Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Fancy Pants

She was the most beautiful British bauble in Europe's jet-set playgrounds. Now she's broke, furious, and limping down a backwoods road in an ugly pink Southern Belle gown....
He was tall, lean, and all-American gorgeous. He liked his brews cold and women loved to keep him warm. Why in hell is he stopping his car for this woebegone, surly Scarlett?
Meet Francesca Day and Dallie Beaudine, two incredible characters whose tangled love affair is at the heart of this ravishing New York Times bestseller from award-winning author Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Come enjoy the adventure of a lifetime — an irresistible story that's touching, hilarious, and hellcat-passionate. You'll never forget Dallie and the sassy lady who needs a good swift kick in her...

Comment: This year I've decided to read another series by author Susan Elizabeth Phillips, namely Wynette, Texas series. This is the first book in it although it can be considered a sort of prequel, because not all action is set in that Texan city. I was very curious about this series, especially because, in average, the other one I've read by this author was quite good.

This is the story of Francesca Day and Dallas Beaudine, two people that meet by chance in Texas and have a romance until Francesca finds out he's actually married. From then on, they go separate ways but nothing is ever easy and life brings them together once more ten years later, or so. But the couple that meets now has gone through different experiences and both of them aren't the same as they were in their younger years. Can they use the difficulties and the attraction to have a future?

Well, this is a god story by the author, although the time it was written (late 80s) is rather obvious in the backgrounds and secondary situations. Part of the success of a story is how timeless it can appear and for the most part, one wouldn't notice...but there are other parts where is too obvious. Still, it didn't made me less eager to read or interested.

But this book didn't seem as wonderful as others by the author because of two other things, which didn't look as smooth or well structured: the plot development and timeline in the story.
This book tells us a story that spans years. Nothing wrong with that but because we get a lot of air time in one year, then anther, plus backgrounds on Francesca's mother makes the plot too distinct, too far apart. This means that the reader's attention has to focus on different things for too long, so the past years can't be read as the main part of the book, only a part of it. Then we have the second part, with more development, but it doesn't have the same impact.

I don't mind having the part set in the past because it adds a better understanding of the character's behavior, inner journey...but despite the importance of specific situations or moments, it gets too distracting and the part set in the present, or the moment where the main action is supposed to be happening, loses the strength it might have otherwise.
I think a different structure, more like we see in her following titles is better, meaning, we knowing about important or key things by people's interactions or thoughts.

So, the main couple is Dallas and Francesca. Their romance isn't that special because their bond happens very quickly after they met and they were in a position in life that it's obviously meant to show us they weren't ready to have a commitment or a solid relationship. So, when they meet again and reconnect in the present it kind of lacks power because it's almost as if they have to start again and it's annoying to see a lovers reunited trope, they keep thinking and mentioning past things...which, after we did read all of it already, makes it repetitive and boring for me. I so much prefer the adventure of a new love.

Dallas is ok, honestly I feel I never got to know him that well, he comes across as a honest man but too insecure to fight for things presenting an air of aloofness. Ok...but then his scenes didn't seem cohesive and he didn't strike me as the best protagonist ever nor did I feel I got to know all the important details about him. He's kind of forgettable.
Francesca also annoyed me a lot to a certain point because despite her background she never tried to be better...she was vain and uninteresting but then something happens and the best part of the book, what made me eager to finish it and to know what would happen was how she learned a lesson and, for a while, she had to work hard and be humble and grow up. That was my favorite part. I'm glad she managed to find deserved success and happiness but when she tried was what I liked best.

All in all, this is good enough romance, with interesting situations, development, good enough secondary characters...the protagonists ended up being two people I sort of cared about but the road to that place wasn't always as smooth and captivating as I would have liked.
Anyway, I still recommend it but I'm looking for to see her more contemporary settings again.
Grade: 7/10

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