Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Cross My Heart - Carly Phillips



Cross My Heart
Carly Phillips
HQN

Contemporary Romance

At 17, Lilly Dumont is so desperate to escape her abusive uncle that she enlists two friends, Ty Benson and Daniel Hunter, in a plan to fake her own death. The plan succeeds, and Lilly makes her way to New York City with only the meager summer earnings of her friends to sustain her. She takes the name Lacey Kincaid and, within ten years of hard work and sacrifice, she’s managed to create her own small business. And her investment banker boyfriend, Alex, has proposed marriage, but agreed to give her the time and space she needs to tell him about her past in her own time.

But the past is about to come knocking on her door, literally. Ty, now a PI and part-time bartender, tracks her down to tell her that her nefarious Uncle Marc is about to have her declared legally dead so that he can take over the sizable trust fund left to her by her parents. Deciding that she’s run from her past for long enough, Lacey returns to her hometown. Aided by Ty and Hunter, who overcame his own past to become an attorney, Lacey plans to fight for what belongs to her, and perhaps find some peace of mind.

The setup for the story is done quite well. Unfortunately, things start to go downhill at about the halfway point. Lacey’s rotten treatment of Alex cancelled out most sympathy I felt for her character. Once I was un-invested in the main character, I became very aware of the predictability of the remaining plot. While I’m convinced that this is not the author’s best work, she did interest me enough in Hunter and Molly to want to see more of them in a future book.

On the very bright side, there are some interesting twists and layers presented in the first half of the novel. Each character has an interesting and believable history explaining how they got to this point. Even the villain of the piece, the uncle, is given an explanation for his actions, and, while that doesn’t excuse him, it elevates him from paper cut-out bad guy to realistically flawed character. The author’s breezy narration and dialogue keep the story moving at a brisk pace, making this a fun, light read.

Rating: 6
August 2006
ISBN# 0-373-77126-6 (hardcover)

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