What you get from Honeymoon Suite by Lynn Michaels will depend on what expectations you have going into it. For instance, if you really want to read an intense love story between two dynamic, intelligent, interesting characters – forget it. This book’s hero is as dumb as dirt. The heroine’s all right and there’s a happily ever after ending, but this guy’s brain is so feeble it can barely keep him breathing. Hardly the makings of epic romance.
On the other hand, if you just want to read a comedy, this book is a great choice. Honeymoon Suite is hilarious.
The story is based on Sabrina – either the Audrey Hepburn/Humphrey Bogart, or the Julia Ormond/Harrison Ford version (take your pick). The action takes place in an opulent mansion called Outlook, home of the bank-owning Lambert family. The role of the lonely chauffeur’s child is filled by Chase McKay, a handsome young stud who is envious of the wealthy Lamberts. Dory Lambert is our heroine, the intelligent and thoughtful Lambert daughter, who has a hopeless crush on Chase. Jill Lambert is Dory’s beautiful blond sister, who likes men, especially Chase. As teenagers, Chase and Jill are caught in a compromising position. Chase is shipped off to college posthaste, and Dory’s heart is broken.
The next time Chase comes back to Outlook, more than ten years later, things have changed. He is an amazingly successful architect and business owner; he is worth billions. The Lamberts, on the other hand, have seen some hard times. A scoundrel stole a whole lot of the bank’s money, and the FBI came after the Lamberts. Dory’s parents are hiding from the law on an island somewhere. Dory and Jill have managed to repay the bank’s investors. They’ve cashed in their trust funds, sold valuable paintings, but still they’re unable to keep Outlook and their loyal cadre of servants – until Dory, now an MBA, hits upon the idea of turning Outlook into an inn.
Chase comes back to Outlook, hoping to convince his aging father (the chauffeur, remember) to retire. Dory still loves Chase. Chase likes Dory, too. Then Chase sees Jill again and is dumbstruck and stupefied with mindless lust. You’ll have to read what happens next yourself.
While I can certainly believe that a red-blooded man might let a blonde goddess like Jill cloud his decisions for a while, it’s just inconceivable how far Chase pursues Jill before he realizes that Dory’s the one he really wants. Chase’s blindness in this matter more or less kills this book as a romance in my eyes. Even though he grovels nicely to Dory in the end, my confidence in his decision-making abilities was destroyed. And Chase is an architect! I wouldn’t go up the elevator in a building designed by him, that’s for sure.
Keep in mind, though, that this is a long book, and the romance between Chase and Dory only makes up about half of it. The rest deals with how the Lambert family lost its money, the things they all contributed to keep Outlook solvent, and the efforts they’ve taken to catch the scoundrel who stole from them and ruined their reputation. There are tons of characters: Dory and Jill, of course; their parents; servants and employees; guests; lawyers; FBI agents; Jill’s boyfriend; the thief; the thief’s son; and the magisterial Margaret Lambert, known to Jill and Dory as Aunt Ping. None of these people are stereotypes. Most of them people have backstories of their own, and their interactions are frequently comical. The dialogue is zippy. The events are funny. The pace is not always terribly fast, but I didn’t mind: the more time to spend with these enjoyable people, I thought.
My favorite character is actually Jill. She’s not an evil blonde, or a dumb blonde, or an angelic blonde. The author avoids these stereotypes and creates a character who is impetuous and dingy, but also loyal, brave, able to put together a daring plan of action, and willing to carry it out. Jill’s decisions are what drives much of the action of this novel. She’s a total original, and I thought she was a riot.
So I did not sigh dreamily at the romance of it all as I read this book. If you’re looking for a book that does that for you, this is not it. I did, however, laugh and snicker and smile, and devoured the book in a day. If you’re having a bad week or a patch of gray weather and need a pick-me-up, Honeymoon Suite is the book for you.