by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Meg is a bridesmaid in her best friend Lucy's wedding, but she doesn't think her friend will be happy in the marriage. When she voices her fears, Lucy runs away, leaving her fiance Ted standing at the altar. Everyone in the small Texan town blames Meg for ruining the wedding and breaking Ted's heart. Meg wouldn't care, of course, except that she's been cut off by her parents and hasn't a cent to her name. She's got no way to leave town, and can't afford to stay unless she finds a way to make money. With most of the town against her, only the mayor can help Meg...and he's Lucy's jilted fiance.
This book was my first encounter with Susan Elizabeth Phillips, but from what I've since read about her it seems that her books all coexist in the same universe, and several characters from previous novels reappear here. So if you're already familiar with her books, expect to see some old faces.
Call Me Irresistible didn't feel like a sequel, but it wasn't quite a stand-alone novel, either. For example, the reader is told again and again that Ted is wonderful and perfect, but we're not really shown how everyone in town came to the conclusion that he's so swell. If there was another book in which his personality and back story was previously established, I can see why the author glossed or omitted these details. But to new readers, it makes Ted and other returning characters seem very flat and underdeveloped.
It's a chick lit romantic comedy, so you know that by the end of the book the two main characters are going to end up together. OK, I can live with that, although two months is a really short amount of time for a guy to go from being jilted at the altar to declaring his deep, passionate love for a new woman. But the cattiness and anger that the residents of this small town feel toward Meg is just ridiculous. I mean, Lucy is the bride who ran away, but do they hate her? No, they redirect all that rage at the bridesmaid who was just being honest with a friend in a hundred petty ways. It gets old so, so quickly. By the end of the novel, Meg even agrees to live in this town of crazy, hateful women; what is wrong with her?
Every once in a while I try to step outside my usual genres and read something a little different, but this was not a successful venture. The story was formulaic, the characterization was shallow, and a particular sex scene made me snort in a most undignified manner as I rode home on a crowded bus. If you aren't already a Susan Elizabeth Phillips fan, I wouldn't recommend getting this book as your introduction.
2 out of 5 stars
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