There’s just something about a Cinderella romance – the poor girl getting the prince – that’s very appealing. Or in the case of Golden Man by Evelyn Rogers, the average woman gets the too-good-to-be-true President of the United States. When a fairy tale adaptation works, it’s great. When it doesn’t, it can be horrible. Golden Man falls somewhere in the middle.
Ginny Baxter is a single mother, an employee in an auto shop who takes a tour of the White House and ends up literally falling at the President’s feet. Humiliated and treated like a criminal, she certainly never expects the gorgeous leader to ask her out!
Steven Marshell is 39 and President. He also needs a woman, or so he’s been told. So when an interesting, attractive woman inadvertently tumbles into the middle of a meeting, he decides she will be the one.
Golden Man was a book that alternately pleased and disappointed me. I liked the Cinderella plot and I liked Ginny. Her reactions, from awe of public life to dealing with horrifying invasions of privacy by the press, were believable and realistic. Despite everything that happened to her, she still made a point of putting her child first in her life. Steven wasn’t quite so easy to take. After all the recent scandals in the White House, I had a bit of difficulty with a presidential hero who asked the heroine, “Do you like my tool?” when she slid her hand down the front of his pants.
The entire book bounced back and forth between being like a Nora Ephron movie to being like a bad screwball comedy/melodrama. Ginny’s musings about the young President were cute and lusty, but were completely ruined when another woman asked why the crotch in men’s jeans always fades before the rest of the denim. It’s also worth noting that there was a very distinct similarity between Golden Man and the Michael Douglas movie The American President, complete with Steven calling Ginny to ask her out and her disbelief that he was really the President.
Of course the conflict comes from inside opposition to the match between the President and a nobody. It also stems from Ginny herself, wondering whether she can be both First Lady and a good mother to her son Jake. Jake, by the way, is a typical outspoken teenager – perfectly capable of being a selfish brat. But like any two adults in love, Steve and Ginny strive to overcome all obstacles, and eventually succeed.
Sex seems to be a preoccupation throughout the book. It seems like they’re either doing it or thinking about it in every scene. I think it’s supposed to add an element of humor, but it gets a little annoying after a while. There’s also the matter of Steven’s reputation. In the first chapter Ginny wonders if he is really the monk she’s heard he is. In a later scene Steven’s advisors push him to find a woman so the public won’t think he’s a womanizer. Which is he? Even Rogers doesn’t seem to know.
If you’re a fan of romantic comedies you’ll probably enjoy Steven’s and Ginny’s antics. Golden Man is the whipped topping of romance: light, fluffy, and most enjoyable in small servings. But if you’re looking for a bit more substance and seriousness you’d be better off passing it by at the bookstore.