Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Review: HURRICANE LILY by Rebecca Rogers Maher

hurricane lily cover

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess who was trapped at the top of an ivory tower. Actually, it was a cottage on Cape Cod, but the end result was the same. Then a carpenter with a ginger beard showed up at her door to reinforce the walls of her self-imposed prison. Ironically, what he actually wound up doing was tearing them down (metaphorically speaking, of course).

After finishing The Bridge, I immediately downloaded Rebecca Rogers Maher's backlist. Hurricane Lily wasn't as good as The Bridge, mainly because it was too much with the narration of backstory and inner reflection. But I did like the unconventional characters and how Rogers brought class conflicts and environmental issues into the story.

Basically Hurricane Lily is about two people who are extremely angry. First you have Lily, an agoraphobic with OCD who's obsessed with hurricane-proofing her run-down cottage BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW. At first it might seem like Lily's afraid of everything, but actually she's just pissed off and terrified of her own anger against humanity in general and her dad in particular. Then you have Cliff, a Vassar-educated reverse snob who hates rich people and dreams of writing a mystery that "means something." He's sick of dealing with rich people and their selfish crap. SICK OF IT. More specifically, he's pissed that his dad died because he didn't have health insurance.

So you have an uptown girl meeting a downtown boy with a chip on shoulder, and whenever they start talking--usually about how the ice caps are melting or the like--they fight, then have sex. Usually I'm a total sucker for books like this, but in this case Cliff was just way too self-righteous and annoying. I also thought his expectations were unrealistic—he kept acting like he was at Lily's house to attend a soiree or something, expecting her to feed and water him and his crew while they're working. Keep in mind she is paying an exorbitant amount of money in order for him to DO HIS JOB, not have tea with her. Methinks he can provide his own lunch and soda pop.

As for Lily, I thought Maher played the poor-little-rich-girl card in a really interesting way and turned her into a very sympathetic character where she might otherwise have come across as pathetic or annoying. I also liked that Maher used Lily's wealth as a source of conflict in the story. Usually in romance novels, if there's a huge socio-economic disparity between the hero and heroine (and, let's face it, that's pretty common) the tensions that might result from that are either completely ignored or glossed over. Ooops, she's a secret heiress! Problem solved. Not in Hurricane Lily; Maher shows how Lily's been judged by others because of her family's wealth and how the money doesn't solve her problems or make her happy.

That being said, the pace of the novella was really slow because there was way too much time spent on the characters' thinks, feels, and backstory that I don't think was necessary. Also, the ending was REALLY abrupt. Like, whiplash-abrupt.

Overall I liked Hurricane Lily, though, despite those problems. If you like unusual romances with working-class heroes, it's worth the $2 to try it.

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