Felicity Stripped Bare
by Vanessa Jaye, contemporary (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 1-60504-062-2


After losing some weight (which includes dropping that no-good ex-boyfriend of hers) and getting the tutor position at the Metro Toronto Library Adult Literacy Program, Felicity Cameron is ready to rock at life as a babe with attitude. She is dyslexic and therefore she has some baggages that she carries around her in the form of taunts that she endured when she was younger. Okay, her new job sees her hanging around at a strip club, but that's no big deal. She's the new Felicity, determined to tackle life by the horns.

Then there is her new landlord, Daniel Mackenzie. She doesn't get along well with him at first due to a variety of little issues that snowball up into a wrong first impression. He's the rich kid who decides to do his own thing, much to his father's disapproval. Therefore, we have a heroine who's determined to be her own woman paired with a man who is also trying to find his own place in the world. It could have been a good read.

In a way, Felicity Stripped Bare is a good read. I love the heroine's initial sass and attitude. Daniel is an okay hero, but he can afford to be here, since most of the conflict stems from Felicity's self-esteem issues. I know, it seems like a contradiction of sorts, but it really isn't. Felicity has the attitude and she wants to change, but you know what they say - old insecurities don't go away so easily. In this case, Felicity can't imagine why Daniel will want anything to do with her and this allows her to succumb to the likes of tricks of Daniel's ex-fiancée.

And as much as I try to understand the heroine, Felicity's constant pattern of falling into the blues and picking herself up subsequently gets tedious eventually. Her behavior soon becomes artificial, as if the author is trying to keep the story going by racking up the number of internal conflicts between Daniel and Felicity.

Felicity Stripped Bare starts out with a bang but the momentum eventually dissipates as the main characters fall into a predictable pattern of behavior. Maybe this story would have worked better if it's a little shorter. Still, Felicity's take-no-prisoners attitude when she's on the roll is most infectious. As this is a debut effort, I'd be most intrigued to see what Ms Jaye has to offer in the future.

Rating: 78


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