It's hard to criticize No Ordinary Man. The book is so gosh-darned good-natured that you have to give it
some credit. But I can't agree with the back cover, which promises "a contemporary romance filled with
sparkling wit, exciting adventure and sizzling passion." I found a sweet contemporary romance, but
nothing more exhilarating than that. The uninspired plot and the strange dialogue style left me cold.
Mitchell Storm, lord of an impoverished Scottish isle, travels to America to seek out his distant cousin
Victoria, a millionaire heiress. Mitchell's and Victoria's great-great grandfathers were brothers whose
quarrel divided the family. One brother made millions as a late 19th century American robber baron,
while the other stayed in Scotland and fiscally mismanaged the island into the ground. The promise of a
long-buried treasure that could revive the Storm clan brings Mitchell to Torey's doorstep.
Torey is not the spoiled airhead that Mitchell expects. Yes, she's rich and beautiful, but she also has a
good head on her shoulders and is kind and compassionate to all. She agrees to travel to Scotland and
help him find the treasure. Unfortunately, during Mitchell's absence some nefarious fortune hunters have
made themselves at home in his castle and have set their sights on Mitchell's bachelorhood as a target to
overcome. To put them off the track, Mitchell asks Torey to pretend they are engaged. Torey is willing to
help out however she can.
I was plodding along, dutifully waiting for the promised "wicked way with plots" (another back cover
endorsement quote) but the trite pretend-engagement scenario put an end to any hopes that this novel
would rise above the mediocre. The mystery of the treasure is mildly engaging, but the villains are two-dimensional and too inept to be threatening.
The strangest thing about No Ordinary Man is the dialogue. Suzanne Simmons' characters have an
annoying habit of parroting each other ad nauseum, as in this example:
"You are supposed to be thinking of marrying me."
"These are not subtle individuals, Torey. They just won't get it otherwise."
"Trust me, a charade is the easiest way of dealing with people like the Forbes."
"Yes. Marrying me."
Maybe that's supposed to be the promised "sparkling wit," but it just made me dizzy. Add to that lots of
short, choppy, one sentence paragraphs and you have a very quick but not terribly satisfying reading
experience. Here's one more example:
The man was noble, even regal.
But he was far more than that, Torey acknowledged.
He was gorgeous.
Mitchell and Torey are both perfect and obviously meant for each other. Simmons alludes to the fact that
Mitchell is trying to deceive Torey in some way but then drops that idea in favor of focusing on the bad
guys instead. There really isn't much conflict keeping the lovers apart, other than Torey's obvious choice
between her familiar, empty life in Rhode Island and the handsome, brave man who understands her
perfectly. There is a rather healthy dose of sensuality, however – more than I would have expected in
something this light and airy. The promised "sizzling passion" does come close to being delivered in full.
I really hate giving No Ordinary Man such a low rating, since the author obviously is fond of the sweet
characters she has created. I have no doubt Mitchell and Torey will be happy together, and I'd gladly
send them an engagement present, but I'd rather not bother reading about them. However, if you like
your romances light and amiable, and don't mind the choppy writing style then you might find it more
rewarding than I did.