Saturday, August 6, 2011
Posted by Simcha 5:37 PM, under | 5 comments
Count Down to Love is not the kind of book that I would normally review here but I was browsing through NetGalley while in the mood for something light and romantic (which is like going food shopping when you’re craving chocolate) and this book sounded like just the kind of literary confection I was hoping for.
When Kelly Pickens’s finance fails to show up for their wedding, her cousin, Sissy, persuades her to participate in the reality TV show that she produces, Count Down To Love, in place of one of the missing contestants. In Count Down to Love a group of single, attractive women are brought to a mansion where they live together for several weeks while they vie for the affection of a handsome and wealthy bachelor. Every few days several of the contestants are eliminated, until only one woman is left, the “perfect match” for the show’s bachelor.
Kelly has no real interest in getting the attention of this season’s bachelor, Dillon Black, but she needs the money that the show will offer her, in order to pay for the expensive wedding that never took place. Kelly also hopes that participating in the show will make her fiancé realize his mistake and come back for her. Sissy’s reassurances that Kelly will only have to stick around for one round also helps persuade her, and before she knows it Kelly finds herself arriving at the Count Down to Love mansion and being greeted by the attractive, blue-eyed, Dillon.
While enjoying the luxuries that the mansion has to offer Kelly does her best to avoid Dillon, as well as the other women who she is supposedly competing against. But Kelly’s roommate is determined to befriend her and rather than being put off by Kelly’s disinterest Dillon seems to find it intriguing. To Kelly’s dismay, instead of heading home after just a few days, as Sissy had promised, she keeps getting invited again and again to to stay on in the mansion. And the more time Kelly spends with Dillon the more she finds herself wanting to stay.
While I’m not a big fan of reality TV I have tuned in to the occasional episode of these matchmaking shows such as The Bachelor and How to Marry a Millionaire and so I was familiar with how these shows worked, and it seemed like a good setting for a romance novel. Both Kelly and Dillon were appealing characters that I enjoyed getting to know, though I was disappointed that the book’s secondary characters received very little attention. When I have watched these shows my favorite parts were seeing how the participants interact with each other and how their relationships develop, but we are privy to very little of this in the story. In fact, after Kelly’s arrival at the mansion, rather than seeing her settle in and respond to her surroundings the story just skips ahead a week, so that I felt like the scenes I had been looking forward to were missing. This actually happened several times, that I got the sense that parts of the story were missing, and I found myself flipping back through the pages to see if if I had somehow overlooked those missing passages.
Other than that, I actually did really enjoy the story and the interactions between Dillion and Kelly were very sweet. Through their time spent together they discover that they do have quite a bit in common, despite their vastly different lifestyles, and Dillion seems intent on keeping Kelly on until the end. But Kelly is uncertain as to how far she can trust Dillion, considering that he is dating several other women at the same time, and tries to keep her distance even as she finds herself falling for him.
I had picked up Count Down to Love because I liked the idea of the dating-show setting and so I was rather disappointed that the details I would have expected from such a setting were downplayed. And yet, I did still enjoy reading this book and following Kelly’s burgeoning romance and her journey of self-discovery. I was particularly pleased with the unexpected way the story concludes, allowing Kelly to bring about her own happy ending.
I think Count Down to Love is a book most romance readers will enjoy.