Friday, October 16, 2015

SPRING FEVER


Review of SPRING FEVER by MARY KAY ANDREWS
(review based on audiobook, read by KATHLEEN MCINERNEY)

SPRING FEVER opens with a wedding. In fact, Annajane Hudgens sits in stunned silence as she watches her ex-husband Mason marrying another woman. Then something stops the wedding and the couple has to postpone it for a while. Annajane has tried and tried to convince herself that she’s over Mason, that she’s fine with his remarriage and blissful in her own recent engagement, but now fate has handed her an opportunity to call her own bluff, if she has the courage.

I found this another simple, enjoyable read from Mary Kay Andrews. The story features engaging characters and the audiobook boasts an excellent narrator. The plot leads you along easily and the writing lends the air of a friend telling you the story.

I liked the, more than usual, complicated relationship dynamics. Mason and Annajane aren’t merely exes, but exes who work closely together. Not so unusual, you might be thinking. Well, let’s add in the fact that shortly, suspiciously shortly, after their divorce, Mason took sole custody of Sophie, his newborn daughter with an unnamed mother. The gossip around town speculates that Sophie’s mother and Mason had a one-night stand while he and Annajane were still married. Annajane knows that the timing is discomfortingly close to their divorce regardless, but to her surprise her bitterness melted away as soon as she met Sophie. She fell hard for the little girl and has played an active role in Sophie’s life ever since. That all said, I will admit that some of the twists at the end took the relationships from intriguingly complex to soap opera melodrama.

In my mind, there’s some hypocrisy going on with Quixie. That’s the soft drink company handed down in Mason’s family, the company where both he and Annajane work. While the book paints (with heavy handed strokes) Quixie as a wholesome family business, it’s ultimately a huge commercial enterprise that keeps their family stinking rich by selling people an unhealthy product. Wait, I’m not actually on a soapbox here. I just found myself rolling my eyes when Annajane goes on about the purity of the Quixie brand time and time again. 

In general, though, this book doesn’t view things in the shades of grey I prefer but more in black and white. Take Mason’s fiancĂ© and almost new wife Celia. As I see happen in many stories, Celia (the other woman figure) starts off as a nice if somewhat shallow person who’s simply not a good fit for Mason. However, her character descends into a mind-bogglingly deceptive and selfish woman. Personally, I enjoy the earlier incarnation of her character better. I think it makes a stronger statement when someone chooses between two people who could be good for him, rather than simply figures out which one is evil and which his soul-mate.

In many ways this sweet, simple story becomes a tale about pride, a tale about two people who could be great together if they can put the past behind them.

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