I’ve been reading more and more contemporary romances lately, although that development is not necessarily by conscious choice. I haven’t been seeing as many historical romances among the new releases (and I’ve already read most of the ones of note that are available), and I’ve mostly cured myself of any desire to read one of the more popular historical romance tropes: the rake whose wicked ways are tamed by the innocent miss/bluestocking/respectable widow/spinster. Also, I’ve been seeing a lot of interesting-seeming contemporary romances cropping up lately. Undone features a particularly well-crafted publisher’s blurb, and I decided to read it just to find out what was meant by, “Why wearing red shoes makes a girl a harlot.”
The publisher’s blurb, courtesy of Goodreads:
Things Paige Morrison will never understand about Mirabelle, Florida:
Why wearing red shoes makes a girl a harlot
Why a shop would ever sell something called “buck urine”
Why everywhere she goes, she runs into sexy-and infuriating-Brendan King
After losing her job, her apartment, and her boyfriend, Paige has no choice but to leave Philadelphia and move in with her retired parents. For an artsy outsider like Paige, finding her place in the tightly knit town isn’t easy-until she meets Brendan, the hot mechanic who’s interested in much more than Paige’s car. In no time at all, Brendan helps Paige find a new job, new friends, and a happiness she wasn’t sure she’d ever feel again. With Brendan by her side, Paige finally feels like she can call Mirabelle home. But when a new bombshell drops, will the couple survive, or will their love come undone?
A lot of things about this book gave me the warm fuzzies. I happen to be a fan of small-town romances with a rich cast of secondary characters — and Undone has plenty of those — and I happen to like romances that allow the hero to fall in love before the heroine (such a fantasy, that). I also appreciated Undone for allowing some of the female characters to talk about something besides boys (though it was kind of irritating that the excerpts of conversation shown between Paige and her best friend Abby relate exclusively to Brendan).
Undone is chock full of charming humor, much of it deriving from the antics of the secondary characters, from the crazy lady who lives next door to Paige’s parents to the kooky characters who work at the funeral home. There is also a lot of fun banter in the dialogue throughout much of the book.
The general story line, big city girl falls on hard times and ends up finding happiness, a sense of purpose, and love in a small town, makes for a pleasant read, and I was willing to forgive a lot of the book’s rough edges because it’s a debut novel. Despite what I’ll be saying in the next few paragraphs, I intend to read the next book in the Country Roads series. The teaser excerpt for that book, Undeniable, did an excellent job whetting my appetite, and I’m looking forward to spending some more time with these characters.
The pacing in this book was a little strange. The story meanders through the days and weeks of Paige’s life in Mirabelle, but it doesn’t exactly have a clear story to tell. The basic plot is girl has bad day, meets boy, flirts, gets job, starts dating boy, makes some friends, goes on more dates with boy, girl and boy have sexy times, girl has run in with unsavory fellow, girl and boy shack up, crazy neighbor is crazy, girl and boy get all committed, girl has family issues, the big secret explodes, girl and boy don’t handle it well, boy goes drinking, shenanigans ensue, girl comes to her senses, tragedy strikes but is very conveniently averted, the end. There are two clear and completely unrelated villains in the piece, and the story line for one of the villains sort of gets resolved, but the other one doesn’t. At all. It was just a bit strange.
Then there were some distracting homophone mix-ups. Keep in mind: I was reading an ARC, so it’s entirely possible that the peeked/peaked your/you’re issues will have been cleaned up in the final printed text, but I kept getting this song stuck in my head (and it’s all about me).
The bottom line, though, is that Undone is a fun and fairly strong debut, and I’m looking forward to more from Shannon Richard.
Undone was released on July 2, 2013 as an e-book and mass market paperback by Forever. If you’re interested in finding out more about the book, click on the cover image above to view the book’s page on Goodreads. For more information about Shannon Richard, visit her website.
*FTC Disclosure – I received an e-galley of this book from Forever via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*