by Robyn Anders, contemporary (2005)
Books For A Buck, $3.99, ISBN N/A
Robyn Anders' Hometown Hero is at heart a very clichéd romance with little surprises but the premise is something different from the usual reunion storylines out there.
Our hero, Russell Lyons, was injured during his military stint in Iraq and he can't remember anything about his past. Don't worry about that Iraq thingie, by the way, because Ms Anders doesn't intend to turn into Ann Coulter on her unsuspecting readers anytime soon. What Russ knows is that he has a sexy fiancée Heather whom he inexplicably has no sexual desire for as well as a past so golden that it's a wonder he doesn't have to wear shades all day. He was the football captain, star baseball player, scholarship winner, basketball MVP, Prom King, Student President, and a Yalie to boot. He's also good-looking with a body to go hubba-hubba over. Um, yeah, what's his problem again? Oh yes, he has no memory of his past. He is told that he was all these things but he just couldn't remember.
Cynthia Meadows is the town reporter. She was nearly as good a student as Russ back in the old days, although he edged her out when it comes to the scholarship to Yale. Because she is not from a well-to-do family, her journalistic ambitions have to remain just that - dreams - while she stays here in Shermann. He doesn't remember that he knows her but while he doesn't feel the chemistry with Heather, he does with Cynthia. Oh dear, that complicates their arrangement where she will get to do a feature on the town hero in exchange for her letting him access to the town news archives and high school journals.
Ms Anders seems a little too fond of excessive physical perfection in her characters, and this can result in some puzzling dichotomy in the characters. In the case of Cynthia, for example, she is beautiful yet at the same time she has self-esteem issues about her appearance. It is possible that she may not realize that she is sexy, I suppose, but the way the author introduces this aspect of Cynthia makes the character come off as contrived. It also goes without saying that the old Russ isn't a very nice guy while the current Russ is. While there isn't anything too unconventional or surprising to me in this story, at least the author tries not to take the easy way out with Russ when it comes to Russ' trying to piece together his past. He comes off as a sympathetic character who deserves more than the clichéd girlfriend he ends up with.
But so what if the story is not earthshattering? It's pleasant, it's readable, it has a nice cover, and compared to potential stinkers that go for $5.99 to $7.99 out there, I'd take a nice kind of ordinary anytime and anyplace!
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