Monday, January 12, 2009

A Cradle-Robbing Christmas by Veronica Wilde

TITLE: A Cradle-Robbing Christmas
AUTHOR: Veronica Wilde
PUBLISHER: Liquid Silver Books
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 27k)
GENRE: Contemporary erotic romance
COST: $4.75

Divorcee Gillian McKutcheon just wants to make her son’s Christmas just like every other one before it – even though she’s strapped for cash because of her jerk ex-husband, everyone in town feels sorry for her for getting dumped, and she’s lonely for some genuine affection. Then Santa drops Logan Chase, her son’s slightly older friend with a secret crush that’s not so secret anymore, under her Christmas tree…

I had a pleasant enough experience with this author the first time I read her, so I thought I’d try her again, even though I wondered what new territory she might explore since she’s written the younger/older dynamic so much before. I have to admit, though, I hate the title. It doesn’t have either a sexy or a romantic connotation for me. Since I’d hope for either one or the other in an erotic romance, it didn’t bode well as a start.

The story does manage to rise a little above its unsatisfying title, but not by much. The sweetness and sexiness I found in Wilde’s earlier work was missing, which is more than a little odd considering this is a Christmas story and those practically beg for sweetness. The sex scenes felt very by the number, with some word choices pulling me out of them. I also never really connected to either character very much. Logan is excessively somber and mature for his twenty-one years, while Gillian’s focus on material things – an accusation that gets leveled at her by her ex-husband, too – rubs me the wrong way. I know intellectually she’s merely compensating for a lack of emotional ties within her life, but on a reactive level, it grated. Her need to buy an expensive gift for her son for Christmas is fairly indicative of the way she treats the rest of her life.

There’s also a lot of dancing around more serious issues that never really get followed through on. For instance, Gillian’s ex is a functional alcoholic and there are hints that her son is starting to follow in his father’s footsteps. Logan briefly touches on his abandonment issues, but only as a justification to show her how self-aware he is. These contribute to a sense of drama that always lingers in the wings. You know it’s there, and you keep waiting for it to come onstage, but the curtains open and close and it never steps out. It doesn’t necessarily make this a bad read. It does, however, make it a forgettable one.


7/10 – Mostly smooth, just a few lines pull me out of the fantasy and into the unsexy


5/10 – Sweet enough, but too serious


5/10 – A little too one-note and a shade too materialistic for my liking

Entertainment value

6/10 – Diverting but not memorable

World building

7/10 – Solid enough for what’s there



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