The Thrill of it All
The beginning of The Thrill Of It All was awfully silly and I thought the heroine, Felicity, was a total airhead. But after a rocky start, the book settled down and the silliness disappeared – at least, until the end. This is a flawed book with a good deal of quirky charm.
Felicity Charm is a big star in home shopping and infomercial circles. Her show on GetTV has made her a media darling and the winner of the Joanie award for best hostess. Felicity is the only successful member of the Charm family, the rest of whom are all rather feckless and fond of con games. Felicity talks about her family all the time on her show, but the Charms she describes bear no resemblance to the real thing. Right after winning the Joanie she gets a call from her Aunt Vi – her cousin Ben had disappeared. Although Felicity hasn’t been back home in a long time, she reluctantly sets out to see if she can help.
Just outside of her hometown, Felicity has a wreck with the only other car on the road, which is driven by Michael Magee. Magee is a rock climber, businessman, mathematician, and bad boy stud. Felicity is semi-conscious and suffering from hypothermia but Magee has a blanket in his trunk. Pretty soon she is naked, wrapped in a blanket, drunk on tequila and almost doing the horizontal bop with Magee. I did an eye roll.
When Felicity gets to her Aunt’s home, the problem that brought her there – her cousin’s disappearance – all but vanishes and her romance with Magee takes over. Magee is part owner of a bar where Felicity’s cousin Ashley (Ben’s sister) works. Magee’s best friend Simon was married to Ashley and he was killed in a climbing accident that almost killed Magee as well. Magee has been hanging around suffering from a bad case of survivor’s guilt. He feels obligated to take care of Ashley, but he is really attracted to Felicity. Felicity is attracted to him, but she has reinvented herself and doesn’t want to be drawn back to her old home.
The Thrill Of It All began silly and ended sillier. I think Ben, the cousin who had disappeared, had maybe one line in all the book. The middle of the book had some nice love scenes between Felicity and Magee and a touching secondary romance between Ashley and Magee’s friend Peter, and for a while it was a good solid B. That changed at the book’s climax, which involved rock climbing, a live broadcast, and the Mafia, which was too silly to be believed.
Felicity alternated between snobbish and charming, with charming coming out a tad ahead. She’s always complaining about her family, but we never see them doing anything too bad. Her Aunt Vi seems a pleasant woman whose only vice is that she loves cats (that’s a virtue to me), and the rest of the Charm family are too sketchy to register as characters.
Magee alternated between nice and nasty. His habit of wearing tacky t-shirts (“Carpe Genitalia” – ugh!) and his pet names for Felicity (“Sweet Thighs”) were quite boorish at times, but he did have a tender side to him which came out in his kindness to Ashley and later to Felicity. I only wish we could have seen more of it.
Christie Ridgeway has a habit of ending a chapter and then beginning the next one several minutes or hours later. There were times I’d find myself turning the pages back again to see if I had missed something. Some of her phrasing reminded me a bit of Jennifer Greene’s, although no one can quite match Jennifer-speak.
All in all, The Thrill Of It All is not a bad book to curl up with on a gloomy day because when it’s not being completely ridiculous it will make you smile.