The President's Daughter
The President’s Daughter begins fairly well, then does the old head-hopping thing at the oddest of times, spends more time on the heroine and her mother than the heroine and the hero, then falls apart almost completely with the revelation of the killer. This book was pretty much a C read until I got to the end, when it dropped an entire grade.
Thirty years ago, a beautiful young socialite named Blythe Pierce had an affair with the then-president, Graham Hayward. She had his child. Then, she was run down in the street, murdered. The killer was never caught, the car never found. Police reports went missing. Witnesses never came forward. The press never got wind of it. Even Blythe’s politically powerful father couldn’t turn up anything. Gosh. Wonder who has that kind of clout?
Unbeknownst to Dina McDermott, her real parents were the lovely Blythe and the now-deceased former president. Dina has been raised by Jude McDermott, Blythe’s closest friend. Dina is a happy woman, content with her life and her career as a landscape architect. Though Dina is stunningly beautiful, she is single. Men do not hound her. We’re talking world-class beautiful, and a dead-ringer for her real mother, yet Dina spends her Saturday nights at home. Though thirty years have passed, Jude has never told Dina the truth, but now all those chickens are about to come home to roost.
Simon Keller is a writer. He has been hired by a former presidential associate to write a book about President Hayward because Hayward’s son is about to run for the oval office himself. Hayward’s platform was based on high moral standards, honesty, and truth. The younger Hayward still holds his father in high esteem and plans to use his father’s two-terms in office as an example, for there was not one hint of scandal while Graham Hayward was president. Of course, the news that the “highly moral” senior Hayward did not love his wife, had an affair with another woman, had a child, and planned to leave his wife, son (Gray), and daughter (Sarah) for the other woman might put a dent in the junior Hayward’s plans.
This book was labeled Romantic Suspense (it’s right there on the spine), yet the heroine and hero don’t meet at all until the middle of the story. Once they do meet, and Simon finds Dina enormously attractive, it takes another fourth of the book for him to get around to kissing her. A few chapters after that, they hold hands. They do eventually have a brief, two paragraph love scene, but those handful of elements do not add up to a romance novel in any way. It’s not that I needed or wanted a hot love story here, but in a romantic suspense, at least half of the book should be devoted to the romance, and here, it was practically an afterthought. As a romance, it failed completely.
Now for the suspense. Well, I wasn’t exactly panting and turning pages here. The pace is slow, and the dialogue pretty bland. There is no sharp humor or wit anywhere. The story unfolds with no surprises. Even after the killer is revealed, the book went on for another thirty pages just to describe and tidy up. By that point, all the interesting stuff had happened and I wondered why this book was still going on. Also, the author has set things up in such a way that there are simply not enough logical suspects. I guessed who the killer was instantly. I can’t tell you how or why, because that would constitute spoilers, but one of the reasons this book ended up being graded a D is because of who the killer turns out to be. In addition, the author has a character with very important information keep it to himself simply because he felt it was not important – information which led directly to the killer. It’s probably the first thing this character should had thought about and revealed. A very poor tactic.
The President’s Daughter didn’t do it for me. Although Simon is a nice hero and Dina a capable heroine, their romance was vague-to-nonexistant and the suspense lacked any element of surprise. And while the supporting characters are decent folk, there is a lot of illogical behavior going on throughout the story. I don’t think I’ll be reading Stewart again.