My Loving Familiar
My Loving Familiar has an enticing blurb. It mentions a magical cat and a struggling, self-sufficient but wacky heroine that sucked me right in. What the blurb fails to mention, however, is that the hero is a bit of a dud and that the gist of the plot hinges on the heroine’s attempt to seduce him and bust up his pending nuptials to another woman.
Cooper Adair has traveled from Philadelphia to Florida to begin his new life. He has grand plans to open a pharmacy, marry his sweetheart, Marcella, and live happily ever after. He believes his future is securely mapped out. Then he meets Isabel Gomez, the former owner of the trading post he recently purchased for his new business, and his hopes for a smooth future are blown to smithereens.
Isabel sells the family trading post through an agent without first finding out what the new owner intends to do with it because she is desperate for money to keep her herbal business going. When she learns of Cooper’s plans, she fears the competition will put her out of business permanently and concocts a plan to rid herself of him, even though his golden-boy looks really turn her on. With the help of her magical cat Grimalkin, she plans to seduce him into falling for her in order to make his fiancée jealous enough to break off their engagement, which will force him to return back to Philadelphia. She does not intend to get emotionally involved with him.
This wouldn’t be a love story if her plan didn’t backfire, now would it?
Despite Cooper’s prissy, condescending personality, and the fact that he insults Isabel straight away about her Indian blood (she’s part Indian/part Spaniard so she must be a thieving savage, right?) she is irresistibly attracted to him and finds herself longing for more kisses from his generous mouth. Cooper, who claims to be in love with Marcella (who, in stereotypical fashion is the biggest bitch on the planet), is surprised to find himself lusting over the earthy Isabel. Is it all that magical meddling cat’s fault or can it really be true love? After finishing the book I still wasn’t sure, but ah, that’s a minor point and I’m getting off track.
My biggest problem with the story was Cooper, who was difficult to like. He started out the book on a sour note with his lousy treatment of the heroine and didn’t begin to improve until the book was nearly over. Any hero who professes to love his fiancée throughout the majority of the book, while mooning after the heroine, just doesn’t make for great hero material even if it was all the cat’s fault. He also conveniently stumbled upon Isabel (twice) while she was buck-naked and proceeded to stare and drool like a perverted fool – all without her knowledge. His behavior was neither arousing nor endearing; it is doubtful Cooper would be the hero of any reader’s dreams. Though he eventually cames to the shocking conclusion that maybe he doesn’t really know Marcella, maybe he really isn’t in love with her, my conclusion was that maybe he was in way over his empty head.
Isabel was easier to like and was a heroine who deserved a much better hero than Cooper the snooper. Though it may be difficult for some readers to get past the fact that she spends most of the book in attempt to break up a soon-to-be marriage, the fact that Cooper and Marcella are such a lousy couple makes this easier to stomach. Isabel did have a conscience and experienced some qualms when her tactics began to work, but in the end, she didn’t let it interfere with her plans.
The author vividly describes the sweltering heat of summer in Florida, which added to the heat of the romance. Unfortunately, the actual lovemaking was rushed and sadly anticlimactic after the great build-up.
My Loving Familiar certainly won’t be going on my keeper shelf, but it did have some entertaining moments, and did manage to make me laugh out loud – once. If you like light-hearted and “magical” love stories, and don’t mind goofy heroes, you might want to check this one out at your favorite used book shop.