Reviewed by Shari
James Swain is young, rich, talented and handsome. A British actor in a wildly successful series of films, he’s well acquainted with the sort of lifestyle afforded by practically unlimited wealth. Life hasn’t always been this good for Jamie, but he senses something is still missing.
Enter Melanie Morganstern, a thirty-something American housewife with an ambition to become a published author. After penning a well-received fanfiction novel involving Jamie’s popular character, Mel inadvertently becomes drawn into his real-life orbit. What would seem like a dream come true soon becomes something like a nightmare: her favorite fictional character crosses the line separating fantasy from reality, resulting in nearly catastrophic consequences.
Deciding Mel is exactly what he wants, Jamie tries to steal her away from her husband. But, despite her attraction to him, Mel refuses to betray her marriage vows. It’s only after tragedy strikes that she finally opens herself to what Jamie has to offer, something she’s desperately needed all her life. And Jamie, leaping headfirst into the aftermath, learns lessons of self-sacrifice, patience, and responsibility. Their passionate romance blooms despite nearly universal disapproval. Together, they face the challenges of forging a new life and a family out of the wreckage.
(Amazon Product Description)
Shanyn is a new, and very talented, self-published author with two more novels upcoming. I’m anxious to read them when they come out. Old Enough to Know Better is her first book.
The first two paragraphs hooked and kept me slogging through the boring backstory that filled the rest of that page and the next two pages of the novel—good thing, because what followed completely reeled me in. I couldn’t put the book down, even though it’s 478 pages long. Shanyn’s masterful characterizations and descriptive capabilities had me right there with Mel and her two small boys, cheering them on as they worked their way from grief to happiness. Jamie, a too-young, hotheaded, “bloody narcissist”, made me root for him to “capture the castle” despite everything against him, including his own screw-ups. And I had to cross my legs at the “X” scenes (blush).
While characterization is strong, I found the plot to be a bit disappointing. Mel’s former mother-in-law threatens to take the children away from Mel after she marries Jaime, and there’s no escalation of that conflict. The last chapter is a letdown. I expected Mel to deal with her phobia and support Jamie at the premiere of his new movie, but Jamie babies Mel through her fears in the hotel room and the premiere scene itself is never reached. Also, Jamie has hereditary tendencies that led him to have a vasectomy well before he ever met Mel. I kept expecting some sort of challenge involving Jamie’s health to hit them. I think some of the “X” scenes (while I loved them) could have been “x’d” to allow for greater plot development.
I give Old Enough to Know Better 2.5 stars for plot, 4.5 stars for character development, and 5 stars for the love story—the chemistry among them, including the children, was totally believable and completely “satisfying” (blush again)—for an average of 4 stars. It’s a jolly good read!