Katherine Coble's Reviews > It Only Takes Once

It Only Takes Once by Susan Colleen Browne
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's review
Mar 22, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: suggested-comparative-reading, bargain-books
Recommended for: Not a soul on this earth
Read from March 22 to 28, 2012

It was just after St. Patrick's Day and I was really in the mood for Irish Fiction. I've read all the Maeve Binchey and Marian Keyes books at least three times apiece and was hoping to find something new out there.

So when this Kindle self-pub said "if you like Maeve Binchey and Marian Keyes, you might like this", I figured it was worth a couple bucks and a few hours of my time.

Well, it took me a lot longer than "once" to finish this book and I'll tell you why.

There is NO story here. I take that back. There's a short story that gets dragged out into the most tedious novel-length tale I've come across in awhile. You know that co-worker you have who insists on spending your lunch breaks and water cooler chat sessions on going into every detail of her failing, flailing romance and her child support and custody battles?

This book is that co-worker.

The first half of the story--literally 50% according to my Kindle--is spent with the main character dithering about telling a man he is the father of her seven year old son. Right there any sympathy I had for her went out the window. Keeping a man from even the knowledge of his child is a really lowbottom way to act. It's cheap and smarmy and I felt no sympathy for the Nicole Kidman lookalike.

Once he finally(!!) finds out, the rest of the book is spent in one of those frustrating "romantic" dances of approach-avoidance. They're attracted to each other! But they can't be together! Why not? Well...the eejit main character whose name I forget--really--keeps coming up with dumb reasons. How will it affect her son? Oh, like she cares NOW!??? For her own stubborn pride she made her boy spend the first six years of his life without knowing his father and growing up in near poverty in Dublin. Her own father is wealthy but she doesn't ask him for money because of a falling out in the past. "We don't get along." Well, how does it affect your son to grow up without the medical care he needs?? Didn't care for six years, but you care NOW? Just to create a sort of dramatic tension, I suppose.

The only reason I'm giving this 2 stars (1.5, actually) is that she has some writing skill and she worked to finish a novel. That deserves acknowledgment. I just hope to God the next novel she finishes has likable characters and a better central conflict.

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