There’s something vaguely disturbing about having a romance with a title from the Lord’s Prayer. Especially when that romance is most definitely not an Inspirational. I believe it also has something to do with the American Constitution, but I’m not sure. However, I think Jesus came first. To read that the heroine is a hippie type who doesn’t believe in marriage means the title is rendered fairly meaningless.
The heroine is Aspyn Breedlove, who I think was meant to be called Rowan. She is the daughter of conservation activists. She’s named after the mountain ash, which is why I say she’d have been better as Rowan, the alternate name for the mountain ash. She is a hippie in the loosest sense, with no real belief in the lifestyle. If this was portrayed differently, this could have worked really well, but as it is told, the hippie/activist is merely a veneer. Aspyn is an airhead, with no more passion for her beliefs than I have for little yappy dogs (sorry, I came off worst in an encounter with one the other day). She demonstrates no understanding for what being a hippie means or what working for a cause entails. It just provides her with a cute background and sets up the meet cute at the beginning, but it’s as thin as ice on a window and as durable. When her parents finally arrive on the scene, they have no compunction in using the Internet to keep in touch, although they’re conservationists. Masts in jungles, energy consumption? They condemn her for joining the campaign, instead of seeing her as an instrument for the cause. It just doesn’t gel.
The hero is Brady Marshall, one of the powerful Marshalls of Lang’s new series. While I give a cautious welcome to the idea of politics as a background, I’m not sure it works, because of the necessarily superficial treatment it has to receive as the background to a romance. Brady is the campaign manager to his father, Senator Marshall, and three weeks before the election, he’s run off his feet. Brady is a very busy man, he is attracted despite himself to Aspyn, and he starts an affair with her. Brady is the executive hero of many a Modern romance, but there’s not really anything to make him special. Transpose him to an office setting and he’d work just as well. And I think that’s why I had a disconnect with this book.
We are told Brady is intelligent and handsome, and we are told that Aspyn is sweet and trusting. Actually, in a political situation Aspyn is TSTL without the redeeming features of Gardener in Being There. And I don’t get the connect. We do get some sexy scenes, but more often than not, when they get to making love, we get a fade to black. After the undressing, the fondling, the foreplay, that comes across as cheating. We get the promise, but not the act.
The background is interesting, but not convincing. As we’re all learning so painfully, politics is a dirty business, where compromise is essential and beliefs are diluted to nothing. Politicians just don’t have the respect they used to, if they ever did at all. Although Aspyn’s parents do state the usual polemic about politics, the solution is seen as insultingly easy. I think the problem I have is that the backgrounds are used as the main conflict. There’s nothing inside, no deep disagreement of opinion that would drive this couple apart. They might have to compromise the way they live, but they are always going to be together, and the machinations have nothing to do with the great sex they share or the way they feel about each other. Or so we’re told. Politics is nothing if it’s not grey, and that might be another problem. The Modern Romance line works best when the moral decisions are more clear-cut. Although there is an attempt to give both sides a fair hearing, there isn’t the room to do more than skim the issues. Maybe, if a specific example had been cited, it would have worked better. Maybe, if Aspyn and Brady were more involving characters, it might have worked better. As it is, I got three quarters of the way through and realised that although the book is competently written and has a background that at least tries to go beyond the norm, it isn’t going to engage me and I actually didn’t care if Brady and Aspyn got together in a hippie commune or in the White House.
Introducing The Marshalls… A rich, powerful family that mixes business, politics…and pleasure. If the U.S. had a royal family—this would be it!Any red-blooded woman would kill to be handcuffed to political hotshot Brady Marshall, but campaigner Aspyn Breedlove wants to raise awareness—not her own acute consciousness of those delicious, iron-hard muscles beneath Brady’s expensive suit.…
But in a shock move, she’s made a part of the Marshall re-election campaign.… Aspyn hopes she can dance with the devil and create change from within. But what chance does she have when that devil is sex-on-legs Brady Marshall—and as Christmas closes in, she wants to do considerably more than kiss him under the mistletoe…!
Read an excerpt.