Stephanie Plum and I go back a long way; every since One for the Money, as a matter of fact. Now, female bounty hunters are not exactly my thing, but Evanovich is an engaging and funny writer and Stephanie is a great companion for a rainy afternoon.
This at least helps to explain why I bought and read Wife for Hire. To be fair (and accurate), I had several excuses for buying it. I bought it because:
- I have enjoyed Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series over the years.
- It was raining in the desert (something we haven't seen in a VERY long time) and I wanted to sit by the fire and read.
- You can't always tell how good (or bad) a book will be by reading the synopsis.
- It is on the New York Times Best Seller list -- how bad could it be?
I am going to very carefully avoid the last question and try to to tell you the good things about this book. It is a very easy read. Evanovich's sense of humor is alive and well. It is short -- about 2 hours worth.
Unfortunately, I can't help my self; I have keep going. Basically I wonder why I wasted the time since this is an especially stupid and silly excuse for a novel.
The whole plot revolves around a man hiring a schoolteacher (who wants to be a novelist) to pose as his wife. Within three pages he is in love and she's in heat; or maybe it is the other way around. At any rate there is a lots of heavy breathing, a few kisses but no explicit sex.
I'll save you a couple of hours and tell you that I should have been warned by reading the publishers synopsis:
Hank Mallone knows he's in trouble when Maggie Toone agrees to pretend to be his wife in order to improve his rogue's reputation. Will his harebrained scheme to get a bank loan for his business backfire once Maggie arrives in his small Vermont town and lets the gossips take a look?
Maggie never expected her employer to be drop-dead handsome, but she's too intrigued by his offer to say no . . . and too eager to escape a life that made her feel trapped. The deal is strictly business, both agree, until Hank turns out to be every fantasy she ever had.
Call me old fashioned, but if I am going to read a "bodice ripper'" I want a few costumes, a castle or manor house and an occasional Lord or Lady thrown in.
Not everyone will agree with me, however, and if you are looking for a no-brainier or a cheap stocking stuffer this will do (barely).
This is definitely not one of her better works! If it had been my intro to Evanovich, I promise it would be my last attempt to read anything she has ever written. Fortunately she has grown as an author.
Wife for Hire is one of her early books that has been re-released for the holidays. It is striking how much better Evanovich has gotten at her craft. The writing in the Stephanie Plum series is light years better than this!
If I were less of a cynic I would wonder why Harper Collins resurrected this early 90s Loveswept romance. But then -- I bought it, didn't I?