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Book Cover

LynneC’s review of Up Close and Personal by Maureen Child
Contemporary Romance published by Harlequin Desire 4 Sep 12

So one of my reasons for dumping this one is the name, which won’t bother anyone else unless you happen to be called Connolly too. I found it unnerving to read my name repeated so often in a book. Ronan Connolly. For a start, I came across the spelling “Connelly,” and take it from me, Connollys hate that happening. So do Connallys and Conneallys.

We have the basic standard Irishman. At least he doesn’t say “to be sure.” But there’s nothing specific or interesting about Ireland or the Irish in this book. Lyrical stuff about green scenery and the pub, all “Quiet Man.” At the beginning, he uses the word “ass,” instead of the Irish “arse” and there are other Americanisms, too. I mean ones that don’t sound natural in Irish mouths. He doesn’t sound Irish at times. The ranting and raving at the start is a bit tiresome. Ronan wants his dog back. Laura refuses to hand it over out of spite, I think.

The hero and heroine have had a passionate affair in the past and Ronan called an end to it. Because, of course, he’s a commitment-phobe. That’s another trope I’m tired of. It makes the hero look stupid, even when he’s supposed to be a business whiz. A man who can’t change his mind in the face of evidence won’t make a very good executive. He says “gotten” quite a bit, too.

And I’m disappointed. I want to see and read about their first meeting and explosive affair. I want that on the page, not explained in retrospect. It’s as if we’re missing half the story. We don’t see them happy and together, and the author has to do an awful lot of “telling” to keep the reader up to date.

Just after the start, the heroine and her sister talk to each other. Actually, they don’t. They talk to us and kindly explain the plot for us. How kind. In the trade, it’s known as “As you know, Bob.” So the AYKB convo, held at the kitchen table, thus fulfilling the static conversation requirement in a plot as well, tells us that the heroine has money problems. You know what? I don’t care, not at this stage. Someone needs to make me care and they’re not going to do it by a quick catch-up.

The heroine has had a miscarriage and not told the hero. Why? I’m not sure. I think she thinks it’ll make her seem weak, and she says that it’s in the past, gone. Oh, right. I think Ronan has a right to know, just as he has the right to reclaim his dog. It smacks of martyrdom, as well. Even when he is obviously confused about her and what’s happened, she won’t tell him. Time to woman up and come clean, but oh, not for Laura, not until she’s driven him half mad with conjecture. Then, when she tells him, what do they do? They have steamy sex. I found that scene really uncomfortable, and, for once, I skipped the sex scene.

And what is with the horrid cover? I have to admit that the cover put me off the book for a while. That pullover is something mothers-in-law get their daughters’ husbands just to see them squirm over Christmas.

The next story in the series is about Laura’s sister Georgia and Ronan’s brother (cousin?) Sean. I don’t think I can stand another Connolly book. But the repetition of my surname will most definitely not be your problem.

There is a connection with the Kings series that Child is most famous for. I lapped most of those books up, but these two just didn’t work for me.

LynneCs iconGrade: DNF


When brash Irish billionaire Ronan Connolly meets Laura Page, the connection is electric. He’s danger. She’s a safe haven. And the passion between them burns—too hot and too fast. So Ronan ends the affair before it can get serious.

But he can’t stay away.

Six weeks later he’s back, wanting to pick up where they left off. But Laura’s having none of it. She’s hurt, angry—and hiding something. Ronan vows to find out everything that happened while he was gone. But this time, getting up close and personal may mean giving Laura his heart.

Read an excerpt.