The Way You Look Tonight
The Way You Look Tonight is one of what seems like an increasingly rare breed: it’s a contemporary romance. It’s not a comedy. It’s not romantic suspense. It’s not a women’s fiction or chick lit wannabe. It’s simply a nice story about two very nice people who like each other and slowly fall in love, and all the very nice people around them. This will no doubt appeal to many readers. For me it could have used something from those other genres to liven it up. Everything about this book is so nice it’s more than a little boring.
As the son of a flighty and often unreliable artist, Simon Grant grew up with a strong sense of responsibility. The quality only increased when he was taken under the wing of his mother’s employer, a millionaire who placed his son’s inheritance in Simon’s care after he died. Now a corporate lawyer, Simon takes his responsibility to young David very seriously. When David, who is about to come into his inheritance, announces that he’s going to marry a girl he has only known for a short while, Simon’s protective instincts kick in. He suggests a pre-nuptial agreement, which endears him to no one.
In an effort to smooth things over, he appeals to the bride-to-be’s cousin, Jorie Morrison, to help him get back into everyone’s good graces. The warmhearted Jorie works with the underpriviledged and wears offbeat clothes. Normally, this would signal that she is everything the stuffy Simon isn’t. Simon never seems all that stuffy, though. After he comes to her for help, Jorie takes him with her to the home of one of the music students she is tutoring. She sees from the way that he interacts with them that he’s a good person and agrees to work with him. Of course, the sizable donation he promises the charitable organization she works for doesn’t hurt.
That is how much of the book unfolds. Potential drama is snuffed out as soon as it appears. There is nothing particularly bad about The Way You Look Tonight. It’s simply too easy and lacking in any real conflict or plot tension. Jorie doesn’t really like Simon at first, but he wins her over relatively easy. The mother of the boy Jorie is tutoring is having problems with her landlord. Attorney Simon takes a look at her lease and averts the crisis. There are only two characters in the book who aren’t nice people and they mainly stay in the background. Otherwise, it’s hard to believe anything too bad could happen to such nice folk. The author is a smooth writer, so the story is easy to get into. But after a while, not much is happening, there doesn’t seem to be much at stake, and there is little to hold the reader’s interest.
Here’s an example of the book’s low-voltage tension: The bride and groom have an argument that might put the wedding in jeopardy. The reason: He doesn’t have much of an opinion on the wedding arrangements. She takes this to mean he doesn’t really want to marry her and calls off the wedding. He’s baffled and distraught by her reaction. Tears are shed, hands are wrung, the whole misunderstanding is cleared up in one chapter, which is still far too much time to be spent on such a non-issue.
The characters have some sadness in their childhoods that make them leery of relationships. These issues are never really dealt with in a tangible way, probably because that would be too heavy for such a lightweight tale. Late in the story Jorie is still thinking that she’s going to teach Simon how to love. This must take place in an unmentioned scene, because in the end, all is well, though it’s hard to see how she helped him. Perhaps she cured him by thinking happy thoughts?
This is the rare book where even placing a child in jeopardy failed to get much of a reaction. There are some hospital scenes that might have been heart-tugging in another book. Here they’re only mildly interesting. Are we really supposed to believe for a second the child will have any serious injury that will prevent him from smiling and acting cute in the final scenes? This is not that kind of book.
The Way You Look Tonight is well-written and polished to a high gloss. It’s a character-driven story that doesn’t offer much in the way of plot, which is unfortunate because there’s a lack of depth in how the characters are presented and what the characters experience throughout the course of the book. Author Taylor offers nice characters and a nice romance, which sounds nice, but instead is a bit dull.