Secrets of a Shy Socialite
If you read Lynn’s review of Craving Her Soldier’s Touch, the first book in this series, then you already know the downside of Secrets of a Shy Socialite: Too much going on to really dig into the few parts that work.
Jena Piermont, pretending to be her twin sister Jaci, slept with Jena’s high school crush Justin Rangore and became pregnant with twins. The book begins with Jena revealing the twins to Justin, who reacts admirably to his surprise fatherhood. Then it spins off into further plots: Trust fund inheritance shenanigans. Drug dealers at the medical clinic. A mother who tragically died of breast cancer, and the heroine’s medical choices based on carrying that gene. There are a solid three books’ worth of plots crammed into this one category, and as a result, the most interesting one (the cancer plot) is shortchanged.
The secret babies felt completely superfluous, disappearing for implausible stretches of narrative in which the twin sister is apparently babysitting. During one twenty-four hour day, Jena “checks on” the six-week old girls precisely twice. The medical elements of the plot are uneven. I found it unlikely that a concussed Justin would experience such overwhelming lust (I asked my husband if lust was a symptom when he had a concussion, and he said, “No, I just wanted the floor to stop spinning.”) On the plus side, the emotional and physical descriptions of Jena’s post-surgery recovery were specific, detailed, and genuinely painful to read.
Technically, the book is not well-written. All dialogue has heavy tags, and punctuation is often incorrect:
“Can we not tell tell Jaci how inept I am at managing my life?” she changed the subject… “You’re not inept you’re inexperienced.”
At one point, the author writes “Justin Rangore had never as in N*E*V*E*R*E*V*E*R been unable to get it up for a woman.” (Not even while concussed!) Yes, it’s written just like that: caps, asterisks, no space or comma. It looked like a Facebook update from a disturbingly precocious middle schooler.
The story gains points for a stronger final fifth, in which Jena undergoes a double mastectomy and Justin (a likeable and supportive hero) struggles to convince her to accept care and let him learn to love her new body. It’s not enough to overcome the earlier problems, however. I hope that the author can land a good editor (both for plot and for copy) and produce something better in the future.