Review 41: The Cardwell Family

I’m motivated today to talk about genres for a bit, I hope you bear with me. I’ve always been predominantly a fan of adventure, sci fi, and fantasy stories. This is because most contemporary novels are about people living their lives and hopefully experiencing some personal growth-I’ve never been sure why I should spend my time doing the same thing reading about other people doing it. Far too meta for me to consider entertainment.

For the most part, this holds true when considering these sub-genres in romance as well. I find that a lot of contemporary romance depends on the H and h being immature or spawning drama for drama’s sake in order to have any kind of suspense. I have a very limited tolerance for that kind of behaviour, in real life or fiction. Some authors, Jewel E. Ann springs to mind, create very damaged characters and set them up in unlikely circumstances designed to trip their triggers to create heartbreaking, cathartic reads. I can appreciate the work it takes to put these stories together, but they aren’t my favourite fare.

When I think about the contemporary romances that I’ve especially enjoyed, the common denominator is that they focus on the development of the relationship between characters. There is growth on both parts, there is challenge and compromise, and there may be disagreement, but they learn from it. Which leads me into the first two books of the Cardwell Family by Christy Pastore.

She wasn’t an author on my radar at all, until Edenbooks.org highlighted her as their January spotlight. So, I took the opportunity to support them both and bought Beautiful March and Sweet Agony. Unfortunately, I found them to be disappointing. Christy sets up circumstances that could potentially lead to a Jewel E. Ann level of drama in both books, but they both sort of fizzle out. There is sex, but it’s of the “we know it’s good because they tell us it is” variety, not because the description sucks you in. The plots are pretty basic. The writing is pretty basic. There is nothing terrible in these books, but there isn’t anything that drew me in or stuck in my mind. Even though I just read them back-to-back, I had to make an effort to remember that details of Beautiful March before I sat down to write this.

Sometimes, I re-read a book later and enjoy it more, just because I’m in a different head space, but I don’t think that will be the case here. These books are the equivalent of cotton candy: sweet and light, but you get tired of it quickly.

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