Where Dreams Begin by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
In general, I adore Lisa Kleypas. In fact, I think that this is the first book of hers that I've read that I haven't given a 4* or better review.
I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed the first half, expecting some sort of change in the characters. In Holly, I expected that her uptight, prim, and proper personality might loosen a bit, but after she'd finally followed her amorous feelings for Zachary, she had to up and leave his estate, right into the arms of her dead husband's best friend. If there was an actual reason for her doing this, I might accept it, but there was no rational reasoning there. Additionally, she's overly frigid for a woman that had been previously married.
In Zachary, I expected that once he realized that he wanted Holly, he'd stop his carousing. I have to confess, I *despise* it when heroes or heroines sleep around with people other than their book match after they've met their future spouse. And he did this for a good half of the book. I hated it.
Not only this, but I couldn't quite understand why Zachary fell in love with Holly. I get that opposites attract, but Holly was cold when it came to any romantic aspect of their relationship.
In addition to the irritating character and relationship issues, the last 1/4 of the book seemed to have absolutely no purpose. The book ought to have ended when they got married. If the author wanted to put in the terrifying sickness, she should have put it in before the romantic conclusion.
That all being said, there were some parts of the book that I enjoyed. I rather liked the interactions between Zachary and Rose, and when Zachary finally stopped sleeping around, he seemed likeable.
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I went to the doctor this morning (because I have a nasty cold that has settled into my chest), and something happened to me in that little room that I'm certain has happened to every single other human being in the history of time. Something insulting was said to me and, instead of uttering the response that I later realized was perfect, I sat in stunned silence and let the moment pass.
For those of you who are curious, this particular circumstance was that a walk-in clinic doctor (whom I'd never before met) told me that my anxiety (the panic attacks that I've been having on a weekly-to-daily basis for the past 9 years) and my nasty cold would be cured by getting more exercise. My first desire was to shout profanities and storm out (which I didn't do), because if he actually knew my medical history (or at least looked at my file before he made a snap judgement about my weight) he would have seen that 1. I have been trying to lose weight using diet and exercise for my entire life, and 2. I have hypothyroidism. Additionally, more exercise wouldn't cure my cold and make my lungs magically better. In fact, I think that my exercising right now would merely make me cough more.
The response that I *really* wanted to give, after pondering it for the past two hours, was this: "I appreciate your insight, but your assumption is that I'm fat due to lack of exercise and poor diet. As you've made very clear, you do not know my medical history. What I'm interested in is the diagnosis that you would give to someone that is skinny."
Not only do I wish I could have put him in his place for my own reasons, but also because he could easily say the same thing to another person and they could take him seriously, potentially overlooking a life-altering anxiety issue.
This experience today (which I've had thousands of times before) made me think. If I'd been writing the scene, I'd have gotten my heroine to say exactly what she wanted to. She'd have stood up for herself.
I also realized that I generally write strong, outspoken heroines precisely because I usually get tongue-tied or stunned into silence when I'm in these social situations. So while my heroines all have a little bit of me in them, I've made them stronger, more resilient, and braver; essentially, people that I want to be more like.
Here's to hoping that the next time someone insults me, I can think of the right response, or at the very least that I'll learn to not let it hurt me.
Award winning historical romance author, Acquisitions Manager for Pandamoon Publishing, wife, and stay-at-home mom of four. Chocoholic, nerd, & bath bomb enthusiast.