Monday, January 16, 2012
Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold series of romance novels became a total guilty pleasure for me last fall. I picked the second on in the series (Almost Perfect ) up first, based on the review of another blogger and whipped right through it in one day, during the busiest time of the year, when I should have been doing other things (see, not guilty because it's a romance, guilty because I should have been doing other things!) I immediately fell for the town and the people. I felt like Mallery might be similar to Nora Roberts for me- strong relationships between the people, not just the main couple, strong family and friend bonds, and a solid sense of setting. I enjoyed the first three in the series quite a bit, reading them all in a similar all-at-once fashion.
Then the fifth one came (Only Yours ) and I was unimpressed. I felt like maybe Mallery was just phoning it in on this one, or maybe my love affair with them was over. Despite this I forged on to the last one (Only His ) and while it was better, it still wasn't as strong as the first three had been. I ultimately read book four last (via Kindle for iPhone, also from the library) and was least impressed with it. There was just too much stuff going on to make it feel like a successful romance, but too much romance to take it out of that category. I suspect that if I had read them in order, instead of in the order that the library supplied them to me, that I may have bailed at book four. I almost wish I'd just read the first three and stopped there, as they were by far the strongest of the bunch. I have one other quibble, if you're curious, that I'll discuss at the end of the post, as it is a spoiler for the series.
The series has an entire website devoted to it, as if it were a real town, complete with photos.
You can find Susan Mallery on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. The books have a solidness to them that a lot of romance novels don't and I"ll be picking up more of her work, in hopes that I find another family that draws me in like those first three did.
If you're interested in reading them, the proper order of the Fool's Gold series is as follows:
(*Does the title of these three remind anyone else of the Elizabeth Lowell series with the same names from the 90s? I loved those books. Please don't tell me if they are actually full of old school romance themes that would make them distasteful today.)
My other quibble- Without going back to check, the heroine in at least 4 of the novels ends up pregnant by the end of the book. If it had happened once or twice in the series I would not have noticed or cared. But this was just too much.