TBR September 2015Well, I have to say that I agree with the title of this book that I received for review from the advance e-book copy portal, Netgalley. It’s taken me a while to work out what to write, because I suspect it was a case of needing to adjust expectations – mine of the book and the publisher of me as a reviewer, rather than it being a bad book as such. A single item review because I am supposed to link to it on Netgalley.

Tracy March – “Should’ve Said No”

(Provided by the publisher via Netgalley)

The publisher of this book got in touch with me after I’d won, read and reviewed Debbie Macomber’s “Reflections of Yesterday” suggesting that this was similar to the great Debbie’s books. I signed up to read it on that basis, but it wasn’t exactly like her books in one very important aspect: it was an uneasy mix of the small-town community life I like to read about, with a museum theme which was very appealing … and some quite explicit sex scenes scattered through the narrative, which jarred rather.

So, Lindsey Simms, who has been laid off from the Smithsonian (this seems odd, but we’ll let that go), accepts a job setting up a small-town museum but there are complications in the form of a family feud, with both sides vying to have what they consider to be their truth told in one of the exhibits. Added complication 1: Lindsey is related to one side. Added complication 2: Man who she initially thinks is “just” a handyman and basically fancies like mad is all mixed up in it, too. So far so good. I liked the small town details and characters, but.

The chapters seemed to be written from alternating points of view, and the feel of the different voices obviously worked to an extent; actually to the extent that it felt like they were written by different people. The chapters told from the male character’s point of view were very generic in their views of woman and far raunchier than I’d expected. I think all of the sex scenes were written quite literally through his gaze and from his point of view, too, and that felt uncomfortable, too.

Now, I will admit here that I don’t read a lot of the specific romance genre. I know Debbie Macomber is considered romance, and I prefer her multi-character books, and I suppose Cathy Kelly, Maeve Binchy, Marian Keyes and Carole Matthews are, too – but all of those people tell stories with characters and locations that feel real … and there are sex scenes but they don’t tend to make your eyes water. These were more on the Jilly Cooper / Judith Krantz level (although I remember those being more equal in their viewpoints), and to me it made an uneasy mix. But I suspect more avid romance readers than me would find nothing surprising in this, and to be fair on the book, the plot worked and the side characters were attractive.

This book would suit … someone who likes things more explicit than I do, frankly! Or likes the contrast …