Monday, March 10, 2008

Desert of Desire by Dara Edmondson

TITLE: Desert of Desire
AUTHOR: Dara Edmondson
PUBLISHER: The Wild Rose Press
LENGTH: Short story (roughly 8k)
GENRE: Contemporary romance
COST: $1.50

Buzz Magazine reporter, Eve Mason, is assigned to interview reclusive author Red Calloway, but that means traveling across the country to Arizona and leaving New York City behind. She is taken aback by the beauty of the west, and even more by the gorgeous gardener…

There’s not a whole lot I can say about this. While there is nothing technically wrong, there’s not anything exciting about the story either. Reading it felt distinctly like picking up one of my mother-in-law’s women’s magazines and reading the romances they publish. Safe. Sweeping in a short space. Walking the middle of the road so evenly it doesn’t garner anything of interest whatsoever.

It’s clear from the prose that the author is trying to use the beauty of the desert and the Grand Canyon to suck a reader into the romance, but her description isn’t nearly evocative enough to compensate for an overnight romance that has no basis in anything except the fact the author says they’re interested in each other. There is more time spent describing the plants and the scenery than there is developing any kind of real relationship. I can’t even believe that the few conversations we do get to witness can really build anything. Eve is bitchy to Red almost from the start. I have no clue why he falls for her.

It can’t be because she’s smart. For one thing, Eve assumes from the start that Red is gay. I have no idea why. Because he’s a gardener? If there was supposed to be some hint in the bio she read on him prior to jumping to that conclusion, the author failed to tell us about it. So Eve flies out to Arizona and automatically assumes that the man who answers the phone and ushers her in is his lover. It’s probably meant to introduce some kind of conflict within the story – that she’s falling for a gay man – but that is banished fairly quickly. Within 24 hours, these two have had sex – oops, sorry, made love – and he wants her to drop everything in NYC to come out to Arizona to be with him. Everything is glossed over and rushed.

In the end, this is a Reader’s Digest version of what someone thinks a full-length romance should be. Flat prose, flat characters, flat storytelling. Pass.


7/10 – Technically solid, but nothing exciting


5/10 – Bland and forgettable


4/10 – Bitchy and illogical

Entertainment value

4/10 – Boring, simplistic, and unbelievable

World building

6/10 – Some attempts are made to bring the desert to life, but there’s no fire in the descriptions.



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