You're the One
I’m only a “sometimes” fan of paranormal romance. Sometimes I’m in the mood for a woo-woo element and I’ll want to read about a ghostly visitor or a time-traveling hero. Probably because of my hit-or-miss approach, that’s what I usually end up with, either a hit or a miss. Occasionally I find something in between.
While reading the first third of You’re the One I was almost sure it would be a hit. In 1899 Cassandra Kinross, a Scottish mail-order bride, was killed by the man she refused to marry at his New Jersey mansion. Before dying she used her limited witchcraft training to lay a curse on her murderer, Colin MacPherson, and all his male descendants. The curse bars any MacPherson male from finding a soul mate until Cassandra is able to find her one of her own. As an unfortunate side effect Cassandra’s spirit is tied to the house.
Flash-forward more than a hundred years; Rand MacPherson is the recipient of the hundred-year trust Colin put on the house. Rand owns a construction company and has waited since childhood for the chance to restore his crazy uncle’s Victorian home. His arrival in “her” home doesn’t please Cassandra. She’s had the place to herself for more than a hundred years and doesn’t welcome his intrusion. Her initial efforts to scare him into leaving and his response are what initially appealed.
Rand is anything but scared. In fact he’s delighted that “his” house has a ghost. When he catches a glimpse of Cassandra, he’s determined to figure out her identity and, if possible, get to know her. What he learns and does with that information changes Cassandra’s situation. She finds herself becoming more corporeal and is astonished to feel and need again in a physical way. And as you can probably guess, this being a romance, most of her feelings concern Rand, who is more than happy to reciprocate.
Therein lies the problem. Cassandra’s evolving into human form isn’t really explained and her all-too-quick and easy adaptation to 21st century life in New Jersey was unbelievable. Not only did Cassandra become less interesting as she became caught up in lust with Rand, her worries about what he would think about her supposed status as a witch seemed silly. It seemed silly even though Rand did have an over-the-top reaction to it. Why would a man who’s been sleeping with a ghost care all that much about witchcraft?
The silliness of the conflict was in some ways mitigated by strong supporting characters. Rand’s mother, though seemingly a bit of a romance cliché, develops into someone worth knowing. Likewise his sister Nancy, who is involved in a secondary romance with Rand’s foreman Duke, grows on the reader. Nancy’s first tentative attempts at starting a relationship with Duke were a bright spot in the increasingly melodramatic last third of the book. As Cassandra obsessed ever more repetitively about Rand’s reactions and feelings, I began to wish (repetitively) that I was reading a book starring Rand’s sister and the foreman.
I started out liking Rand and Cassandra but eventually found them tedious. Funny, but most of my misses in paranormal romance have been so because they are bad paranormals. This one, though it avoids being a complete miss because of a charming beginning and interesting secondary characters, fails to hit because of the characters and not the paranormal elements. Perhaps someday I’ll get to read the rest of Nancy and Duke’s story. That’s a book I’d pick up – paranormal or not.