Tangled Up In Love
by Heidi Betts, contemporary (2009)
St Martin's Press, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-312-94671-5


Tangled Up In Love attempts to be one of those urban battle-of-the-sexes kind of romances, but it has a rather implausible set up and there are many parts of the story that feel like filler scenes.

We have two rival columnists - Dylan Stone of the Cleveland Herald and Veronica Chasen of the Cleveland Sentinel. Ever since Dylan got the columnist job that Veronica wanted, he's been baiting her with "men rule, women drool" material in his column and she in turn retaliates with her own "yeah, prove it, buster" material in her column. Frankly, I have a pretty hard time believing that any sane editor will allow a columnist to spend so long indulging in this feud, especially when the snippet of the "article war" I am provided is not only pretty dull but also comes off like self-indulgent prattle.

Anyway, when the story opens, Veronica challenges Dylan in her column to take up knitting. He of course takes up the challenge, only to end up in Veronica's knitting circle. You can imagine her reaction to this, I'm sure. Her friends predictably become single-minded cheerleaders where she and Dylan are concerned, those two of course begin necking and more, and the course is set.

Tangled Up In Love is a readable story, but I don't feel that special spark that makes this one truly one to remember. The characters are familiar, their interactions have some amusing moments but feel painted-by-numbers on the whole, and there are some contrived conflicts popping up here and then to keep the story going when things are becoming too peaceful. The secondary characters are too obvious as sequel baits, to the point their scenes are comparable to intrusive commercial breaks, and the author isn't above using these characters to force the two main characters into a clinch.

On the bright side, the heroine gets to keep her career instead of giving everything up to become a housewife.

Still, at the end of the day Tangled Up In Love may do all the right things, but there is a lot about it that feels too contrived for my liking. I laugh, I smile, but I'm not moved.

Rating: 77


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