A B-.