by Suzanne Brockmann, contemporary (2011, reissue)
Bantam, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-345-52894-0
Future Perfect was initially published in 1993 by Meteor Publishing. Since that publisher folded pretty quickly, I suspected that not many people have read this book the first time around. Well, here it is, reissued with a shiny new package and a spanking high price (it is a category-length story, after all) with what seems like no revision made for this particular edition. Considering that this is the author's first published effort, the lack of revision is not a good thing.
Juliana Anderson runs a Victorian-themed New England bed and breakfast called 31 Farmer's Hill Road. Not only does she walk around dressed up in garbs from that time period, she also silently judges her guests on things like manners and such. Of course, our hero Webster Donovan flunks the manners test since he shows up late and made her wait until midnight as a result of his no-show, but because he's so hot, looks trump manners every time. He's an author hoping to find a place to write his next great novel, but he's soon honing his skills of sexual harassment with Juliana.
Well, that's pretty much the plot. I can go on and on about accidents, drama that involves the guests of the inn, scenes where the guests talk about their lives to move the hero into nearly shedding manly tears, and more, but these are all filler scenes, to pad the pages until it's time to announce the happily ever after. And yes, there is a late big misunderstanding drama, which crops up in such a bizarrely stupid manner that it makes Webster look even more like a creep. At any rate, this is a category-length romance, which means that it is already short, and it is padded with filler scenes. Unsurprisingly, this one is a dull and aimless read, with disjointed drama after drama popping up one after another like Wile E Coyote's constant traps for the Road Runner. By the last page, 31 Farmer's Hill Road has enough medical emergencies and near-death dramas to make me wonder why anyone would want to stay at what is obviously a death trap waiting to happen.
Webster being a creep manages to keep things mildly interesting, although not in the way the author intended, I suspect. That man is a creep. From the moment he meets Juliana, he makes blatant sexual innuendos to her face. He pursues her with a creepy single-minded diligence, constantly prattling about how she is the one for him, only to have him late in the story ambush her and accuse her of nasty things. Oh, how fickle his single-minded devotion seems to be, eh, that he has no problems thinking the worst of her when the plot needs a conflict to keep things going for a few dozen more pages? He apologizes prettily, comes close to shedding manly tears now and then, and generally acts like the only man in the world who has fallen in love, but something tells me that two weeks down the road from the happily ever after, he will accuse Juliana of having an affair with the toaster and dump her like a sack of rotten turnips.
Future Perfect is a directionless read padded more heavily than a bag of chips, with the few finer moments present being unintentionally humorous in nature. Strictly for collectors of the author's works only, this one.
This book at Amazon.com
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