My reviews have definitely been languishing, not that I’d really gotten into the groove. In the meantime, we’ve moved provinces again (second time in one year) and we’re still settling into the new house and new routines. However, I joined a Goodreads group that had a read and review challenge, which seemed like a good motivation to get back to doing this.
The first book I picked for the challenge was The Contract by Melanie Moreland. I haven’t read any of her books before, but many of my online book friends are fans of her work and she’s been languishing on my TBR. She has a series called Vested Interest that seems like it would be good, but I picked up The Contract either on sale or free through some offer or another, so since it was sitting on my Kobo, it seemed like a good place to start.
I’ll admit, for the first couple of chapters, I was not drawn in and I wasn’t sure if I was even going to be able to finish it. Richard and Katherine start out like the most predictable and flat cardboard cut-out characters ever. I was honestly rolling my eyes as I was reading – it was painful. But I was committed to this, so I thought I’d push through a bit longer. It slowly started to show signs of hope once they agree to their arrangement and start interacting with each other. I was still afraid that it would be one of those books where they magically jump from loathing and contempt to insta-love, but I was pleasantly surprised. Given the well-used trope of fake engagement, the sense of time passing and the characters developing through a progression of stages was actually pretty well done. By the time of the conflict, I was engaged enough in their lives to be rooting for Richard to get his act together. Personally, I would have ended the story a little earlier; giving them all the check boxes of a “happy relationship” ventured back into the territory of cheese to me, but I’m willing to concede that that is probably more personal preference than a rule of story telling.
In terms of the mechanics, the writing was mature but easy-going and it was well edited. Once I got past the first chapters, I was drawn into the story enough that only a few odd little slips caught my attention enough pull me out. This one isn’t going on my “favourite, to be re-read endlessly” list, but I give it a solid 3 stars.