Secrets bite in Maine

If the Slipper Fits - Elaine Fox

Some stories repeatedly pop up in literature, sometimes in the works of different writers. This is one of those stories, a typical romance. A poor girl and a rich boy lived on a small island off the coast of Maine, USA. A decade or more earlier, they were in love, but the boy’s parents were not happy. The kids broke up, and he left the island, never to return until now. Their passion is ignited again the moment they meet, but one or both of them resist it this time because of the old grievances, misunderstandings, and lies. Then they stop resisting, all the naughty secrets are revealed, and they live happily ever after.

I read a story like that recently – Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s Heroes Are My Weakness, (my review here) and the comparison was inevitable. While Phillips’s book was wonderful, this one, although written a decade earlier, wasn’t nearly as good.

First, the plot moved slowly. It had lots of unnecessary details and subplots which took page space but didn’t affect the main story at all. Mostly those details were distractions, red herrings really. The device works for the mystery genre, but in a classical romance, it feels forced.

Second, I didn’t like the heroine. Her actions in the past were logical, but her actions in the present not so much. The guy kept resisting her, and she kept throwing herself at him like a slut. It didn’t feel right to me.

Fortunately, the writing was good enough, and I did care for the hero and heroine somewhat, so I kept on reading. Not bad, as romances go, but I know for sure that this writer can do better, and has done better with several of her later novels.


Note: as many plots based on old secrets, this one confirms my conviction that secrets are bad for relationships. Besides, secrets have a tendency to come out and bite their keepers, usually at the worst time. Don’t keep secrets from your family and friends, folks.