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Full House (Max Holt No. 1) Mass Market Paperback – September 16, 2002

217 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Originally published in 1989 under the pen name Steffie Hall, Evanovich's comic romantic suspense novel Full House reappears here in what the author calls a "bigger and better" form. Wealthy newspaper owner and horseman Nick Kaharchek meets divorced mom Billie Pearce when she makes polo lessons at his stables part of her summer self-improvement program. Though she's hopeless at polo, Billie is so cute that Nick begins to invent excuses to spend time with her. First, he takes care of her when a horse steps on her foot; then, he arranges for his nutty cousin Deedee, a self-absorbed airhead, to board with Billie while her kids are away. As if that isn't enough, Billie must also contend with a bomb-setting teenager, professional wrestlers, an outbreak of spiders and threats from a mysterious intruder. Evanovich acknowledges in a note to readers that her plotting has gotten more intricate since this book was first written (she's right), but her attempt to rework a formulaic '80s love story for the new millennium doesn't come off. The outcome of the artificial romance between Nick and Billie is obvious from the start, as is the identity of the intruder. Instead, the book's focus is on the slapstick comedy provided by the cast of wacky, though mostly loveable, eccentrics. (Sept.) Forecast: Thanks to Evanovich's sterling reputation and substantial fan base, sales won't falter much, but this trussed-up tale may fall flat for both her mystery-loving fans and readers seeking a truly contemporary romance.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

What, readers may wonder, is the best-selling Evanovich doing publishing what looks to be a mass-market romance? As it turns out, this book isn't exactly an original publication. It appeared first, in 1989, under the pseudonym Steffie Hall, before Evanovich switched from romance to mystery and hit the publishing jackpot. Apparently, the author has received numerous queries from knowledgeable fans about the availability of her earlier, pre-Stephanie Plum novels. The publication of this "enlarged" edition of one of those early books is intended to respond to that demand. If nothing else, it will give fans a clear view of how far Evanovich has come in terms of style and characterization. Wealthy Nick Kaharchek isn't known for fraternizing with common folk, but when divorced mom Billie Pearce falls right into his arms, he has trouble letting go. Commonsensical Billie has always led a predictable life, juggling work and family, but her levelheadedness takes a vacation when Nick expresses an interest in her. There's none of the tension--romantic or otherwise--that drives Evanovich's crime novels, but hints of stubborn, self-reliant Stephanie Plum pop up now and again in Billie, and there are signs of the vivid secondary characters the author would later generate for her series. There's even a touch of mystery. This is pleasant, nondemanding fare, but its audience will probably be limited to devoted Evanovich fans (not that there aren't plenty of those) interested in their favorite writer's evolution. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; 1st edition (September 16, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312983271
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312983277
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (217 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,251,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Lazy Day Gardener on September 3, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Janet Evanovich is very honest about this book: 'I wrote and published the original in 1989....Charlotte Hughes and I now have made it bigger and better.'
Charlotte Hughes may have made it bigger, but she did not make it better. Friends who have read the original smaller version liked it; no one I've talked to has liked this version.
The characters are typical Evanovich and delightful; the plot seems to be going along nicely, and then the padding begins. Plot is going in all directions and the charm of the Evanovich books is no where in sight.
I bought this book after reading the first four or so chapters; they were a delight. Then the book got boring; I started skipping paragraphs, then pages, then raced on to the improbable ending.
My advice: save your money for the new Plum. Don't go here.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 21, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book was worth the read. It was not Stephanie Plum, but if it were that would of added to her series. I don't understand all the bad ratings either. I thought it was a very cute story.
Not the adventure but I didn't find this story as predictable as the rest of the reviewers. I found the humor and character style like with the Plum series.
This was the first in the series and rewritten. I can only lay odds that the next one will be even that much better. This book was worth the read and I am sorry for all the bad reviews, I truly do not understand them.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Burgoine on September 22, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Full House," took me about three hours to read, cover to cover, and thankfully I was only in public for about forty minutes of that, on a bus. I laughed out loud at least once a chapter at Evanovich's typical slapstick style of storytelling - enough to earn strange looks from the other passengers on the bus.

This is no Stephanie Plum mystery - and I didn't go into it expecting one, which I think many others might have and would explain the overall low rating this book received. I enjoyed it as what it was: crazy fun romantic hijinks with impossibly neurotic characters aplenty. When you put in a blonde bombshell airhaid into the home of a strict but fair schoolteacher, add in a young genius who blows things up, a wrestler and his wrestling buddies, a polo-teaching rich man and his crazy ex-fiance, and, of course, an ineffective bug killer, you can't help but set the stage for typical Evanovich fallout. When the schoolteacher falls for the playboy, despite the airhead's attempts to set her up with "Big John" the anatomically exaggerated wrestler, things are sure to fire up as zany as ever.

My one real frustration with the book was how terribly it was edited. Nick, the love interest of our heroine, is referred to as Neil a few times (why would you have to change the name of the character when this book was re-written?), and there are a large enough number of other small mistakes that derailed my train of thought just often enough to make me drop this review from four stars to three.

This book was candy, not a three-course meal, and as a candy-book, it was wonderful. You read it quickly, enjoy it, and then move on to another book. Go in expecting a light and quick read, and you'll be happy.

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 6, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was one of the most awful books I've ever read, and I can't believe it came from the same author who brings us the Stephanie Plum series.
Even after finishing the book, I have absolutely no idea why a charming playboy millionaire fell in love with a divorced schoolteacher with two small children. One day Billie shows up to take polo lessons, then suddenly Nick's got his cousin moving in with her, he's in love with her, and they're talking marriage. There was no development of the relationship at all. And since the two characters hopped into bed together so early in the book, there was no buildup -- the rest of the book seemed like filler until the "big climax," which was about as predictable as I've ever come across, since it was obvious who the bad guy was the minute I first saw their name appear in the book.
The book was also poorly edited -- Nick was referred to as Neil during one paragraph, Billie's son Joel went for two or three pages being called Joey, and the lady who sold Billie her wedding dress was introduced as Emma, then became Ida in the next paragraph.
Romance is obviously not this writer's forte, nor is proofing and editing. She really should spend her time fine-tuning her Stephanie Plum series, which is starting to become repetitious and stagnant, rather than cashing in on her name putting out garbage like this to pad her bank account.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Richards HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 26, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book took a lot of patience to complete, and I still can't believe I read the whole thing.

Stuck in midstream without a paddle, it floats between romance, mystery, mayhem and madness. Evanovich's usually quirky characters fly off the believability radar like stealth bombers, unfortunately undetected by my bad book warning system.

What starts out as a rich man, divorced woman love story in a horsey setting, becomes a comedy circus of professional wrestlers, crazy people, insects and endless (and I mean ENDLESS) repetition.

Evanovich and Hughes seem to have forgotten the KISS principle for effective writing, and I would recommend you forget this one.

Amanda Richards, February 26, 2005

(KISS = Keep It Simple, Stupid)
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