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Meentje63

The Way She Reads

My thoughts on everything I read; good, bad and indifferent.
The Stranger - Kyra Davis I received this book from Simon & Schuster through NetGalley and rated it 3+.

“Kasie knows who she’s supposed to be. But one passionate night with a mysterious stranger will teach her who she wants to be."

They say that what happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas. But what if it follows you home and shows up in your workplace? That’s the “problem” Kasie Fitzgerald faces after her completely out of character one-night-stand with Robert Dade. Katie has been with her partner, Dave, for six years and is more or less engaged to him, even if she doesn’t wear his ring yet. And for all that time Dave has been exactly what Kasie needed:

“Dave was steady (…) steady seemed nice…even sexy”

But now, one reckless night in Vegas later, steady doesn’t seem so attractive anymore. Robert Dade has awakened desires in Kasie that are as hard to ignore as he is. And Robert Dade is very determined to make sure that Kasie will acknowledge and give in to her wilder side, with him. When Dade offers Kasie the career opportunity she’s been yearning for, he makes sure that she has to continue meeting him. And for some reason every meeting with this man ends up with Kasie doing exactly that which she know she shouldn’t but can’t refuse.

Torn between obligation and adventure, safety and excitement, between what she thinks she should be and what she really is Kasie ends up stringing not two but three people along. And lying to the two men in her life as well as to herself is never going to lead to anything but trouble.

I wasn’t overly endeared by this story. While I realise that a love-triangle can be very exciting this one just made me feel a bit dirty. It is hard to ignore that Kasie’s behaviour towards Dave is completely unfair. For six years he’s been dating a certain woman; someone he assumed was steady and unadventurous, just like him. And it is not his fault if Kasie has been playing that role so well that he never guessed there was another side to her. And the way in which Kasie treats Dade isn’t much better. The conflicting signals she’s sending him right from the start have him second guessing her all the time, never sure which version of Kasie will turn up the next time. And don’t get me started about Kasie herself; she is in denial to such an extent that it is hard to believe she actually has a brain to think or a heart to feel with.

Kasie’s confusion about the situation she finds herself in is played out through an internal devil and angel fighting for Kasie’s attention, which got irritating. First of all because I met their cousins before, and they annoyed me on our first encounter as well. And secondly because they seem like an easy way out for the author. There must be better, more nuanced, ways of describing the internal turmoil Kasie is experiencing. This use of devils and angels conjures up cartoonish pictures in my head, not erotic or clever ones.

While the writing in this book is smooth, I also felt it was trying to be a bit too clever at times. We only get the story from Kasie’s point of view and the way in which her thought processes worked just didn’t ring true. A third party observer might have described her thoughts and feelings as they are conveyed in this book, as first person thoughts they just didn’t work for me.

This book has been categorised as erotic fiction in various places. I wouldn’t go that far though. I would call this a contemporary romance. Yes, we do get some bedroom action in this story but it is rather mild and not very explicit. I can’t see the content of this book offending or shocking even the most modest reader of the romance genre.

The reasons I’ve rated this book three stars despite my objections to the story-line are that the book is well written and that I like the potential this story idea has. Executed just a little bit differently I probably would have loved this book. As it is, reading this book made me a bit angry. And that in itself is another reason for my rating; a story that evokes emotions in a reader has merit, regardless of what those emotions are.

Summarising I would say that for me this was a book with an interesting story-line which could have been so much more if executed in a slightly different way.