Friday, 28 February 2014

Book Review: Wild Child by Molly O'Keefe

Monica Appleby is a woman with a reputation. Once she was America’s teenage “Wild Child,” with her own reality TV show. Now she’s a successful author coming home to Bishop, Arkansas, to pen the juicy follow-up to her tell-all autobiography. Problem is, the hottest man in town wants her gone. Mayor Jackson Davies is trying to convince a cookie giant to move its headquarters to his crumbling community, and Monica’s presence is just too . . . unwholesome for business. But the desire in his eyes sends a very different message: Stay, at least for a while.

Jackson needs this cookie deal to go through. His town is dying and this may be its last shot. Monica is a distraction proving too sweet, too inviting—and completely beyond his control. With every kiss he can taste her loneliness, her regrets, and her longing. Soon their uncontrollable attraction is causing all kinds of drama. But when two lost hearts take a surprise detour onto the bumpy road of unexpected love, it can only lead someplace wonderful.

 Molly O’Keefe is one of those authors that I will always read. I find that her writing style and the way she tells a story suits me and I find her work easy to get lost in. Wild Child is not my favourite book of hers and I did have some problems with it but for the most part it was a very enjoyable contemporary romance with a lot of heart.

Wild Child starts quickly and seemed to be sprinting forward at a rather dramatic pace. At first I struggled to keep up, everything moved so fast and it made the book hard to get into. It did settle down but it was hard at first to engage.

What O’Keefe does so well is bring out the human side of her books. The start may have been fast but once it settled down it got to the heart of the characters. She builds emotions and people so well that you cannot help but be interested in everyone. The plot, writing and everything else was great but her work is always character driven so that is what I am going to mainly talk about in this review.

Monica is a really interesting character. She has a lot going on and is carrying around a world of hurt that makes her hard to like and even harder to understand. She is stuck between being the nice woman she is on the inside and being the Wild Child groupie the world sees her as. I found some of the things she did to be poor taste, like the book she was writing and I found her attitude at times frankly annoying. But she changes mostly due to Jackson. I loved her around his teenage sister and wish I had had someone like her around when I was a hormonal and hurting teen. I liked that when it comes down to it, during the romance she was the one with the courage even though she had more to fight through than Jackson. She was the one with restraint and pride and I really admired her for that.

I think the one overriding issue I had with this book was Monica’s problems are too big and bad for them to just come together so nicely at the end. She evolves and grows but it was not quite enough. Under the surface there are still a lot of problems that were not addressed. I had the same issue with the romance which was constantly rocky, I felt like the happy ending wasn’t really deserved because there was so much that was not really sorted.

Jackson was a really sweetheart but had a tendency to put his foot in his mouth. He said many hurtful things not just to Monica but also to Gwen, his teenage sister who is also having a hard time of it. He is her legal guardian and he makes her feel unloved and unwanted and that is hard to forgive. His goals for his life in the beginning are petty and he didn’t really come across that well all the time. But his patience with Monica and the way he slowly but surely gets her to open up was beautiful. He also loved his town and he loved the people in it and that devotion was great. He grew on me and in the end I probably liked him more than Monica but respected him less.

The romance was awesome apart from the rushed ending. It was sweet and sexy and I enjoyed the way it built up and flowed. I liked that Monica fought for it even though she carried the most scars and loved that they got each other to open up.

Wild Child may not be my favourite O’Keefe book but I still really enjoyed it. It wasn’t perfect but it was full of heart and I recommend it to other romance fans.

3 stars

Published October 29th 2013 by Bantam.  A free copy was provided for review.  Images courtesy of Goodreads.

Review by Kate Phillips 

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