Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Love At First Flight, by Marie Force - Review

Here's a solid contemporary with a lot to love. An airport, if you think about it, is a place of infinite possibilities, of thousands of stories beginning and ending every day. Two strangers, both engaged, cross paths in an airport on their way to their "other half." The trip doesn't work out so well for either engagement, and when Julianna and Michael arrive back in DC, a friendship begins that quickly turns into more.

What I really liked about these two characters is the way they take care of each other. There is an art to that, to doing small things for each other without thinking, with pleasure even, because you know the other will appreciate it. Julianna is a nurturing person, with everyone around her, and that's just what Michael needs. For his part, Michael offers Julianna a helping hand when she needs it, and some space to be an adult, even when he would prefer to get closer.

Something that's a little different about this romance is that the characters expend a fair amount of page count disentangling themselves from previous relationships. I think this worked OK here, and is probably a better reflection of 21st century dating than the mafia-trial side plot which, while well-executed, was a little bit canned. Viewers of any given daytime soap in the last 30 years will no doubt recognize it and perhaps find themselves skimming a bit.

On the downside, there were a few places where word choice struck a tinny note. Attention authors: your hero should never whine. No matter what. In one word, Michael's attractiveness dropped a measurable notch for me. Overall, while Michael is everything a modern girl might want-- successful, charming, & handsome-- he's a little bit passive for my tastes (maybe I'm just be too used to vampires these days, I dunno). Then Julianna makes a decision that's just so screamingly wrong, the book *almost* hit the wall.

Of course, all is redeemed in the end. Love at First Flight is sweet, tender, modern romance, with likeable, real characters that might have you looking at your next airline ticket with a new sparkle in your eye.

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