You Belong to Me by Johanna Lindsey

I’m going to keep this relatively short, since those who read my recent post about romance will know that I didn’t enjoy the initial hundred or so pages of this book. You Belong to Me came to me as a recommendation from a friend; I’d told her I was trying to get into the romance genre but that I didn’t know where to start. And even though this book did not improve in the latter portion, it did spark a foray into a whole slew of other romance novels. I’m definitely not writing off the genre as a whole, but suffice it to say that Lindsey’s writing is not for me.

Again, I already wrote a bit before about my initial impression in terms of the wordsmithing of the book–those opinions have not changed. The one new thing I’ll add is regarding the book’s conclusion, so spoilers lie directly ahead.

Ready?

Do you know the principle called Chekhov’s gun? Essentially, everything in a story should matter. Don’t leave a gun on the table and have your audience on tenterhooks wondering who’s going to get shot, then provide no payoff.

That’s a little bit how I felt at the end of the book, knowing that the MC hadn’t found out her father’s lie. And for those of you who haven’t read the book, this lie is a real doozy: her father invents a betrothal, essentially saddling his daughter to the swaggering, womanizing love interest. Of course they learn to love each other in the end, but still, we need closure on this lie. Even the MC’s brand-new husband finds out… but doesn’t bother sharing with the MC. So to me, this reads as a broken promise to the reader, similar to Chekhov’s gun. If there’s a lie forming the backbone of your plot, the dirty details and resulting fallout had better surface at the end of the book. It made the ending unsatisfying, since I’d been anticipating the MC’s tirade once she discovered her father’s misdeed for four hundred pages.

My first dive into romance wasn’t the greatest, but I’m hopeful the next time will be better. I’ve been thinking about those Deveraux books–they seemed legitimately promising. And Three Nights of Sin by Anne Mallory read like a dream, though I wasn’t looking for a smutty read. One of my reading goals for 2019 is to find great romance. I’ll keep you guys updated on the journey, whether it’s smooth sailing or a bit bumpy.

2 thoughts on “You Belong to Me by Johanna Lindsey

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