I recall reading a few Fern Michaels books about 20 years ago and enjoying them. They were romance novels, but with something more to them. A mystery, of sorts, surrounding the romance. I’ve long moved on from the romance genre, but the Mr. and Miss Anonymous book description intrigued me. And, remembering I enjoyed this author in the past, I decided to give it a try.
I found the premise of the book to be great. College kids giving sperm and egg “donations” to pay for their tuition, then regretting it later in life. Seemed plausible. I was almost instantly drawn into the story, and needed to find out the ending, even though the writing was absolutely awful. I either didn’t have very high standards when I was younger, or this author’s style has taken a nosedive over the years.
Again, the story itself was gripping. Unfortunately I can’t tell you much about it lest I give things away. But I was very interested in how things all worked out. It was just painful to get there. I’m not usually very picky when I’m reading. I don’t need everything to be grounded in utter reality, I don’t mind if the characters act in ways normal people wouldn’t act, and I don’t need everything to happen in the “real world” way. So I don’t think it was just a matter of my preference. I think it was more a case of bad writing.
In all books, authors need to get points across to the readers, as well as from one character to another. This is where the book fell apart. Things were all just a little bit too coincidental. When characters were in a bind, they’d simply think long and hard and the answers would come to them. When the reader needed to learn something, the author would have one character state it to the other, even if the conversation would never happen in real life.
I’ll give you an example. Let’s suppose you and I are characters in a book, and we run an illegal gambling operation. Now suppose it’s time for the reader to learn about the operation and about our involvement in it. Here’s how the dialog would go if it were in this book:
Me: You think no one knows you’re involved in an illegal gambling operation, where you collect money from unsuspecting folks by promising almost perfect odds?
You: No, I suppose I didn’t realize the reporter knew that, or that we hide the money by funneling it through my mother’s cupcake shop!
Me: Yeah, she’s really something. I wonder if she’ll also be able to figure out that we use the private plane to move the cupcakes with the money baked inside of them?
This is really not a very inventive way of letting the reader in on the secret. This conversation simply wouldn’t happen between two criminals.
When all else failed, a dead person’s spirit would appear and tell the characters how to act.
If I had to guess, I’d say the author had a heck of a good idea in her mind, but once she put pen to paper didn’t know how to take the reader from point A to point B. Consequently it was all a little too tidy. But again, I can’t stress enough how much I wanted to continue reading, even with its flaws! The ending was also tidy, and a bit too quick to resolve, but was satisfying nonetheless.
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