Yesterday I finished reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips' HEROES ARE MY WEAKNESS.
Wow. What and awesome book. She's always awesome, and has written some of my favorite romances, and this one is now one of 'em.
Why? What makes her books so special, and this one in particular? Let me just say, she has a knack for taking a particularly unlikeable character, be the character male or female, and making him (her) not only likable, but one for whom her readers will cheer and root.
One disclaimer about my five star review of HEROES. You first have to get through the first chapter, which I admit, would not have happened if I was not already a SEP fan. In it, the heroine is doing what I considered an info-dump and a backstory dump by talking in her head in the voices of her many puppets. (The heroine is a ventriloquist) I was not only unimpressed, I was turned off. But I carried on listening in the hopes SEP would pull off another masterpiece. She did not disappoint. I tell you what, I could not put this book down. I have been so busy of late (who isn't?) that it's been ages since I have been able to start and finish a book in three days, with the bulk of the reading taking place in one day. But this one, once I was sucked into it, I could not put down.
Because she'd done it again. She'd made me root for a character who I wasn't even sure I liked. I kept wanting to know what happened that we didn't know about to explain some of his more repugnant actions. Even before I knew there would be a reasonable explanation for sure (though, let's face it, this is a romance, and SEP's slogan is something to the tune of "because life's too short for sad endings" or something to that effect :-)) I wanted the hero, Theo, to be redeemed.
The other thing I like about SEP's books is her story. By that I refer to the underlying theme an author reiterates in her work, which expresses a truth they wish to share with the world. Someone once told me a writer needs to know her truth, otherwise her work will come off as inauthentic. Since then, I've asked myself what my truth is (and I think I've discovered my truth) and I always look for other author's truths.
SEP's goes something like this (in this author's humble opinion): People are flawed and often times wounded by events in their lives. But when a person finds the "one" for him or her, that person will come into his or her life like a catalyst for good. Healing old wounds, making each other better. Additionally, SEP tells a sub-story about women. She depicts strong women who don't know they're strong. But by the end of her books, the heroine woman comes to embrace her own strength--and value. She can even walk away from her love if that's what she deems best, because she's that strong.
Lucky for us, SEP writes romance, so we know the hero and heroine will wind up together!! le sigh.
I highly recommend Susa Elizabeth Phillips' HEROES ARE MY WEAKNESS. In it you'll find a struggling ventriloquist, a wounded writer, a mute child, an abused widow, a dying town, a black cat, and lots of puppets. And love. You'll find lots of love. Happy reading.