Now THIS is how you write a convict on the run falling for his kidnapped hostage. Authors take notes! :P
I don't even know where to start with this. A roller coaster of emotions. My gaaaawd. I love how I can rip a book apart to shreds when I'm not happy with it and can't seem to shut up but when it's a 5 star book I'm tongue tied and can never do the book justice. I'll give it a try....
My very first Judith McNaught book. It was love at first sitting. I seriously could not put this down 10 pages in. And it's funny because I picked this up very hesitant and kinda dreading it after inadvertenly finding out that the hero and heroine don't meet until 150 pages in. Wut wut waaaahut? Blasphemy!!!!! What cray cray author would do such a thing like that? So of course I was prepared for a whole lot of foot shuffling, stalling, dragged out summarizing, painfully slow plot. Yeah....not even close. McNaught beautifully introduces readers to both the hero and heroine and their difficult heartbreaking pasts, their family background and how they come to be where they are in life before running into each other. I'm a big fan of details and she doesn't hold back with the details which I really liked. We get to see how our hero Zack Benedict rises to become the heart throb A-list actor and director and how Julie Mathison becomes Julie Mathison before crossing paths with Zack. Their back stories were so vital to the story and made it so much more rich and exciting and unpredictable in many ways. Seriously, don't focus on the number of pages and actually READ the story before panicking and going no no no! If you like good writing and storytelling then this is the book for you. Just because the hero and heroine aren't making goo goo eyes and sucking face by page 50 shouldn't be reason to quit this.
I honestly didn't mind that Julie and Zack don't meet until 100 pages in because the story was so compelling and enthralling. It made absolute total sense. I really enjoyed both characters' back stories, seeing Zack in the Hollywood lifestyle going through the ropes of filming a movie was very brilliantly handled. I could picture it so clearly. McNaught really impressed me with how vividly she painted the Hollywood backdrop, the ins and outs of being on set and shooting a big film, the egos, the scheming, the groupies and users. It came off very real and held nothing back. I also loved the suspense aspect of the story. Throughout 90% of the book I had no idea what was going to happen next. And the dialogue just sucked me in and made me melt to the floor. Good lord the dialogue. *sigh* Yes there are some uber sappy and tres corny lines thrown out with some unnecessary exclamations!! in there too (much to my frustration) but nonetheless they are sweet and charming and very heart warming moments.
I found Zack to be ridiculously sexy, endearing and a total sweetheart. I found his complexities and contradictions absolutely delicious. His brooding grouchy attitude towards outsiders, people he doesn't trust was so much fun and a total contrast to how he interacts with the people he cares for (which is a total of 3 people). He's very cynical and aloof and sometimes can be cold and harsh but he's got a big vulnerable heart he tries very heard to barricade behind a wall of ice. And he's done a good job hiding it for much of his adult life until one Julie Mathison changes everything. :P And damn can that man use his words well. Lord lord lllllorrd. He's quite the romantic when he wants to be and had me melting all over the damn place with the stuff he would say to Julie. *fans self* Oooof. Take me LOVA!
Julie Mathison is what you can categorize as a sweetheart 'perfect' prim heroine but has a willful pride, a stubborn streak and a fierce passionate heart. I absolutely adored her as the little pixie street urchin girl. She comes a long way and it was wonderful to see. I loved her big heart and innocence but there were moments when she tested by patience. And there were a few moments I wanted to physically throttle her but what's great about McNaught's writing is she exceeds at giving us in-depth POVs. Really great character reflection. You get inside both Zack and Julie's heads and get a better understanding of where they are coming from. It endeared me to them both. The character development in this was wonderful. I can't say there was a moment where I hated or even blamed Zack for anything. He's written as this aloof ice cold man who's supposedly selfish and cruel towards people who don't know him. The only thing he was guilty of being selfish of was wanting someone to believe in him and love him for him
. Be still my damn heart. Come here baby!
I will admit to being conflicted with what Julie does during the climactic portion of the story, I was angry, annoyed and wanted to pull my hair out. But the author really makes up for Julie's short coming in this case by backing it up with plenty of self-reflections riddled with self recrimination, torment, guilt and shame. That helped tremendously in sympathizing and understanding where Julie was coming from.
Anywho, these two were complete opposites from personalities, to backgrounds and beliefs. I adored seeing Julie melt his heart and charm him. He tries to fight so hard to falling in love with her and even accepting it but it was great to see it play out. I loved these two so much and so happy they got their HEA, it took a long road to get there but the reunion was a wonderful pay off. Yes it's a totally sappy gushy love story but it has it's dark moments and is filled with angst, suspense and drama. There were countless scenes that had me going back and re-reading. That's a big positive in my book. If you have me re-reading parts more than once I'm a fan of yours for life. :P Brava Judith McNaught! I'd recommend this to anyone, Judith McNaught fans or new readers. It's a very condense read with a lot of ups and downs and turmoil between the hero and heroine but it's very worth the read.