Book Review: A Suitable Wife by Carol Burnside
This book is the first in the Sweetwater Springs series of stand-alone books by this author.
Sam Moreland is desperate to keep his daughter out of the clutches of her abusive mother seeking custody. He resists legal advice to provide the court with a complete family unit because past relationships have soured him on love.
Though she yearns for children, Rosie Baxter knows a failed pregnancy has likely left her barren. She remains single rather than bring her problems into a marriage and concentrates on her business with its financial woes.
A temporary marriage pact means Rosie provides Sam with the illusion of family in return for an influx of cash into her store. But kisses for show become all too real. When outside threats shake their growing bond, each must trust the other with their darkest secret or lose their best chance for love and happiness.
Warning: This book contains a heated tryst in the kitchen, a cricket choir, conniving exes, and big family gatherings. Do not read if you are allergic to tall, dark and handsome men with sweet baby girls or determined red-haired women with strong maternal feelings. The author makes no guarantees against sudden urges in the reader to move to a small southern town.
My Favorite quote: “The innocent are often casualties. As much as we wish it weren’t true, sometimes we can’t protect them.”
An established author, Sam Moreland is fighting a nasty custody battle with his ex-model-wife. He wants to keep his two year old daughter as far from her, as humanly possible. His lawyer advises him to marry someone to project the image of a happy and stable family to the judge to win the case. Sam moves back to his hometown in the hope of keeping his daughter safe. He meets his old friend Rosie who runs a floral shop and is high strung for cash. The two have their own reasons for their willingness to strike a deal. A deal is struck for a little cash flow to facilitate the much needed revamp to Rosie’s shop. What transpires after the deal is the story with a happy ending.
What worked for me: The flow of the read is smooth and the imagery vivid.
For example, “Their rubber flip-flops scuffed against the concrete, the sound louder than usual in the sudden silence after his abrupt announcement,”
Or “The same tepid breeze that danced wayward tendrils of hair across Rosie’s neck had dried the rain off the sidewalks and grass,” were brilliant.
What didn’t work for me: This book suffers from Purple Prose Syndrome. When the writing in Fiction is too flowery and ornate (like in Poetry) the work risks falling into what is called Purple Prose.
The plot needs to be flushed out. For instance, the reasons given by both Rosie and Sam with regard to them hiding their past seemed silly to me. I mean if the reasons were revealed, the relationship would have been on a strong footing from the get go. I don’t believe people in general are that stupid to not see reason in revealing the truth.
The other thing that bothered me was how the ‘very important and scary past’ of the protagonists just dissipates into thin air all by itself with no intervention from either Sam or Rosie. If the ending was going to be so pale why the build-up from the beginning?
Another thing that irked me was the fact that the ghosts from both their past reenter the lives of the protagonist but do nothing? I am not convinced. And as a result of this the characters didn’t seem believable and real.
The expression “…crossed her arms under her breasts,” was used one too many times.
Conclusion: The book prequalifies saying – “This book contains a heated tryst in the kitchen, a cricket choir, conniving exes, and big family gatherings. Do not read if you are allergic to tall, dark and handsome men with sweet baby girls or determined red-haired women with strong maternal feelings. The author makes no guarantees against sudden urges in the reader to move to a small southern town.”
Read it at your own risk.
Rating: 2.5 stars
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