Molly's Mr. Wrong
I love romances set on college campuses, so Molly’s Mr. Wrong seemed like a natural fit, as it features a heroine who is a college instructor. The early sections, in which we learn about the heroine’s and hero’s pasts are interesting, but I had major problems with the romance as the heroine gives off numerous mixed messages, and because the eventual relationship crosses some teacher-student boundaries.
Molly’s Adamson’s long-term relationship with a minor league ball player went up in smoke when she learned he’d been cheating on her for years. She decided to start afresh and has taken a job at Eagle Valley Community College in Montana. Growing up, her family moved constantly, and one of her happiest – and longest – stays was in Eagle Valley. Her younger sister, Georgina, has moved with her and plans to enroll at the college.
Finn Culver has also recently returned to Eagle Valley where, after years in the military, he’s now trying to manage his family’s store. He thrived in the military, particularly liked teaching new recruits, and would like to teach high school industrial arts classes. However, Finn only just scraped by in high school; to teach he’ll need to get a college degree. He decides to ease into school again and registers for a math and English class at the local community college.
One of Molly’s worst memories of Eagle Valley is “the mercy date” with Finn, when their mothers arranged for Finn to take Molly to homecoming. She’d had a huge crush on him, but Finn took her home the minute the dance ended and didn’t kiss her. When her elderly neighbor sends his grandson over to help Molly with a problem, she’s appalled to discover the grandson is Finn. She sends him away and hopes she won’t see him again.
A few days later Finn appears in Molly’s writing class as a student. He struggles with the first writing assignment and Molly correctly gives him a low grade. However, I feel she was over-enthusiastic in her criticisms and red marks, relating to her resentment of the “mercy date.” It’s an interesting turn when Molly suggests that Finn might be dyslexic, offering more depth to Finn’s character. But from there Molly begins to tailor assignments to make them easier for Finn, and when the two begin to have feelings for each other, the red flags went up.
Molly gives off mixed signals to Finn regarding their relationship potential. I’ve worked at enough colleges to know that under no circumstances, no matter what the age of the teacher and student, should a teacher (or professor) become involved with one of their students. And yes, Molly and Finn do become involved. They try to keep it secret, but they’re involved. There were so many other ways this could have been done, but having Finn stay as Molly’s student, and having them enter into a sexual relationship, just didn’t work for me.
I liked the secondary romance featuring Finn’s grandfather and a former high school teacher in town. I appreciated the attention the author devoted to their story, including the roadblocks thrown in their way. Georgina’s romance with a boy from a troubled family could have been interesting, but served primarily to show Molly in a not-too-flattering light as she stereotyped the boy based on his background. While there are parts of Molly’s Mr. Wrong that I liked, ultimately I had too many issues with Molly to be able to recommend it.