Remember when I won a free UK copy of Wendy S. Marcus' When One Night Isn't Enough? Well, it came in yesterday, and I finished sometime last night. I thought I might do a review of it, but then I realized I would be strutting into Between the Lines' territory, and I didn't want to start a turf war that could disrupt the very fabric of space and time. So instead of writing a review, I've decided to write a reaction to it.
My initial reaction: I liked it very much. It's not a long book at all; Chapter 1 begins on page 8 and the story ends at page 202, and I was able to finished it in about ten or so hours. Wendy's writing style is enjoyable; you never feel like you're slogging through useless information. Her style is fast-paced and dialogue-filled, but it never feels rushed or slapped together. Everything fits. The scenes progress in a logical order. The characters mature and come together in a way that's believable. Best of all, you're never lost. You always know who's talking, who's doing what, and what's going on. Even when the scenes get technical - there's a few scenes where characters will yell out some hospital lingo - you don't feel abandoned. It happens, you sort of understand it, you move on. It doesn't trap you in a whirlpool of Stat, IV, and fallopian tubes.
The sex happens in Chapter 2 and keeps happening occasionally, which is a nice touch in a romance novel. Sometimes the sex happens and then never happens again, and it's like biting into a jelly doughnut only to find some jelly and a whole bunch of nothing. This is so not the case with Wendy. The sex is there, it keeps coming back, and it's some of the best sex you will ever have.
But really, for me, what kept me reading was Allison and Jared. There were times when I wanted to take both of them by the shoulders and shake them and yell at them and tell them to leave their pasts behind them and just get together already! I wanted to tell Allison that it didn't matter what she did when she was teenager, that here was a perfectly good man for her and just go for him and let go of her expectations. I wanted to tell Jared that he was being a bit of a jerk sometimes and that he needed to stop thinking all women were the same and that Allison was amazing and perfect for him. It got frustrating sometimes to watch them fall apart over their pasts and pick at one another and ruin each others' efforts at creating a relationship, but I think that's a good sign that I was reacting like that. Wendy's characters are so strong and likable that you want to reach into the book universe pull the strings yourself. That, my friends, is good storytelling, and I bow down to Wendy's superb skill.
Allison and Jared's relationship/follies actually resonated quite strongly with me, and made me take a step back and reevaluate my own relationship and how I was self-defeating myself in the same way Allison did to herself. There was one scene near the end that I refuse to ruin because it's beautiful and you should all read it, where Allison just completely nay-says everything Jared tries to tell her, tries to convince her of. I almost started crying because I realized that's what I've been doing for so long without realizing how it hurts the other person involved so much. It really made me wonder what I've been doing all this time, holding on to a dead and decomposed relationship because I couldn't admit it failed, while still trying to move forward with someone much better and more supportive of me. It made me think about what I was doing, not only to myself, but to my other. It wasn't fair of me to do that.
If I had to give When One Night Isn't Enough a rating, I would give it four and a half jelly donuts out of five. I take half off because I was hungry and because I wanted more to read! But no really, it's an excellent book and I would definitely recommend it to everyone who likes romance and character-driven plots.
Buy at: Nook and Kindle. More links are available at Wendy's website here.