GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY wasted.
This book has 2 great characters. Mac and Isabella come alive in the pages. My heart yearns for their reconciliation. I was quite emotionally invested in them.
The writing and characterization are great. Premise really interesting and struggles very real. A young couple fell in love early and hurt each other repeatedly. Sometimes it is like this. When the couple is young, you burn your life like fireworks. You fight and quarrel and make up and forget. But all the fighting leaves a mark on you and the relationship. The damage accumulates to a point where it is not sustainable anymore. Then everything crumples, like Mac and Isabella.
Mac, the wild, the artist, the Scot, the light-hearted playboy met the sensible, well-bred, firebrand of a debutante, Isabella. I have read other books which use art or music as a bonding element for lead characters. This book, is by far the best I have read. Art really defined Mac. And Isabella's understanding and suffering because of his artistic nature defined her.
But the plot development was such a BIG FAIL. There are MAJOR plotlines which either did not do much for the story, or could have been much more but was left unexplored. I will give 3 examples:
1. The forgery and the impersonator: I think it was a really cool plotline. But it was pushed aside and only came into spotlight in the last 30% where things got really crazy. Everything happened in the last 30% and it was just rushed. What a waste of a perfectly good ruse.
2. The child from the impersonator: why and why did you have to throw a child in my face, Ms. Ashley? Was it really necessary? I know you wanted to show isabella's yearning for motherhood but the child did absolutely nothing. I should think Beth's pregnancy scare was enough to illustrate Isabella's pains of miscarriage. Other than setting her up as a future mate for Daniel (I have no idea whether this is true. Just my hunch), I do not know why you would put the child in the story. And to bind her to Mac and Isabella......why? why? why? The child appeared sporadically in the story only. So I have to question: what is her purpose in this story?
3. The fall of Isabella's father: Instead of writing about the child, could you not have written about how Isabella and Mac reconciled with her family?
I could have really really loved this story. I thought using the society paper to give us a glimpse of their past is ingenious. I thought the characterization of Mac and Isabella (and everyone else for that matter) really really good. I thought the art element truly binds the characters together in a special way, showing us a kind of connection that exists only between people who connect on a higher level. I thought the relationship "problems" between Mac and isabella really real and how they found their way back to each other really touching. But the plots were just all over the place after 50%. I wish Ms. Ashley would trim down the plots and develop 2 or 3 of them really well instead of making a wok out of all these ingridients.