Ugh. After reading Debbie Macomber's "When Christmas Comes" (also titled "Trading Christmas", on which the Hallmark movie of the same name was based),Ugh. After reading Debbie Macomber's "When Christmas Comes" (also titled "Trading Christmas", on which the Hallmark movie of the same name was based), I swore I would NEVER, EVER, EVER read another Debbie Macomber novel. Then I came across "Starry Night", which sounded like nice, light Christmas fluff, and also vaguely reminded me of the plot of another Hallmark holiday movie called "The Snow Bride". (In "The Snow Bride", tabloid reporter Greta Cain is trying to beat another reporter to the scoop on one of the town's most political, influential and secretive affluent families, the Tennahalls (sp?) which eventually leads Greta to lying to her love interest and crush, Ben Tennanhall [who is secretly a budding novelist], and then falling in love with him. All in all, sweet, though a bit sappy too, Hallmark Christmas fluff.)
However, this novel was nothing like that. At least, I imagine the rest of it wasn't; after 50 pages, I gave it up. I was bored and annoyed with the characters, and couldn't imagine two mismatched people falling in love.
The plot is fairly simple: Chicago Herald society page only writer Carrie Slayton longs to do more with her journalism degree. She wants to write big, serious stories, and after two years of covering the society pages, she gives her flaky, distracted editor her two weeks notice. Her editor tells her that if she can literally do the impossible: locate and interview reclusive, "mountain man" type best-selling author Finn Dalton (who has apparently NEVER, EVER, EVER given ANYONE an interview, and has only communicated with a publisher via email, which is a bit sketchy since if the book was such a best-seller, who is the one doing all the promotional work for it?), then she can have her pick of choice assignments.
So Carrie is apparently supposed to be "smart" woman/character. In spite of her good looks and affable personality, she's also supposed to have graduated journalism school with a lot of promise (though states that she's "lucky" to have gotten the offer, via some professor pulling strings, to work at the Chicago Herald). That said, Carrie accepts the assignment—the impossible challenge—with chipper gusto and is so gung-ho about it she has to repeat herself several times when telling her friend Sophie that "she's not going to give up without trying!". (I rolled my eyes at all the repeated phrasing; I honestly don't understand why Debbie Macomber or her editor feels the need to beat the readers over the head with all the repetition. Does she/they think the readers weren't paying attention one paragraph ago? Or one page ago?
So back to Carrie's supposed intelligence. She decides she's going to take Thanksgiving break (so roughly, a four day weekend) to fly up to Alaska (did I mention that's where Finn Dalton is apparently hiding out? Did I also mention that Dalton apparently hates women, especially his mother, and, on a side note, shaving?), meet Dalton, get the interview, and be back on time for work on Monday. SERIOUSLY? She really thought that through, right? SHE'S going to manage to get the interview that no one else has, and in record time too!
By some stroke of luck, Carrie finds the one pilot who actually knows Dalton, and who agrees to fly her to Fairbanks, Alaska, in his bush plane, despite a coming winter storm. He drops her off on a frozen lake and leaves her to fend for herself in her only Chicago-appropriate winter wardrobe. Finn finds her and takes her back to his cabin, where he doesn't speak to her unless he's accusing her. Mostly he just glares and scowls at her while she babbles, telling him all the reasons that she's there—including the fact that he's her project and that she can do her own thing as a journalist if he'll just talk to her.
Overall, I found the plot ridiculous and trifling, not to mention implausible and frustrating. Obviously you know the pair are going to be stuck in that cabin riding out whatever storm is coming, literal or figurative, or both. But I really don't care. This book, even just 50 pages, was a stupid waste of my time. ...more