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By Proxy (Heart of Montana) (Volume 1) Paperback – September 12, 2015
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I probably should have DNF'd this one from the first moment our heroine acted all judgey and rubbed me the wrong way. But there were parts of the romance I was enjoying, and I wanted to see if she would grow up a bit. Unfortunately, that just didn't happen. And then I thought about DNFing it at 60% when she was getting beyond judgey mcjudgerson and I still didn't...I definitely regret that.
So yeah. My main issue was with Jenny. And it was a huge issue. Sam kept talking about how kind she was, but she was only kind to *her* kind of people. I mean, the guy has one beer with lunch and she gives him a dirty look and then says "men will have their vices"?? It wasn't in a playful manner either. She was really put out and just put up with it barely. Sam was always feeling guilty for the life he led. It would be one thing if he just wasn't happy with that life anymore (which he wasn't), but she actually made him feel bad for his previous choices. For someone who is supposed to be so kind hearted and religious, that was awfully mean. Example #2 -- she was disgusted and heartbroken when she found out he lived with Pepper. He's a 29 year old man who was in a relationship!!! For realz??? And then there was how she treated Tess (who granted, was making moves on Sam while he was with her, but holy hateful). It just felt like everything about Sam and his lifestyle was wrong and evil and her only issues were supposedly her fear of leaving her family...because apparently no one else saw the other flaws in her character.
I just kept waiting for them both to grow up. I understand that they were going to fight and have differences, but the way they argued was so selfish and immature...I guess I just wasn't expecting that. Or at least it would have been nice to see some growth.
And it wasn't just Jenny that felt judgmental and holier than thou....the whole book had a judgmental feeling towards "big city life" and non-pure relationships. I don't mind if that's not who *you* are, but I enjoy all kinds of romance stories, and I don't appreciate being made to feel as though others are wrong.
My other main issue was the hugely drawn out ending. It felt very repetitive and contained a lot of rehashing of the previous story from both of their perspectives. It really wasn't necessary, and made the book feel ridiculously long and boring. Combine that with the judgemental feel of the book, and it just was a recipe for badness for me.
And there's my not so nice review. I hate reviewing books I don't enjoy....it makes me feel like a mean person, and I don't want to be a mean person. Obviously I am in the minority in this opinion, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt. But if you start feeling disgusted with Jenny like I was, then take my advice and DNF. It doesn't get better enough to make the little bits of fun and romance worth it. (At least in my opinion).
Jenny isn't happy with Sam when he shows up an hour late to the courthouse. The judge has left for the weekend. They have to reschedule for Monday. Jenny lets it be known how unhappy she is with the situation. Sam isn't thrilled to be stuck in Montana for the weekend either.
Sam follows Jenny to her small town in search for a hotel. Things begin to change when she spins out on the Highway. Jenny wants to show Sam she is sorry for her behavior. The romance begins with dinner and a walk under the stars.
Some say it only takes a moment to know. Some say it can take less than a week. Who knows what will happen in a small town where everyone knows Jenny. She has three older brothers. She is a school teacher. She has only been kissed a few times and nothing else. Does any of it matter? Sam leaves on Monday.
The romance has laughs, teasing, and so much more. By Proxy is a nice easy read that brought a smile on a bad day. The smiles just kept on coming.
The couple that stands in for them are realistic, charming, fully developed characters with quirks and lives that you know will make them fight the attraction they feel. There are subtly drawn undercurrents woven through the entire tale, but it's done with light hand that keeps the pace moving and doesn't bog you down in too much emotional hubris.
I really, really enjoyed the light hand and delight that the author writes with and look forward to many, many more of her novels!