I had one of those nights last night where I was too tired to go to bed. I had work to do for the day job that took twice as long as it should have. By the time I finished faffing, it was past 11pm. Then I didn't want to sleep because I knew I still hadn't really achieved anything. No revisions, no new writing. You know that feeling when you've been sitting in front of the computer screen for hours, searching Facebook for old friends you really have no intention of re-connecting with? It was one of those nights.
I have no idea why I did it, but at 11.30pm last night I picked up Jessica Hart's latest novel for Harlequin Romance. Just to read one chapter. The opening paragraphs weren't anything to write home about. The heroine was so uptight and obsessive compulsive, she'd think my anally empty office desk is cluttered.
Then the hero stepped onto the page. I finally put the book down at 2am.
This novel is (to use a highly over-used but super-effective word) awesome. It's the best HMB novel I've ever read. (Yes, I wrote ever). It's the best chick lit novel I've ever read. I laughed, I cried, I sighed reading this book.
Jessica Hart breaks a lot of the current HMB 'rules' with this novel. She writes in first person. There is no hero POV at all. The tone is light-hearted and at times laugh-out-loud funny. (Like the bit where the heroine describes her birth). Don't expect any dark, brooding Mediterranean heroes here.
Though there was no sex at all in this book, even behind closed doors, the chemistry between the characters sizzled from the moment they met right up to the very last page. Despite the chick lit tone, this novel had the intensity I so loved in Twilight.
Her hero is blond and blue-eyed, a sunny, charming personality, a ladies man, an outdoorsy daredevil with a crooked smile and a fear of commitment. He's the hero I have a tendency to write, except that I don't do it half as well as Jessica. In fact, this novel could be my James and Ally novel if you re-wrote it 200 times better. This is the kind of novel that I dream of writing one day (and of course the crackling crows of doubt are laughing at me as I type this, saying "in your dreams!")
Even if you don't usually read Harlequin Romance, treat yourself and read this one. All I can say in parting, is that if this is the future of HMB, I want to be a part of it!