I don't usually read contemporary romances other than Jennifer Cruise and Jayne Ann Krentz books. When I saw Tongue In Chic at the Friends of the Library sale, I decided to give it a chance merely because Christina Dodd was the author. I've always enjoyed her historical romances, so I was curious as to what she would deliver in the contemporary realm. As I expected, Dodd wrote another fun read with memorable characters engaged in funny and romantic situations.
When reading the book, I didn't know it was part of a larger series. It wasn't until I started writing this review that I discovered that Tongue In Chic is the second book in the Fortune Hunters series. Since Dodd is tying these books together, I'm surprised that she skimped on some of the supporting character details. Seeing that I have not read the others, I can only presume that money, or fortune hunters, is the only detail that ties them together. However, there was a cameo appearance in this book by the main characters from Trouble in High Heels, Brandi Michaels and Roberto Bartolini, which was a nice touch. I wondered who they were, and now I know!
The hero of our story, Devlin Fitzwilliam, is your typical romantic interest: devilishly handsome, strong, intelligent, and arrogantly stubborn. At first, his possessive attitude and seemingly cold personality make him an unlikeable person. However, as his history is revealed, the reader gains an understanding and sympathetic attitude despite his guarded demeanor.
Next, bring in Natalie Meadow Szarvas, called Meadow throughout the entire book. She was atypical when compared to most romance heroines I am familiar with. Meadow reminded me of a hippie or a modern bohemian woman, qualities best portrayed in the garden scene. She is free-spirited, uninhibited, and extremely loving, all a result of her unusual upbringing. Of course, the heroine is the exact opposite of Devlin, who had an unhappy childhood and tough adult experiences. The only other quality I wanted Meadow to have was strength. She was independent and stubborn, just like Devlin. However, she kept getting hit on the head throughout the book. Devlin was reduced to coddling her at numerous points in the book, which I don't find romantic, especially when its redundant.
The interactions between the two characters is what makes the book exciting. From the very first moment they meet, it feels like love at first sight. The desire and passion is there, which is always a must for romance novels. What really makes the book endearing is the way the characters grow because of their friendships with each other.
The supporting characters were engaging and interesting as well. I especially liked Four, Bradley Benjamin the fourth. I found his unique relationship with Devlin believable despite the animosity between their families. Even Four's father, who you can't initially stand, turns out to have redeemable qualities. This is a romance, after all. The reader picks up the book hoping that most if not all the characters will have their own happy endings.
Everything can't be all happy-go-lucky, even in a romance novel, though. Dodd not only develops the conflicts between the protagonists of the book, Meadow and Devlin, but also brings in outside villains. The mystery behind them is revealed early on or easily guessed as the story unfolds. This doesn't bother me as a reader, though, because I didn't pick up Tongue In Chic expecting a great mystery. I chose Christina Dodd's book for the romance, and she delivered that along with humorous situations (and who couldn't use laughter in life?).
My main negative critique about the book is that Dodd didn't develop the back stories of the people enough, especially the supporting characters. She only hit the tip of the iceberg. She gave readers the bare minimum information and then left us hanging onto the edge of our seats craving even more. This was unfortunate because all of these characters were as important to the overall romance as the main protagonists. Perhaps she didn't want their stories to overshadow Meadow and Devlin's interactions, or she was afraid that the writing would transform into a soap opera rather than a romance novel. Another reviewer even guessed that Dodd had page limitations set by her publisher. Either way, this book could have surpassed the traditional confines of the romance plot structure if Dodd had just taken the story a little further than planned.
Even without the additional development of details, this book is a fun and easy read. It's light-hearted, quirky, and will make you laugh. Best of all, it has a happy ending. There's nothing to feel guilty about when reading a romance novel, especially one by Christina Dodd. We all need happy endings once in a while
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Adrianna Simone (Adrianna)
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There is currently no wiki entry for this book, but there is one for the author, Christina Dodd. It lists all the books she's written, a mini biography, and a small paragraph about her writing process.
NEW FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF TROUBLE IN HIGH HEELS!
Devlin Fitzwilliam caught Meadow Szarvas red-handed, breaking into his mansion to steal a painting. In sheer desperation, she used a case of amnesia as her excuse. But then he pulled a fast one-and claimed she was his wife. Playing along was the only way for Meadow to get her hands on that painting. But what she doesn't realize is that Devlin has a hidden agenda too-and that someone's keeping an eye on them both.