Change of Heart
In the Katy Perry song “Teenage Dream” she talks about how her lover makes her feel young again. While I was reading this book I was thinking about how it made me feel like I was living in an adolescent day dream – and what a horrible place that is to be when you are a grown woman.
Elijah J. Harcourt, known as Eli to friends and family, has an IQ of 200 and even before entering high school, has done some brilliant work on artificial intelligence. He has been offered the chance to attend Princeton and skip high school, something he desperately wants. The problem is he won’t leave his mother. Miranda is a “kind hearted” woman who will be taken advantage of by everyone the minute Eli leaves home.
As luck would have it, there is a solution. Two things are likely to help him make his dreams come true. One is that Eli has befriended multi-billionaire Frank Taggert. The other is that he and his good friend Chelsea Hamilton have become quite adept at manipulating circumstances to their liking. Eli and Chelsea decide that the solution to the problem is for Frank and Miranda to get married. When Frank breaks his arm and decides to stay in his remote cabin for a few weeks to recuperate, the two, (with the help of one of Frank’s brothers who thinks this whole thing a great idea) decide to arrange for Eli’s mom to be hired as Frank’s nurse. She unsuspectingly rides up the mountain to help, never knowing what really awaits her.
The cabin is empty when she gets there but she quickly settles in and begins to cook while waiting for her “patient” to get back. When he does arrive Frank, who was not expecting a nurse, demands to know who she is. “Hilarious” misunderstanding ensues :
”With those – he nodded toward her ample bosom-“you could be only one thing.”
Of course. That’s what I always think when I see a woman with large breasts as well. This insults Miranda who immediately heads off into the wild and gets lost. Frank comes after her, and in order to get the sweet scatterbrain to come in out of the cold and dangerous woods (there are bears), promises to send her son to college. My husband and I foolishly saved to send our kid to school not realizing that this was an option.
Once back in the cabin, Miranda proceeds to make everything homey and Frank falls in love and proposes marriage. Yep, folks, one day of home cooking is all it should take. Miranda says no, she doesn’t love him, and the two have an awkward morning the next day which is ironed out by her sweet nature. Then she gets lost and caught in a rainstorm and he goes to her rescue. His shirt gets wet, they take it off and she is so awed by his muscular shoulders they start kissing. They have another adventure and the kissing is moved up a few notches into love making. Miranda is super awed by that too. As a big fan of romance novels, she had read of doing some of the things they do – like foreplay- but her ex thought wives “should be good girls” and she had never done them. If you care, then Frank and Miranda have an argument when Miranda realizes that genius Frank had figured out that Eli was behind the whole thing and hadn’t told her, she storms off, Eli manages to patch things up between them and they live happily ever after.
The second half of the book then deals with the romance between Eli and Chelsea who is “not as smart as he is, of course, but near enough that he could talk to her.” Also, model beautiful. She’s got a heck of a personality, too:
”You stopped writing your best friend when you discovered big, strapping boys who could barely talk.” Her mother turned around to look at her daughter. Chelsea was home because she was hiding from her latest boyfriend – and she was in a bad mood because he hadn’t found her yet.
Of course they overcome all obstacles and get together. Both stories have a romantic big finish involving a horse. Nuff said.
Ms. Deveraux has a career spanning several decades with multiple best-sellers to her name. The ridiculous scenarios, cutesy caricatures, and whimsical plotting are not a result of poor writing but her stock in trade. Some books might be better written than others but for the most part the above defines her writing style. I didn’t grade down for a bit of it. Clearly there are readers out there who enjoy this. I would say this book falls at around average for her, so it would have gotten a C.
I did grade down for something and that is the unnatural (in my opinion) attitude towards child support displayed in this book. It is emphasized that Miranda is a wonderful, kind, generous person. It is also emphasized that she is the kind of person who would understand a man’s “need to run off with some empty-headed Barbie doll” and who would “never take a person to court for nonpayment of debt.” She let her husband off child support payments on a regular basis when she had agreed to the minimal amount to begin with as a result of the latter. It was Eli who often shamed and threatened his father into paying. This is not a kind, sweet trait. To me it is stupidity, plain and simple. It is explained that the ex liked to win and that by letting him feel like he was winning Miranda thought she got her way without a huge fight. How clever! Not really. I thinks it’s more like how doormat.
This book isn’t my cuppa for a number of reasons but the attitudes toward breaking the law and the seeming shaming done towards women who fight for their share of the marital assets had me deeply disturbed. For those reasons alone I would encourage readers to stay far, far away.