Thursday, March 13, 2014

Two of a Kind by Yona Zeldis McDonough

3 Star

Ten years after losing her husband, Christina Connelly has worked through the pain, focusing on raising her teenage daughter and managing her small decorating business. But her romantic life has never recovered. Still, it’s irksome to be set up with arrogant, if handsome, doctor Andy Stern at her friend’s wedding. If he wasn’t also a potential client, needing his Upper East Side apartment redesigned, she would write him off.

This is never going to work, Andy thinks. Still grieving his wife and struggling with a troubled son, he’s not looking for a woman, and certainly not someone as frosty and reserved as Christina. Their relationship will be strictly business. Yet to everyone’s surprise—including their own—these two find themselves falling in love.

But if reconciling with their pasts is difficult, blending their lives and children to create a new family is nearly impossible. They’ve been given a second chance…but can they overcome all the obstacles in the way of happily ever after?

Rebecca - 3 Star

I’ve been putting off writing this review, mostly because I have mixed feelings about this book which makes writing a coherent review that doesn’t contradict itself tricky. I had reservations from the outset; really this isn’t my sort of book but I thought I’d read it with an open mind and see how I got on because, well it’s good to try new things right?

The first niggle I encountered was that the love interest Andy is a doctor and the implication is that this fact alone makes him desirable and somehow in a different league to Christina who is merely an interior decorator. Now no disrespect to my lovely husband who is a doctor but I don’t think we really still live in an era where women still go weak at the knees simply because somebody went to med school.  I’ve dated enough medics in my time to be absolutely certain they are just blokes and quite a lot of them are more boring than the average guy on the street. But putting that to one side I think McDonough writes really well, in particular her characterization is superb, even minor parts are really convincing and colourful, and I was for a time swept up in the story.

And then came the moment Andy rescues a kitten out of a tree. Yep; a little girl’s kitten out of a tree. I could scarcely believe what I was reading! Short of a knight rescuing a princess from a fire breathing dragon, a more clichéd demonstration of manliness and compassion I don’t believe you could find and I had an almost physical reaction. Yuk! Actually that wasn’t what I said. What I really said isn’t polite enough to post but after this point I really struggled to take the book seriously, which is a shame as McDonough tackles some tricky issues such as anorexia and drug-taking head on and handles them expertly, and the love story between Christina and Andy is rather charming. 

After the closing chapters I mostly felt perplexed; how can an author who writes so convincingly, be so willing to rely on such clichéd plots and dated attitudes? Maybe her readership doesn’t mind, but unfortunately I do.

Thank you to NAL for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

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