Here's Lookin' At You
Here’s Lookin’ at You begins in the hero’s point of view, which I took as a good sign – the prologue and the first chapter are great fun. With such a sparkling set up, I was primed for a fabulous read. While the book has some great, bawdy humor and touching moments, it is sometimes marred by stilted dialogue. And, due to the length constraints of a Loveswept, the touching moments were just moments – the pivotal conflict within the heroine isn’t fleshed out as it should have been.
Here’s Lookin’ at You is the story of businessman Morgan De Witt and actress Maddie Andrews, who come together in love and friendship after having known each other as teens. After Maddie’s father has a stroke, the prodigal daughter returns to the small-town of her youth to take care of him. He wants the family business to stay within the family, and proposes that Maddie have a family so that her children can take over the business. But, in the interim, Maddie will need to learn about the business, and with Morgan’s background, who better to teach her and help manage things? And, if she’s going to get married, why not marry Morgan?
Even though Morgan spurned her teenage-schoolgirl-crush advances years before, he wants her from the moment he sees her again, crying in the kitchen, while her two parrots spout profanities, inanities, and show tunes from the front room. Maddie has never gotten over Morgan’s turning her down when she was 15 and he was in college, and, besides, she’s not looking for love, even though it feels so right to be in his arms. She is an actress like her mother had been, and lord knows the town looks down upon actresses.
Morgan begins to pursue Maddie, and we see her through his eyes, as she works the local Renaissance Faire as Yewanna Synne (go ahead, say it out loud!), as they spend time getting to know one another, as they fall in love, and as they sort out Maddie’s reluctance to make a commitment. Because Morgan makes his commitment to Maddie very early on, the reader connects with him sooner, and will love him before Maddie does.
There’s some very serious stuff about Maddie’s father and how his actions after her mother died affected Maddie. Unfortunately, very little time is devoted to this and therein lies the main flaw of this book. Dispensing with an alcoholic depression, loneliness, and near-suicidal behavior in a few pages didn’t work for this reviewer. That, and sometimes stilted dialogue were problems. Here are a couple of examples:
In describing how Maddie has decorated her house, Morgan says, “I expected something contemporary or even the country style that is so popular right now.” In describing Maddie’s father’s gardens as they take a stroll, Morgan says, “I haven’t seen Glen’s gardens at night for a long time. They appear so different with the lights.”
Even with these flaws, this is a decent read. The lead characters are likable and their chemistry strong. The scenes at the Faire are funny, and those pesky parrots are hilarious. If you are looking for a romance that is probably lighter than the author intended, this might do the trick.