The Lottery Winner
In The Lottery Winner, Emilie Rose takes a familiar fantasy – winning the lottery – and spins a novel out of it. Even though most of us dream of striking it big, there are plenty of nightmare stories out there of lottery winners who have been exploited or who have run through their winnings and found themselves in poverty within a few years of the big win. While Rose touches on some of that, much of the book just meanders around the Florida Keys and never really picks up quite enough steam to make it an unforgettable read.
Jessmine Martin won a big jackpot back home and it certainly has changed her life – but not for the better. Instead of being able to continue teaching art and going about her life, Jessie found herself the victim of break-ins at home and the target of so many threats that she actually had to leave her job because the safety of children in her school was jeopardized. As the story moves along, we see Jessie’s loneliness as the only people she has had to turn to seem to be her overprotective family members because everyone else in her life has become more interested in Jessie’s money than in Jessie herself. It’s not a happy situation, and she has caved in to pressure to get out of town for a while by renting a home in Key West.
After laying low for a while, a chance encounter has Jessie working as waitress in a local restaurant. However, her insistence on working only for tips and giving away almost no information about herself has the restaurant owner’s protective nephew, Logan Nash, on high alert. Once a high-flying financial advisor, Logan now works as an accountant advising small business owners. It’s his way of reconstructing his life after losing his business and reputation in the wake of a large fraud perpetrated by his ex-wife and ex-business partner.
Logan suspects Jessie is up to no good and frankly, if all I knew about Jessie was what Logan knew, I’d be suspicious myself. After all, we’re talking about someone who won’t even give out her last name. Violations of employment law aside, Jessie is obviously a good worker and obviously cares about the restaurant, so if you can suspend a lot of disbelief, it’s pretty easy to see that Logan’s suspicions will go nowhere. And amidst all his scrutiny, it’s clear that Logan has started to keep an eye on Jessie for more than one reason.
As the romance between Jessie and Logan starts to blossom, I found the book started to meander. The author could have done a lot with the lottery-win-turned-nightmare plotline, but it really doesn’t get used for much more than an initial hook into the story. The author tells much more about the lottery win and its consequences than readers ever get shown. And that’s a shame, because it could have led to all manner of interesting plotting. Instead, we spend lots of time wallowing in Jessie’s low self esteem, her blossoming art career, Logan’s determination to track down the ex who done him wrong and so forth. There is a really sweet secondary romance thrown in, but the story does tend to meander.
The Lottery Winner isn’t a bad book, but it does tend to be a somewhat forgettable one. I enjoyed it while I read it, but aside from wishing that the author had done more with the lottery win that supposedly forms the basis for the plot, I couldn’t muster up strong feelings for it one way or the other.