I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but this is my favorite novel yet by Megan Hart. And I mean that. I stayed up til 4 AM, then 6 AM respectively to read and finish this book. I recommend reading this book when you have a bit more time, or not picking it up between 2-3 AM, because you’ll want to read it all, and probably won’t like the tired feeling the next day. But it was worth it. I read the book premise with no idea what to expect (other than exactly what it says -which is clear yet vague at the same time -much like Ms. Hart’s writing in general). Stranger gripped me from the start.
I really liked the heroine Grace. She was so sensible, and real. I enjoyed the normality of her life, and the range of emotions that she experienced. Grace had to deal with everyday mundane issues, albeit on the darker side of things. I never once felt that the plot dragged or moved too slowly. It was also nice that Grace had a relatively normal childhood, which is always good to find in a heroine. She’s self deprecating, knows how to protect herself, and very reasonable. Grace is someone you’d like as a friend – although she has a secret life that nobody knows about. Grace is very kind and has a big heart, though she doesn’t wear her emotions on her sleeve.
Sam Stewart is a character that makes me smile. He’s the main romantic interest, but I wouldn’t exactly call him a hero. He’s really cute, although you kind of want to smack him a number of times. It seems that Sam is… unfinished. At the same time, Sam gets points for creativity, persistence, and in the end, honesty. I also love that he is Dan’s little brother, from Dirty. (Yes, this time I recognized all the cameo appearances characters made.) I wonder if Sam will appear in any other books – it seems that he still has a lot on his plate before he can settle. In a way, I liked that Sam was an uncertainty, because it definitely kept me on my toes. I liked Sam’s sense of humor, as well as his zany late night calls. Who would have thought a drunk dial would be endearing? But Ms. Hart made it happen.
It was very nice for Ms. Hart to connect the books, yet definitely leave them as stand alone novels. (I read them “out of order” so not until a re-read did I figure out that Elle from Dirty had a few cameos in Broken.) Another important repeating character in Stranger is Jack, who was also featured in Dirty. He’s an excellent character- entertaining, and young – so he provided for humor, as well as some male posturing. There was so much in Stranger in regards to emotions and situations – yet it wasn’t too draining.
I think I liked Stranger so much because I was invested in the book, but didn’t find it draining. I could relate to all the emotions, and put myself in the scenes and situations, but Ms. Hart didn’t employ shock techniques – which was nice. I think that this may be the happiest novel by Ms. Hart that I’ve read – and it was good. Ms. Hart’s writing brilliance lays in her ability to keep the reader entertained and involved, without resorting to fireworks and flash. That characters are believable and real – normal even, yet have some quality that is larger than life .
I was again reminded that it says “An Erotic Novel” on the front cover of each of Ms. Hart’s novels – so near the end I about made my head explode when I was expecting the worst and wondering about the end. However, I should have had faith in Ms. Hart and the Harlequin Team (and I did) to not let me down. While not sparkles and ponies (and if you’re expecting that you’re reading the wrong author), the conclusion to Stranger was extremely satisfying. I cannot wait for Ms. Hart’s upcoming releases, and hope that both Jack and Jared get their own books as well.
About a chapter into Stranger I had to stop, and squee. You know that super happy expression little kids gets when you hand them a giant ice cream cone on a hot day? When they shrink into themselves and smiles take up their entire face? That was me. Throughout reading this novel.
I pay strangers to sleep with me. I have my reasons… But they’re not the ones you expect.
For starters, I’m a funeral director taking over my dad’s business. Not exactly the sort of person you’d expect to fork over cash for the lust and urgency only live, skin-to-skin contact can create. Looking at me, you wouldn’t have a clue I carry this little secret so close it creases up like the folds of a fan. Tight. Personal. Ready to unravel in the heat of the moment.
Unsurprisingly, my line of work brings me face to face with loss. So I decided long ago that paying for sex would be one of the best (and arousing) ways to save myself from the one thing that would eventually cut far too deep.
But Sam was a mistake. Literally. I signed on to “pick up” a stranger at a bar, but took Sam home instead. And now that I’ve felt his heat, his sweat and everything else can I really go back to impersonal?
Let’s just hope he never finds out about my other life…
p.s. – Megan Hart is visiting us at the pond on Friday, January 23.
p.p.s. – On page 112, Sam talks about a bottle of Smirnov [sic], but I’m pretty sure he meant Smirnoff, which just made me go “awwweee.”
p.p.p.s- To be honest, I’m not 100% sure what time I stayed up until – I know dawn, Saturday. But much like the heroine, Grace, I hate looking at the clock and finding out exactly how
muchlittle time I have left for sleep.