REVIEW: The Fireman Who Loved Me by Jennifer Bernard

Sunday, June 3, 2012 1:00
Posted in category Review

The Fireman Who Loved MeLiviania’s review of The Fireman Who Loved Me (Bachelor Firemen, Book 1) by Jennifer Bernard
Contemporary Romance published by Avon 24 Apr 12

Part of the reason I love romance novels is that they’re great to relax with. Not every romance novel is fun, but the majority are. It’s not a genre that takes itself seriously, which is fine by me. I saw a book titled The Fireman Who Loved Me and thought it would be a great way to spend an afternoon. Hard-hitting newswoman meets rugged fire captain? Bring it on.

The first chapter turned me off. Melissa McGuire’s beloved grandmother Nelly brings her to a charity bachelor fireman auction. While we’re in Nelly’s point of view, she has nothing nice to say about the women buying dates through the auction. Her granddaughter is an angel, but all those women are tramps. Then Nelly ponders why all of Melissa’s relationships go awry.

Because–she didn’t know what to look for. She went for the artsy type, graduate students and wannabe film directors, the kind of man more interested in finishing his thousand-page novel than in knowing how to treat a woman. (p. 5, ARC)

Now, I’m fine with the romance obsession with alpha males. It’s often more enjoyable to read about people with forceful personalities. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing appealing about arty men. (And I find it hard not to equate film directors with an alpha personality.) Besides, it’s not true. Melissa’s ex who makes an appearance in the story is also in the news business. He’s a legend that dazzles women and knows all their secret sexual desires. Not an arty dreamer at all. Nelly bothered me throughout the novel. She’s supposed to be a charming, endearing old lady, but I do not find her antics to be either of those things.

Other elements work better. When the story focuses on Melissa and Harry Brody falling for each other, it’s terrific. The two crazy kids can’t keep their hands off each other, there’s so much chemistry between them. But the story keeps going away from them to focus on what Ella Joy, an anchor at Melissa’s news station, is doing. Ella has no less than two love interests and a redemptive character arc. I think she has more character development than either of the leads! And because of the overgrown side plots involving Ella, the bits with Harry and Melissa separately seem underdeveloped.

Harry has a lot of good qualities. He looks out for the men of his fire station, watching their backs in an emergency, and counseling them during downtime. He’s good with his hands and is renovating his own home. He has bad qualities too. He finds Melissa’s father and hires him to help fix the house so that he can learn about Melissa’s past without asking her. No one ever mentions that this is an incredibly creepy thing to do. He’s also got baggage from his first marriage, which isn’t good or bad – but does leave an ex-wife to come sniffing around and mess with the budding relationship.

Melissa wants to work on meaty, muckraking journalism rather than the fluffy pieces she produces for The Sunny Side of the News. She used to do that in LA, but something destroyed her confidence. (As usually happens, the dark, unsavory past she doesn’t like to talk about isn’t all that dark and unsavory once it’s revealed. It would mess with your head, though.) Now, she has her chance due to a child contacting her about a possible abuse scandal in the foster care system. Too bad he keeps being forgotten due to all the side plots. The Fireman Who Loved Me is such a silly book that the child abuse is a little jarring whenever it comes up. And it’s disconcerting that it keeps being forgotten.

There are the bones of a good romance in The Fireman Who Loved Me. Jennifer Bernard knows how to write two characters falling in lust and love. She just needs to write a book about two characters beginning a relationship, instead of two characters surrounded by a heap of silliness and bad decisions.

Livianias iconGrade: C

See LynneC’s review here.

Summary:

Fearless, smoking hot, and single: meet the Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel. These firemen might be heroes, but it’s their bad luck in love that makes them legendary.

News producer Melissa McGuire and Fire Captain Harry Brody couldn’t be more different, though they do have one thing in common: they’re both convinced they’re perfectly wrong for each other. But when Melissa’s matchmaking grandmother wins her a date with Brody at a Bachelor auction . . .

Sparks fly. Passion flares. Heat rises. (You get the picture.)

Add a curse, a conniving nightly news anchor, a stunningly handsome daredevil fireman, a brave little boy, a couple of exes, and one giant fire to the mix, and Melissa and Brody’s love may not be the only thing that burns.

Read an excerpt here.

Other books in this series:
Hot for Fireman

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