Falling For You
Even though I often refer to my sister Anne as The Pickiest Reader In The World, there is one type of book where I am picker than she is – romantic comedy. I love all kinds of comedy and am not the type of woman to turn up her nose as slapstick. That said, I cannot abide ditzy, perky, so-cute-they-make-Meg-Ryan-look-like-a-frump heroines. Rory St. Claire in Falling For You is cute and perky, but she isn’t stupid or ditzy, and the rest of the characters are equally delightful. The book itself has a well-worn plot wherein a stuffy rich man falls for a free-spirited girl from the wrong side of town, but the charming characters make the story fresh and lots of fun to read.
Rory St. Claire lives with her sister and brother in Galveston where she works as a tour guide with Captain Bobby’s tours. She and her siblings want to fix up the old, crumbling, supposed to be haunted family mansion and turn it into a bed and breakfast. But for that they need money. Enter stuffy banker.
Oliver Chancellor is Old Money Galveston who has always followed the proper Chancellor path. From his college to his clothing to the parties he attends, he always does the appropriate thing, right down to the woman he sees himself marrying, the socially acceptable Paige, who is the daughter of family friends.
Chance is working at the bank and conducting a very tepid courtship of Paige when Rory comes in and asks him to help her with the paperwork for a bank loan. As he works with Rory, Chance begins to feel like his life has him tied up in knots, and he decides he’d like to take a detour from what’s been planned for him.
No – there’s nothing new here in terms of plot. We have characters from two different worlds, we have misunderstandings both big and little, hurt feelings and lack of communication and so on…until the happy ending. Four out of five times, if I read a book like this, I would be cursing under my breath and feeling like I wasted my time, but Ms Ortolon is the fifth writer.
It’s the characters who make this book so delightful. Rory is more than just a free spirit. She has lots of good sense despite having a learning disability that makes her feel very inadequate. Actually, she is smart as can be, and is a loyal and loving woman. Her relationship with her brother and sister is particularly close, and the author gives us just enough information about them to whet our appetites for more. I loved them both and I hope they both get their own books.
Chance is strait-laced and a bit stuffy, but he never degenerates into a stock figure. He chafes at his parent’s demands, and at one point he and his father have some harsh words, but he loves them, they love him, and they all finally come to an understanding. If this had been one of those mundane romantic comedies, Chance’s parents would have been evil cardboard caricatures. Instead they are flawed but loving parents. Even Chance’s almost-fiancee Paige is not the stereotyped Selfish Society Witch – she’s a perfectly nice woman. She is simply all wrong for Chance.
I had a blast reading Falling For You, and enjoyed it so much that I’m really looking forward to her next book. As long as Julie Ortolon is writing books like this one, romantic comedy is in good hands.