The Things We Do for Love
I’d read and enjoyed Margot Early’s books before, so when I came across a copy of The Things We Do for Love at a library book sale, I snapped it up. The story has a vaguely magical premise that sounded like fun.
Mary Anne Drew is the society journalist for a small West Virginia newspaper and does a short program for the local radio station as well which has brought her into contact with Jonathan Hale, the station manager. Mary Anne has had a crush on Jonathan for years, but he has never noticed her. When she finds out he has just gotten engaged, she lets her cousin talk her into buying a love potion from a local herbalist and midwife. Mary Anne tells herself this is a lark and her last chance at love and prepares to do the deed.
Graham Corbett has been attracted to Mary Anne for some time but has never acted on it. He knows she isn’t interested, and, besides, his life is finally back on track now after his wife’s unexpected death. He concentrates on his popular radio call-in show instead of his love life. But things get a bit more interesting when Mary Anne accidentally doses Graham with her love potion instead of Jonathan. The things we do for love…
This could have been a hokey premise, but Early manages it delicately, with Mary Anne and, eventually, Graham very skeptical about the efficacy of a love potion – and others, including Mary Anne’s cousin Cameron, less so. The chemistry between Mary Anne and Graham is very good in the beginning and the love triangle angle is well done and not too abrupt in its resolution.
However, there are a number of considerations that are wrapped up sloppily if at all. Mary Anne can’t stand Graham to begin with. She has known him superficially for quite some time and thinks he’s a big fake. This doesn’t prove to be much of a barrier, however, once the love potion is drunk. Additionally, she has a plethora of reasons for not getting involved with Graham – he’s a minor celebrity and she hates celebrity on principal (her father is a hard living near has-been), her cousin Cameron has a crush on Graham, she has been in love with Jonathan for four years, Graham has a history of self-destructive behavior, etc. Combined, they present a problem, but they are kind of swept aside by the realization that she loves him.
Also there’s the fact that Mary Anne tries to poach Jonathan from his fiancée – unscrupulous to say the least. She never apologizes to this woman either or does penance in any way for her actions. I’d have had more respect for her if she had.
Graham is a very nice hero, and I wanted him to be happy, but not by manipulation. I can almost recommend The Things We Do for Love . The first half was great. The last needed to be hammered out a little better.