Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Delighting Miss Daisy by Abbey MacInnis

TITLE: Delighting Miss Daisy
AUTHOR: Abbey MacInnis
PUBLISHER: Wild Rose Press
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 29k)
GENRE: Contemporary romance
COST: $3.00

Daisy Porter doesn’t want to see her town papered with sleazy beer flyers, especially where children can see them, but her crusade to take them down gets derailed by her unexpected attraction to the businessman behind them…

Normally, I don’t buy books in the middle of a series if I haven’t read the first books. I’m far too obsessive to read things out of order. But this particular series looked different. It looked too much like all the books were standalones, and that it was just a bunch of authors writing romances that happened to all be set in this small Texas town. That’s true, to a degree. I think my problem is, I picked the wrong one to get a flavor of it, and now I’m definitely not bothering with the rest of them.

The problems start almost immediately. The heroine’s name is Daisy Porter. When she introduces herself to Sam, the hero, on the fifth page of the story, she calls herself “Delia Porter.” Now, it’s entirely possible that her real name is Delia and Daisy is a nickname, but that’s never stated in this story. In fact, the prose refers to her as Delia several more times in the next few pages, before switching back to Daisy, and Daisy she stays until the end of the story. I realize authors often will change character names, but one of the two leads? Not catching that kind of a mistake is just lazy editing. And if it’s not a mistake, that’s even worse because there is absolutely no explanation anywhere for the Delia name. It completely jolted me out of the story and makes it entirely too clear it’s not meant to be a standalone. Then, when it starts headhopping, I just about give up hope.

I can forgive headhopping when the story or writing is good, but in this case, it’s just not. The author has a tendency to write something in exposition, and then repeat it in dialogue, like this:

Daisy grasped the wooden rail of the porch for support. Her knees felt weak. The honesty in his words hit the bull'seye of her heart, shattering it into shards. How could he know what that hurt feels like?

Daisy turned her face away, not wanting him to see more of her vulnerability. She reached for anger, used it as a shield. "How in the hell do you know of what this feels like? Don't even try to pretend that you have a clue."

And yes, that’s a direct quote, complete with misspelling. But the repetition of her thoughts in dialogue is tedious, and worse, it happens throughout the entire story. A character thinks something, then says it, thinks something, then says it. There is no sense of pacing whatsoever.

It doesn’t help that I don’t like either one of the leads. Daisy is mean and bitchy, lashing out at random intervals. Her behavior gets explained later on – by some of the most melodramatic history I’ve read in a long time – but by then, it’s too late. I already think she’s an awful person, and I really don’t care that she’s been hurt or suffered tragedy. Sam doesn’t fare much better with his complete lack of real motivations for most of his actions, but at least he’s not a jerk.

So I’m going back to my rule, no matter what. No coming into the middle of series. Ever. It never works out.


4/10 – Poor editing, clumsy dialogue, and melodramatic characters make this tedious


4/10 – Personality all over the place, and no good reason to believe he’d ever pursue a relationship with the bitch of a heroine


2/10 – Mean-spirited and bitchy, all the tragedy in the world won’t make me like her

Entertainment value

2/10 – Drudgery to read, I only finished it because it was short.

World building

5/10 – The author attempts to incorporate all these other characters in the small Texas town, but it feels too shoehorned.



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