Bedspell, by Jule McBride

>> Thursday, December 15, 2005

Bedspell is my first book by author Jule McBride. It got conflicting reviews at the two sites I usually check out (a B at AAR, 2 stars at TRR), but I thought it sounded interesting.

Signe Sargent has it made in Manhattan. Fab girlfriends to hang out with, a line on a hot new job and a crush on Gorgeous Garrity, the Big Apple's #1 bachelor. Except he's not quite responding to her charms, so for fun Signe casts a love spell on him.

Amazingly that night she gets her man — in bed — for some very good sex! Problem is that next morning it's clear he's the wrong Garrity brother. James is a mere Park Ranger, no wealthy business exec. Signe wanted Frat Boy; she got Nature Boy instead. Though James is very appealing....

Meantime James can't believe how quickly he's fallen for sexy Signe after just one night together. Is it love, magic or her wacky spell that worked too well?

And what happens when the love spell wears off?
My own take on it is about halfway between those two reviews I linked to. I liked it a bit less than the AAR reviewer, but more than the TRR reviewer did. Ultimately, though it had some nice moments, it was pretty average and I'd rate it a C+.

Bedspell combines three elements I particularly like, but it doesn't really do much with them.

First, it has a relationship which starts with the sex. The first time Signe and James actually see each other is when they wake up in bed together, and only after that do they start to get to know each other. This type of plot is very hard to get right, because how do you sustain sexual tension when your hero and heroine are going at it like bunnies? Well, some authors manage to do it quite well, but this wasn't one of those cases. Signe and James were nice together, but a bit bland.

Second, it has the hero as the pursuer. After waking up together, Signe gives James the wrong name and hightails it back to New York. James is captivated by her anyway and follows her and tracks her down, even taking time off from work and paying a huge sum for this makeover thing Signe is working at in order to be able to be near her. That was quite sweet, but very soon, these two are getting along just fine together, and the only thing separating is a conflict that's shallow at best.

Finally, James is the brother of the guy Signe had a crush on, the guy Signe actually thought she was seducing when they slept together. This is a complete guilty pleasure for me, but I confess it; I actually seek out books with this plot (not this exact plot, duh, just this kind of thing -married to the wrong brother, etc). The thing is, however, that I get the feeling we're supposed to find this out very late in the book, so it's never really an issue. The only reason I knew James was a Garrity was because it says so in the blurb, but now that I think of it, there are only some vague suggestions in the actual book.

For every good part, there was another one which wasn't. The hip New York setting was nice, but Signe never even thinking of asking James for his last name stretched my suspension of disbelief. The scene in which Signe stands up for herself in front of James family was great, but the plot about the theft at the museum was silly at best (that detective following Signe around... really?).

Basically, I had an ok time reading Bedspell. Sometimes it irritated me, but only mildly, and sometimes it made me enjoy myself, but again, only mildly.


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