Another post in less than a month! Thanks to the complete lack of summer television choices, here I am with another review.
I picked up Jessica Bird (a.k.a. J.R. Ward)’s book, An Unforgettable Lady, at a used bookstore. Good thing I only paid $3.99 for it and not the full price of $7.99. As the author herself noted, this book was one of four contemporary books she wrote at the beginning of her career. You can tell Ward is still getting into the groove of things. Her distinct voice has not fully developed and we encounter some of the typical romance/suspense tropes in this book. While this book was a decent read, it is not on the same level as the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. So, I suppose part of my disappointment is due to my high expectations.
Grace Hall is an influential figure in Manhattan’s society. She comes from a wealthy Manhattan family, is a countess by marriage, and now is the head of the Hall Foundation, an organization founded by her father. Grace was one of six women featured in an article that ended up as a serial killer’s hit list. Grace turns to John Smith, a securities expert with a murky past, to protect her.
The book is short, a little over 300 pages. Perhaps partly due to its length, I felt the characters were not fully fleshed out and developed. Grace seems like a pale predecessor to Marissa from Lover Revealed. I liked Grace, mostly. Her biggest problem is standing up to other people, including her late father, her soon-to-be ex-husband, her mother, all of whom tend to run roughshod over her. But she’s trying. She’s trying to run her father’s foundation. She’s trying to stand up to her mother. She’s trying to stand up to John. While Grace does some stupid things, in general, she was pretty likeable, maybe just a tiny bit boring.
I actually didn’t like John very much. John seems like a pale predecessor to any of the BDB alpha heroes. My biggest issue with John was I felt he was not very nice to Grace. John has a somewhat mysterious background. It has been mentioned that he does not have a social security number and obviously the name John Smith is an alias. I know what you’re thinking – Nooooo! Really?! John Smith is an alias?? Indeed it is! There are implications that his background may have been concealed due to his previous work for the government but nothing is very clear. Basically, John feels like he can’t get close to anyone due to the enemies he has made in his previous line of work. So he pushes Grace away despite his attraction to her. But he seems to go to the extremes. At one point (pretty late in the story), he thought Grace made out with him and then turned around and slept with someone else so he basically called her a slut. It seemed pretty unbelievable that at such a late stage in their relationship, he can contemplate that she would do such a thing. He apologizes later, but it seems pretty lame to me. That level of mistrust is not something that can be overcome by a simple apology.
I guess I didn’t really buy into the love story between John and Grace. The ending seemed a bit unrealistic too. Essentially, all of a sudden, once John realized he loves Grace, all the obstacles seemed to magically disappear, including his lack of a real identity, his supposed enemies etc. The suspense portion of the story was not too bad. Ward also introduces some secondary characters who are in other books. I might go pick those up at the library or something so I can see what happened to them.
Overall: I gave it 2.5 stars. It was okay. But definitely check out the BDB series by J.R. Ward. It doesn’t compare.
Finally, one more random comment. What’s up with Ward’s choice of a pen name? Jessica Bird? I don’t know why, but I am not into this name at all. Couldn’t she have picked a better pen name? Bird sounds so … unromantic and non-authoritative. Ok, yes, I realize this is quite random.