Monday, November 26, 2012

My take on: When the Siren Calls

The cover of When the Siren Calls by Tom Barry sold me before I read the e-mail pitch. The cover is beautiful. The woman on the cover looks mysterious. She's floating in the water. She's barely above the surface of the water. She's about to drown. Is she drowning literally or figuratively? I wanted to know.

The story opens with Isobel trying to navigate the streets of Marrakech, Morrocco. Aggressive merchants in the marketplace are preventing her from leaving, until a dashing stranger saves the day. Jay whisks Isobel away and takes her back to her hotel. For a few moments, Isobel forgets her troubled marriage to Peter and gets lost in conversation with Jay. He's attentive, while Peter isn't. Isobel's attempt at a romantic vacation failed. Peter spent more time with his phone, or as Isobel puts it "his penis." He would rather cuddle up with his phone and check up on his business ventures than spend time with his wife. Isobel is a lonely person, and that little bit of time with Jay gave her a chance to see what is possible. Maybe she can get Peter to change. Will he want to change?

Jay seems like a lot of characters I've read. He is married with a girlfriend, Lucy, on the side. He jumps from business opportunity to business opportunity. If he loses an investor's money, it's no problem. He can just move onto the next investment. He has an air of arrogance. Nobody can bring him down. He seemed more like a scam artist than a business man. His latest investment is a timeshare property in Tuscany. It's failing, but that doesn't faze Jay. He will come out on top, while everyone else will lose their money. When Isobel tries yet again to revive her marriage, she and Peter head to Italy eventually making their way to Tuscany. Here is where the trouble ensues. Jay not only begins an affair with Isobel, he tries to get Peter to invest in the timeshare. What a stand up guy! He knows it's a bad investment, and is perfectly willing to use someone to save his own skin.

Overall, I didn't have a problem with the writing. But I didn't quite feel this was romance or erotic fiction. First, I have read several romance and erotica books. All of them have been written by women. I was a little apprehensive to read a romance book written by a man. I know that's sexist, but there has to be a reason so few men write romance books. Most of the romance and erotic books I've read are very overt with the sexual content. The sexual content in When the Siren Calls feels very muted. That's not a bad thing, it's just not what I'm used. This felt more like a chick-lit book. Why chick-lit? Isobel is like a lot of women out there. She is stuck in a bad marriage and is looking for a way out. Enter Jay. Is he the solution? Or will a relationship with him just lead to disaster? This wasn't quite my cup of tea, but it is worth checking out.

Rating: Give it a try

Note: I received an e-galley from the author's publicist (Fully Booked Public Relations) in exchange for an honest review.

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