- is a loner, raised by a tough Army grandfather;
- moved around a lot and has no roots;
- works as a charter pilot;
- lives in a sparsly furnished apartment;
- has had lots of casual flings and has issues with committment.
Sounds like a generic romance bad boy, doesn’t it? But this is Lyndie Anderson, the heroine. Jill Shalvis has taken some romance hero cliches and applied them to her heroine. While it’s offputting to see a woman exhibiting tortured hero qualities, I soon got into the swing of things. As it turns out, this bit of gendre-bending is the only aspect of the book out of the ordinary. Firefighter Griffin Moore lost an entire crew, including his best friend, while fighting a wildfire, and for the past year has totally withdrawn from the world. His brother Brody has finally had enough and bluntly tells him to go on with his life. Brody tells Griffin about a Mexican village, San Puebla, that is endangered by a wildfire – the kind Griffin knows how to fight. Brody’s appeals to Griffin’s sense of duty break through and he agrees to go and help, albeit reluctantly.
Lyndie is the pilot who flies Griffin to San Puebla. She goes out of her way to establish herself as a loner, and hasn’t one single solitary feminine trait. Now, much as I dislike the girly-girl characters who get all upset when they lose their make-up on a camping trip, Lyndie was almost too much the opposite. She ogles Griffin, and looks on him as a nice one-night stand, but he is not that kind of man – he wants committment.
Griffin and Lyndie are thrown together to fight the fire; in betweeen they talk and it soon becomes clear that Lyndie is not exactly the lone wolf that she portrays, and when she and Griffin become lovers, he pierces her armor.
The story in White Heat is nothing new. We’ve all read the story of the committment-phobic hero. A committment-phobic heroine is unusual at first, but Lyndie is not all that interesting a character. Neither is Griffin. They are not silly, they are not stupid, they are simply bland. I thought the firefighting plot would allow them to have some excitement and adventure, but there was little of that. What there was, was lots and lots of angsting about commitment, being afraid to commit, should I commit, etc., ect.
My last Jill Shalvis read was Back In The Bedroom, which was filled with charming and likable characters. Lyndie and Griffin were not unlikable, but they had no charm. While I love tortured characters, they have to be larger than life to be effective. Lyndie and Griffin were only average.