A Moment in Time
It’s been quite a while since I’ve read one of those impossibly unrealistic life-among-the-rich books. And, after finishing this one, I’m reminded of all the reasons why I’ve stayed away for so long.
In this book every character is either all bad or all good. Our heroine is beautiful, sweet, nicer than she should be to her toxic mother, smart, talented, kind to her senior citizen neighbor and the local gay antiques dealer, and loves animals! Our hero (even though he spends the first half of the book as a mysterious beast-type character) is rich, nice, kind to his employees, eager to fall in love with our heroine, and loves animals!
But not everyone in this book is nice. Oh, no. You’ve got the rich, snooty, society mother, the coke-head, snobby, crooked boyfriend, and, of course, the obligatory bimbo ex-wife. None of them love animals!
Valerie Rochelle, the daughter of New York aristocracy, went against her family’s wishes (her mother wanted her to go to finishing school – do they even have finishing schools anymore?) and put herself through Cornell. Now working as a vet and living near her mother in New York’s Hudson River Valley, she is summoned one night to attend an ailing horse at an estate owned by a mysterious man rumored to be a drug lord. Though she doesn’t meet the secretive Mr. Conrad and deals only with an employee she thinks looks like Mr. Clean, Val has the feeling that she’s being “watched” while she miraculously soothes said horse.
The next day, Mr. Clean telephones and requests that Val – and Val alone – tend all the dogs, cats, horses, and other four-footed residents of the estate. This request makes her co-workers jealous and her fiancée nuts.
Although Val has rebelled from her mother’s plans for her life by going to vet school, she has knuckled under by getting engaged to the man her mother thinks is Prince Charming. But as the reader quickly learns, not only does Teddy de Mornay have his nose in the air, he’s also got his head up his . . . well, you know where I’m going here.
Sadly, it takes Val a bit longer than the reader to discover Teddy’s true nature. And it’s not until an emergency call late one night from the mysterious estate that Val meets the man destined to be her real hero.
Wyndhym Ashley Conrad is recovering from serious facial injuries he received playing polo. Embittered by the abandonment of his gold digging ex-wife and convinced that the world would only be repelled by his appearance, he’s hidden himself away in his remote home. And even though he’s taking a lot of pain meds, the true light of Val’s beauty shines so brightly that the crabby beast miraculously turns overnight into a pleasant, affable guy, and, of course, Val’s true love.
Will Val and Wyn overcome the forces trying to keep them apart? Will Val ever stand up to her pushy Mom? Will good old Teddy finally get what he deserves?
Since, unlike life, the answers to all those questions are a resounding yes!, I have to admit that there is a kind of satisfaction in reading a story this formulaic. I should also say that in giving the book the grade I did, I’m weighing it against the kind of books I like from the kind of writers I like. But, when judged within its very narrow genre, I’m sure that A Moment In Time is an acceptable representation of exactly the kind of book it is. Judith Gould sells a lot of books and I’m certain there are a lot of readers out there who will react more positively than I did.
Just know that we are talking melodrama here. The hero and heroine triumph. The bad guys fail. And Val, Wyn, and their friends all love animals!