Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"Sweet Misfortune: A Novel" by Kevin Alan Milne is wholesome but just OK

Sophie was engaged to Garrett but he dumped her just before the wedding and refused to tell her why. Now Garrett has returned a year later and wants Sophie to go out with him so he can explain (and try to win her back). Sophie agrees if she gets 100 responses to a classified ad that show lasting happiness.

From the description, I expected a light-hearted romantic comedy but it is not. There is a lot of sadness in the book. Sophie has been carrying around a lot of hurt and guilt since she was 9 years old. Despite seeing a counselor in her childhood and everyone telling her it was not her fault, she still feels guilty.

The best thing I can say about this book is that it is G rated: you could give this book to your mother or your daughter or pretty much anyone and not worry about bad language or sex. According to the website, Center Street publishes “wholesome entertainment, helpful encouragement and books of traditional values.” This book fits their criteria: there are several scattered and general references to providence and/or God but not enough to bother someone who isn’t religious. I probably would have enjoyed it more if it had been an all-out Christian fiction novel with the characters turning to God for emotional and spiritual healing. But this is good for people who want the wholesomeness without the religion.

I think the author wanted to write something like a Nicholas Sparks-type book but it didn’t have enough of an emotional impact on me to fit into that category. This is partly because I didn’t like the two main characters enough to care about them but mostly because I didn’t believe the characters would act they way they did. And what bothered me most about the book is that the characters don’t grow emotionally over the course of the book. The ending isn’t the result of character development but some outside influence that felt like a cheap gimmick.

This isn’t a bad book and there will be many readers who enjoy it. But I didn’t think it was a very good book so I gave it a middling rating.

One more thought:  you can tell this book was written by a guy because there is all this talk about chocolate and not one recipe.  Who writes a book about making sweets these days without including at least one recipe?  Apparently guys do.

I received this book from Amazon Vine for purposes of writing a review.

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