Sunday, March 27

Call Me Irresistible - Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Meg Koranda has a lot in common with her best friend, Lucy Jorick - both the daughters of famous parents, they have reacted quite differently to being brought up in the spotlight. For while Lucy is sensible, mature and always considers the needs of others, Meg is almost thirty, dependent on her parents, and drifting. She is, however, not only loyal but able to see what nobody else has - though her groom-to-be seems perfect in every way, Lucy doesn't love him, and from what Meg can see, Ted doesn't love her, either. Which is why, even though she only arrived in Wynette, Texas, the day before the wedding, Meg feels comfortable telling Lucy that it's time to live her own life. And, in an upset reported by media worldwide, the daughter of America's first female President leaves the son of golf's finest star at the altar.
Call me Irresistible weaves together multiple characters from previous Phillips novels - we met Lucy in First Lady, jilted fiance Teddy's parents' story was told in Fancy Pants and we met them again in Lady Be Good, while Meg guest starred in What I Did For Love (a small part that didn't appear in my review) and is the product of the couple whose story's told in Glitter Baby.
This is something I've quite enjoyed in other series, particularly Brockmann's SEAL Team series. For some reason, though, I found the constant allusions to previous plot lines really irritating, perhaps in part because I haven't read Glitter Baby. I suspect, though, that it's more likely because in Brockmann's series the characters are all present in one another's stories, with different protagonists in the spotlight from book to book; Phillips' characters, however, have inhabited separate universes until now, so keeping their stories straight and present is harder work.
For me this overshadowed what was otherwise a very good romance - though the pie-eyed esteem of the locals toward Ted was a little hard to swallow, I found the central premises of Call Me Irresistible believable within the confines of the genre, the plot hurdles were plausible, I really liked the central characters, and I particularly enjoyed the way Meg pushed Ted past his own people pleasing, as she did Lucy. Phillips also adroitly handled the potential squick factor of a heroine moving in on her best friend's ex.
It's been a while since I read a good romance, and I'm a little disappointed that I found the references to previous narrative threads getting in the way of my enjoyment. Readers less distractable than I, or with a better grasp on Phillips' oeuvre, may not find this to be an issue. - Alex

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