Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Take Two by Danielle Bronson

TITLE: Take Two
AUTHOR: Danielle Bronson
PUBLISHER: Wild Rose Press
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 89k)
GENRE: Contemporary romance
COST: $6.00

Five years ago, Grace Ann Langley and Ty Hawthorne were the darlings of TV with their hit show, but her illness stopped production, and Grace and Ty went their separate ways. Now, the DVDs are about to hit the stores, and Grace and Ty are back together in a whirlwind press junket to promote it. The rumors about their real-life romance have never completely settled, but neither has forgotten the other. But will Ty’s money-hungry ex-wife and Grace’s overbearing father stand in their way of making it work the second time around?

I love being surprised by characters. The blurb on this seemed more like escapist fun, as show biz stories tend to be. Even the hint of the “potentially devastating secret” didn’t lead me to think it might be anything deep. The characters seemed too untouchable for that. I mean, TV stars (one of which is a Hollywood bad boy) and a Deacon (Grace’s father)? It felt like it should be glitterati fun.

But it turned out to be more than that, thanks in large part to the careful depths both lead characters display. Neither is perfect, and their flaws stem from very real problems, not just superficial Hollywood constructs. Even better, their flaws are never downplayed to pave the way to the happy ending. Grace is a recovering anorexic with severe control issues, borderline obsessive/compulsive with a lot of her behaviors. Ty has his own control problems, and deals with his – inappropriately – in as many self-destructive ways as he can find. Yet, when the two are together, those flaws seem to negate the other’s. They’re better people in each other’s company, bringing out the best in both of them, even though occasionally they also bring out the worst. It’s the basis for all the best real-life relationships I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing, and most likely is what lends such a sense of verisimilitude whenever they are on the page together. I warmed to both of them, and was hungry for them to work through all the problems that had beset them the first time around.

The problems arose with the introduction of the conflicts that are meant to keep them apart. Ty’s ex has hired a man to follow him around and get some dirt on him and Grace, in hopes of being able to extort more money from him. It underscores scenes almost from the beginning, but it’s not until things start to look good for the couple that it escalates to a point of discomfort. Layla, the ex, is painted so over the top in comparison to the rest of the characters to this point, that it’s very difficult to believe she could actually exist. There are no shades of gray to her villainy. She’s a bitch with a capital bitch, and the extent of her plans for Ty becomes so ludicrous that I hated every time she came on the scene. In fact, I can’t say that I enjoyed the last third of the book half as much as I enjoyed the first two, almost entirely because of her. The rest of my problems with the last third? Grace’s father. Throughout the story, he’s been the immovable force, one not to be crossed, putting the fear of God into everybody. The resolution to that conflict felt so easy compared to the strength of his convictions throughout the story, I couldn’t buy it. I kept waiting for him to say, “Gotcha!” and yank the rug out from beneath Grace and Ty.

Because of that problematic last third, this novel ends up scoring lower on my overall enjoyment than the characters deserve. It was a real pleasure to read such realistic people in such an unrealistic setting (because how many of us get called the First Couple of Television?). I guess I should just be happy that this is, after all, a romance.


8/10 – A couple of minor continuity issues snagged me along the way, but otherwise, a clean, surprisingly fast read


8/10 – Not cookie cutter, with real flaws in spite of his superstar status


8/10 – Far more complex than I find most heroines

Entertainment value

7/10 – The almost cartoonish villains in this and a rather glossed over climax bring down my overall enjoyment

World building

8/10 – A lot of different elements felt very real



1 comment:

ladyl_godiva said...

I'm Lisa,an Italian girl who loves reading...well Ilive for and of tromance!
I've ordered "Take Two" by Danielle Bronson after having been captivated by the story and since I've a weakness for bad boy it's been impossible to resist, no way!! ^^..and I'm waiting the delivery within few days if all goes well.
That has not held me back in finding reviews about the book before I'll get my copy and so this is why I'm writing this message to YOU.
Your review has caught my interest and since I'm a spoilers addict I hope you'll send a message me to satisfy my spoiler need...if you like to'll make my day!

What I'd like to know, first, is if "the child they conceived",talked about in the plot posted on Danielle's website, is alive or was miscarried...male or female and eventually the name.
If Ty is already married before meeting Grace.
I know, you think I could cheat the book for me, me..that's not gonna happen.^^

I've made a lot of assumptions, my imagination has taken flight.

Please, I don't wanna be a bother but you'll make me so happy answearing....!!!

You can email me to:

P.S. I'll check my email box everyday...^^


I hope my english is clear enough to understand..^^;