Author: Noelle Adams
Page Count: 205
Published: December 1st, 2013
It seems like I’m on a course of novellas these days. The last three books I’ve read were either novellas or short stories which was nice, they made me realize it doesn’t matter whether a story is three hundred pages long or just fifty or so, what matters is the plot and how the author chooses to tell it. And here I am, having read yet another novella, about two people who are lonely and trying to secure a place in each other.
Jessica is a woman alone. She works from home, though what she does I can’t remember. She’s got a mother who’s suffering from what I think is Alzheimer’s, and she’s not exactly the social type. She longs for a family, children, but luck has never been on her side and for a while now she’s been in love with her long time best friend, Daniel. Daniel is a pastor in a local church. He wants to transfer to their hometown but his acceptance of this new position depends on him being married. He’s a widower of two years, and having loved his wife a great deal, has never seen Jessica as anything other than his friend. So it comes as a great surprise to him when Jessica proposes a deal that would benefit them both. They should get married, so Jessica could have the family she dreamed, and Daniel could have the job he’d always wanted. A win-win situation, yes? Not exactly.
I know I said it comes as a shock to Daniel, but surprisingly for only a half an hour. Although he insists Jessica should make a match of love, that he would be the only one to benefit from their arrangement since she’d be throwing away her future, he gets over this quite easily. One would think Jessica makes a very convincing argument against his objections, but to be honest, she doesn’t even have to try so hard, Daniel agrees to things that much quickly. I can understand speeding things up for this was a novella so it’s going to have less number of pages to tell the story, but honestly, I would’ve preferred a bit more time to be invested on this dilemma than anything else. That way it wouldn’t all feel so rushed which is exactly what happened. I couldn’t help but wonder at the ease with which Daniel accepted everything. He objected at first, sure, but that seemed to go on for such a short while, like I said. And then there’s the way he adjusted to all the other arrangements, like moving house, getting the perfect engagement ring and the engagement itself out of the way, the way he embraced his new position as husband to Jessica. A part of me felt bad for him because though he did seem to be benefiting more out of this arrangement, I thought he was the one who ended up with the short stick. He lost a wife he clearly loved very much, and Jessica was already a little in love with him anyway whereas he seemed to be seeing her only as a friend. But then he went and got so comfortable that I was..okay with it.
If I have to be completely honest, I got to say I felt the awkwardness I expected from them when they fell into an easy rhythm. It was me who felt the most sheepish at their encounters as husband and wife. Though to be clear, when I say sheepish, I don’t mean because of sex, those who’ve read my reviews so far would know that I love my spice and sexy, but because there was sex so casually between them. After all, these are two people who came together for a marriage of convenience, not a love match, and yet they have very pleasurable sex and they’re very affectionate towards each other. They’re more husband and wife than some real couples I know. Daniel’s supposed to be a bit distant from Jessica’s point of view, but not enough to convince me.
When I read the plot of this book, I expected two people who are best friends, and who have the potential to be a couple, coming together for a common cause that would benefit them both. And along the way they’d start to have deeper feelings than just friendship and that would lead to some awkwardness and sexual tension between them. This seems not to happen though, no matter how long I’ve waited. While reading, I felt robbed of this sexual tension that would’ve made this story much more fun and sexy for me.
If I go into the characters a bit more, I thought Jessica was pushing Daniel a little bit too far too soon. I know her reason for this marriage had been to have a family of her own, to have kids, and Daniel agreed to it knowing all this, but considering she’s been his best friend for years and thus known how much he obviously loved his wife, I thought she was being a bit selfish complaining about Daniel’s lack of affection and interest in sex starting from the first week of their fake marriage.
As for Daniel, I would’ve loved to see things from his point of view also, since he was the one with more emotional baggage, what with his beloved wife, who he wanted to have kids with, lost suddenly in a tragic car accident two years ago. But again, we were robbed of this, something that would’ve made this story better. He obviously still felt her loss and loved her, and yet we didn’t have a chance to witness his internal dilemma when he started having feelings for Jessica. I’m always up for a challenge in a love story, I don’t always expect a clear cut tale of two lovers meeting and falling in love, but when you decide to tell a story of people who have loved and lost, I want to feel that loss, their dilemma about moving on and loving someone else while still cherishing that past love in a corner of their heart. Daniel’s storyline didn’t give me that.
This was a steady romance, too steady for my taste, where it seemed to start from the end. The kind of whirlwind of emotions, the passion and the sexual tension that I hoped did not exist in this story. I’m sorry to say I felt no warmth, no ingenuousness even in their friendship, let alone their love.
I’m adding one spoonful of this story into my hodgepodge.
Other titles by Noelle Adams:
- A Negotiated Marriage (Negotiated Marriage series #1)
- One Night With Her Best Friend