Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Reason to Believe by Leslie Ann Dennis

TITLE: Reason to Believe
AUTHOR: Leslie Ann Dennis
PUBLISHER: Wild Rose Press
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 53k)
GENRE: Contemporary romance
COST: $6.00

If there’s one word Lane Douglas hates, it’s “tradition.” But even though she thinks it’s crazy, when her ailing grandfather begs her to go to Scotland to save the tree he is convinced is tied to his life, she complies. The man responsible for the tree’s care, however, is nothing like she expected. He might be young and gorgeous, but Conlan MacGregor is as steeped in tradition as her grandfather. They shouldn’t have anything in common…except for the physical attraction neither one of them can deny.

I have to admit, this review is hard for me. It’s not because I’m afraid of what I’m about to say. It’s because I’m not exactly sure how to articulate why it is this book didn’t work for me.

The elements were there. Scottish hero. A smart heroine. A slightly quirky premise. But by the end of the second chapter, I was already trudging along, struggling to stay engaged with the story. There weren’t glaring editorial problems, or at least, nothing I can remember. There wasn’t dialogue that grated, except for maybe the fact that Conlan turned everything into a “Well, do you know what that means?” kind of discussion. Lane didn’t annoy me, because her reactions in the beginning seem reasonable, if more than a little predictable.

So how do I pinpoint where the story went wrong for me? I think part of it lands with my inability to accept Conlan as the hero. I never believed him. It started when he was practically introduced. He asked Lane for a wrench because he was working on a leaky pipe. Brits don’t use the word “wrench” in that context. They call them spanners. At that point, I went and checked the author’s bio, because if the author was British, then I was going to have to admit that maybe somewhere in rural Scotland, they used American terminology. But no, she’s not, so my suspension of disbelief lost its footing. Conlan’s constant commenting on not understanding Lane’s American slang seemed overdone and farfetched as well. He even professed not to understand a reference to Twenty Questions, which actually started out as a British game (albeit in Dickens’ time, it was called something else).

I always got the impression that Conlan was an amalgam of every hero stereotype under the sun. Scottish? Check. Laird of a castle? Check. Drives a Jaguar and is rich enough to own a helicopter? Check and check. Considerate enough not to want to have meaningless sex? The list goes on.

The biggest sign the story didn’t work for me was realizing two hours after finishing it that I couldn’t even remember the heroine’s name. Not a good sign. Sadly, it pretty much describes my whole experience with this particular book. Forgettable.


7/10 – The constant throwing out of folklore, combined with instances that didn’t feel authentic, made it a less than ideal read.


4/10 – Felt like every stereotype lumped together into one.


5/10 – I never got much of a sense of what attracted Conlan to her except the physical.

Entertainment value

3/10 – Bored mostly. A couple hours after I was done, I remembered very little about the whole thing except…feeling bored.

World building

6/10 – Several of the details of the Scottish world felt off which detracted from the atmosphere



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