Have Gown, Need Groom

Marry Me, Maddie

Under the Covers

Sleepless in Savannah
by Rita Herron
(Lovespell, $5.99, R) ISBN 0-505-52544-5
Ever wonder what happens to young adult romance characters when they get older (note I didn't say grow up)? They become the characters in Sleepless in Savannah.

Sophie Lane, former Vegas showgirl, now local talk show host is feeling her biological clock ticking something fierce. After all, she's almost the "big three-oh" and still not married. Why she's practically a dried up old spinster. She has been in love with her best friend Maddie's brother Lance Summers forever, or actually six months, but it feels like forever. Trouble is, he signed a bachelor pact with his brother and best friend so they could concentrate on their fledgling construction business. There is also some mention about a past bad encounter in a previous book, but it is never explained in this one. Sophie knows Lance isn't into commitment but maybe, just maybe, she can change his mind. She could always send him a note in study hall.

No, that'd be too obvious. Instead, she will trick Lance into dating her by rigging a Dating Game contest on her talk show and whisk him away to romantic Cancun where for sure he'll fall in love with her, because she's bringing sexy underwear.  Maddie, who was the heroine in the aforementioned previous book Marry Me, Maddie, helps her dear friend with some maturity of her own. That would be the seven rules for trapping a man. These rules include gems such shaking your ass to attract the man but leave him unsatisfied, thus hungry for more. Please tell me women have progressed beyond stuff like this in the real world.

If the author hadn't reminded the reader every few pages that Sophie was nearing the "big three-oh" one might guess she was in junior high.

The plan goes awry, however, when Lance finds out about it and causes Sophie to end up with another contestant. As soon as that happens, Lance realizes what a big mistake he made. Another man is going to have his paws on Sophie's hot body and he just can't stand that. Not that he wants Sophie, no he doesn't. Well, yeah maybe he does but he can't risk commitment.  After all, he is a bachelor for life. So, rather than act on his desires, he becomes an insomniac and almost ruins his business. Yes, that same business that is the reason he's a bachelor for life. Oh silly, funny irony.

The rest of the story goes on like this. Sophie by turns tries to make Lance jealous and to forget him, both which are accomplished by dating a string of irritating men. Lance is conveniently restoring Sophie's home. That allows him to appear sweaty and shirtless a lot, as well as get to see Sophie in various stages of undress. Then, as if this all wasn't hilarity enough, enter Sophie's wild child sister Lucy. Lucy is starting her own business, having home parties for adult sex toys.  Cue lots of wackiness involving banana shaped dildos and fake breasts.

Much of the humor in this book is of that same forced, immature variety, for example, the find your porn star name scene at the adult toy party. How convenient that almost everyone had a pet or street name so suitable to innuendo and when they weren't particularly so, they were manipulated to be. It was very stilted and frankly, not very funny.

There is a secondary romance story between Lucy and Lance's brother Reid that is refreshing in that it lacks the juvenile manipulations and misunderstandings of Sophie and Lance.  It also lacks any real emotional depth, but still Lucy and Reid are a fun couple and a nice break from the antics of the main couple.

Despite all of this, I was willing to give Sleepless in Savannah a break. Although the humor was not to my taste, one could see where it would appeal to others and it was genuinely witty in parts. Herron also writes some interesting detail about Savannah, working them naturally into the story. Then, as quickly as it was forgiven, the book went horribly wrong. It can only be described as literary quicksand.  The book careens into one conflict cliché after another, culminating in a very predictable break-up/make-up ending.

--Anne Bulin

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