Someone Like Him
Karen Kendall reminds me a bit of Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Someone Like Him is a love story between two very mismatched people who struggle to find common ground. A lot of humor and snappy dialogue kept me turning the pages, while the touching emotion of the love story crept up on me. Nice.
Lavender “Vinnie” Hart is an ordinary young woman from Kansas. She worked at the Dairy Queen and volunteered at the animal shelter, but now she’s moved to New York and has discovered that it’s more difficult than she’d expected to find a job. After some funny misstarts, she lands a great job as dog sitter to a rich and gorgeous, but clueless, guy.
Vinnie thinks that Nicholas Wright is amazing – a handsome, successful architect who lives in a showcase apartment overlooking Central Park. He’s just inherited an incredibly high-maintenance Doberman Pinscher from his aunt (and when I say high-maintenance, I mean that Daffodil wears couture and has a pedicure every week). Aunt Edna left behind specific instructions on Daffodil’s care and maintenance, and while Nicholas wants to follow Edna’s wishes, he has neither the time nor the inclination. So he hires Vinnie, and a perfect match is born.
Not that it seems perfect at first. Vinnie and Nicholas are attracted to one another, but they come from different worlds. Vinnie is highly intimidated by Nicholas’ college education and library of books. She feels that she’s not as smart, as cultured, or as attractive as him: he’s way out of her league. But Nicholas doesn’t see it that way. He has lived an emotionless life for a long time – he even feels threatened by Daffodil’s need for attention. Vinnie teaches him how to feel, and shows him that emotional risks are worth taking. Although they’re opposites in many ways, they clearly belong together.
The conflict between Vinnie and Nicholas is internal, based on their very different outlooks and ways of dealing with things. The author does a good job of showing how these characters’ troubled pasts contribute to make them who they are. This background angst never overwhelms the light and humorous present.
The fact that both characters are very funny helps a lot. The repartee between them sparkles. Their first “dates” occur when Nicholas takes Vinnie on an architectural tour of Manhattan – these sequences showcase his enthusiasm for architecture without ever making him sound like a guide book (and I found the architectural information interesting, as well). The love scenes are inventive, tender, and sexy.
Occasionally the humor felt just a little forced. Sometimes the characters’ lust-think went a little overboard. And there’s one occasion, late in the book, where the heroine succumbs to a really strange case of mistaken priorities. In spite of these things, though, I think Someone Like Him is a very pleasing romance. I recommend it.