Susan Elizabeth Phillips is another one of my favorite romance authors, so I always make efforts to read her latest book. And I've never been disappointed. Again, I'm not expecting ground-breaking literature, here, just some fun entertainment and escapism for a few hours. Call Me Irresistible (2011) is her latest, and it felt like something of a family reunion, with many of the people and couples from earlier books.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips does not rely on danger and adventure for her books. They tend to be focused on eccentric but lovable characters and the witty banter among them. As unrealistic as her stories might be, she always manages to create a feeling of family and support for her characters that anyone in the real world might envy. And the story is generally entertaining enough that anything annoying or unbelievable you just let go because it doesn't matter.
In this novel, Meg Koranda, the underachieving daughter of a famous actor and a supermodel (apparently a couple from another novel that either I haven't read or don't remember) drives into Wynette, Texas to be her best friend's bridesmaid. She has just been cut off from her family in their effort to encourage her to make something of her life. Unfortunately, when she meets the groom-to-be, she realizes it's not going to work and helps Lucy Jorik (a previous character from yet another Susan Elizabeth Phillips novel and the daughter of the previous President of the United States) run away from her wedding.
Amidst the wake of the ruined wedding, everyone flies out of Wynette, leaving Meg Koranda alone in Wynette with no money, along with the scorned groom, Ted Beaudine. It's obvious already who ends up together. The story follows Meg as she finds ways to be productive and contribute something to the world. There's also a lot of golfing and some rather surprising lectures on the environment and how we need to be stewards of the land (which I agree with, I was just didn't expect to see it in this medium; when the author glorifies a small town in Texas, I don't expect her to have similar political views).
This probably wasn't one of my favorite books from this author, although I still enjoyed reading it. Perhaps when all the characters are already drawn out from previous novels, it's more difficult to form a story around them. Sometimes it definitely felt forced. One of the things that really bothered me was that both Meg and Ted (the heroes here) pretended to be interested in other people because they wanted them to invest in the new golf course they were trying to get built in Wynette. True, of course, these people turned out to be rather horrible, but why does the author think it's okay to mess with people's feelings like that? If you're not interested in someone, don't use their feelings for your own advantage. Sure, it created some interesting love triangles, but the heartlessness of it still bothered me. Anyway, I'll still be looking forward to reading her next book.