Those of you looking for books focusing mostly on romance will likely enjoy Getting Lucky. The fifth installment in Marilyn Pappano’s Bethlehem series has a yummy hero and a pretty good heroine, but there’s just a little something missing.
Ben Foster comes to Bethlehem to meet the daughter he never knew, Alanna Dalton. Alanna’s mother has drug and alcohol issues, and Alanna lives with her aunt, uncle, brother, and sister in Bethlehem. The death of Ben’s grandmother, the woman who raised him, is the catalyst for him to seek out Alanna. That and the desire to do right by her. While he stays in Bethlehem, he takes a job working for Lynda Barone, a business woman in town known as the Ice Queen. Lynda and Ben are total opposites, and therefore immediately attracted to each other. Can this relationship work? Well, it’s a romance; of course it can work.
Like most heroines known as ice queens, Lynda really isn’t. She doesn’t really know how to relate to men other than in a business setting, and business is her life. She finds herself attracted to Ben and doesn’t quite know how to handle it. Lynda’s got a strong personality with a streak of shyness in it when it comes to men. Her strength of personality causes her to come across as hard at times, and her shyness makes her seem aloof.
Ben is described as a bad boy and his past actions surely qualify for that, but I thought he came across more as a southern gentleman. Ben is very straightforward about himself but has conflicting feelings about Alana. He’s not at all conflicted about his feelings about Lynda though – he wants her, and makes sure that he will be there when she decides she wants him.
Ben’s patient willingness to wait for Lynda is one of the things that makes this love story less than combustible. The attraction is there, the sex seems to be pretty good for them, but they both seem to lack passion. Ben and Lynda’s relationship is one between equals. Neither is stronger than the other although they can both be hardheaded, but neither of them seems willing to take charge of the relationship and really reach out to the other.
Pappano usually tackles some social issue in her Bethlehem books, and this one is no exception. During the book, Ben wrestles with the problem of how he’s going to – or if he should at all – approach Alanna and what would be best for the girl. He makes no excuses for abandoning Alanna and her mother, but he does regret it. Lynda’s reaction to this secret from Ben’s past and how it affects their relationship also figures into the mix. I would have liked to see a little more time spent on the issue of Ben and Alanna. I know there’s more coming with this issue in the next book, but it would have added a little meat to this story.
Alanna and her family as well as several other couples are returning characters from Pappano’s previous novels set in Bethlehem, and it’s nice to see them again. And as always, angels are around to help the mortals find their way.
This is one of those reviews that was really hard to write. Taken individually, the characters were likable, the romance was pleasant, and it was nice to see Nathan, Emilie and Alanna again. Yet there was something missing, a spark of life in the characters that would have made Getting Lucky better than average. It’s not a bad book by any means, but neither is it unforgettable. The next book in the series though, looks like it will be something to remember. It features Lynda’s best friend, Melina, and her one night stand from this book, Sebastian Knight. Melina has that spark of life in spades, and I’m looking forward to seeing how she handles Sebastian.