Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Second Guessing Fate

AUTHOR: Claire Robyns

PUBLISHER: Carina Press

RELEASE DATE: 9/26/11; 153 pages; digital e-book.

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Claire Robyns writes perfect love scenes. Whenever catering company owner Gemma meets with recently jilted business mogul Nick, the reader is treated to a tryst containing just the right proportions of steam and sensitivity.

The book starts when Gemma’s friend Helen takes her to a psychic, Madam Hooch. Helen’s devotion to and faith in Hooch’s predictions are a little hard to believe, until they begin to come true for Gemma. Upon leaving Hooch’s office, Gemma and Helen have a wreck in Helen’s car. Nick is the driver of the other car, and their first date is an attempt to bribe Nick so he will not go after Helen. One thing leads to another, and after some hemming and hawing on Gemma’s part, Robyns brings the couple together for the first of her stellar bedroom narratives.

The lovemaking both thrills Gemma and causes more problems for her. Madam Hooch predicts Gemma and Nick's meeting, but also says Nick must dump her before she can meet her true love. This leads to some hilarious scenes reminiscent of How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days. Robyns also drops references to Shakespeare and has Nick's barroom buddies tell him to become a "beta male," i.e., a man who listens to his partner and sees things from her point of view. This is an oversimplified version of masculinity and gender roles, but I applaud it anyway. I named myself the Chick Lit Guy, for goodness sake- I talk about gender roles so much it even makes me sick.

Robyns handles the psychic element well, making it part of the story without it seeming like a gimmick. Watching Nick and Gemma evolve is a pleasure- Nick becomes more sensitive while Gemma learns to trust other people. Robyns's references to literature and feminist thought show that she is astute, well-read, and progressive. I look forward to reading her again, and I am glad I had the chance to read Second Guessing Fate.

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