Sunday, July 17, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥: Called Home: Two Hearts Answer by Gloria Schumann

Release Date: May 8th, 2010
Publisher: Savant
Page Count: 333
Source: Complimentary copy provided by author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)

Emma Benson's view of life was crafted by the death of her brother as a child, abandonment by her father and later, the man she trusted she would marry, until...

David Schlosser—back in town after years in New York writing best-selling novels—threatens her neatly tended life. Romance blooms. Emma and David eventually persevere in the face of tragedy, refusing to leave their dreams behind.
Sweet small town romances can turn out one of two ways: tragically emotional and heartbreaking, or undeniably corny. Called Home: Two Hearts Answer contains all the elements of the latter; the sequence of the story is predictable and bland. I don't feel the "chemistry" between Emma and David, but it's portrayed like it's strong and passionate (but to me, it isn't. At all). Their relationship seems rushed, forced, and fake, as if it was scripted for a clichéd romance novel.

The main reason I think I can't feel the love between Emma and David is because of their personalities. They're both highly dislikable; Emma acts stingily and as if she's eleven years old—and god, she is SUCH a prude—and David is too demanding and cocky. While I can bring myself up to ignore David (because most men are demanding and cocky anyway), I just want to slap Emma in the wherever-it-would-be-most-painful. That girl's got something shoved up her ass! And she's in denial for the majority of the book too; though she kisses David and fantasizes about him in a more-than-platonic way, she won't admit she even likes him until the very end. She can't not only admit her love, but her LIKE for him until the very end. Like I said before—is she eleven years old? What does it take to act civilly towards a guy who hasn't touched a hair on her head?

Regardless, David seems stunned by her as a woman. I find nothing extraordinary about Emma, by the manner of her speech, attitude, and style, and yet David is still perplexed by her femininity, beauty, grace, and all that other crap. This is why I find their relationship unlikely; Schumann does a poor job of convincing me that they could really fall for each other. Another reason for this may be the chastity. No love scenes are consummated, and aside from heavy kissing, nothing happens. Nothing. While I appreciate this in a sweet contemporary romance, it also seems unlikely in a real-life relationship.

Aside from the nonexistent connection between the characters, another problem I have with this book is the unnecessarily detailed and superfluous writing style. Schumann expounds the exact descriptions of attire (and furniture, exteriors, cars, etc.), names of minor (and once-appearing) characters, and redundant facts (such as "The silence was not at all awkward. Emma found it very comfortable." Oh, really? Because I thought an unawkward silence would be totally uncomfortable).

One thing I will give props to, is the structure of the story. The plot is coherent and consistent, and therefore easy to follow. I don't find this an easy read persay, since the language tends to drag on and repeat itself, but the events happen in order and are reflected back upon, facilitating my understanding of the occurring action. The mystery, though easily predictable, is frightening and overall well-crafted. The pace doesn't pick up until the temperature starts heating (in a life-threatening way, not sexually)—but that isn't until the last quarter or so of the book. I think lovers of a good, clean romance will find this one enjoyable, but I personally didn't like it that much.

Stephanie Loves: "The best way to insinuate oneself from the inevitable beating that reality gave you is to dispense with the dreaming in the first place."

Radical Rating:
 5 hearts: Doesn't particularly light any of my fires; I feel indifferent about this book. ♥♥♥♥♥