My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Initial reactions: Sorry to say I didn’t like this story much at all. I thought I would, but the story did not flow as well as some of Hart’s other works, and I was hard pressed to care about very many, if any of the characters. Plus, some of the revelations really came out of thin air, and there were no resolutions to some of the character relationships, which left me disappointed.
Having to write a review for Megan Hart’s “Switch” stings quite a bit, because this was a book that seems to have an interesting premise, and started off rather well in terms of the narrative flow. Then somewhere along the way, it became rough and really dropped the ball as far as having a staggering progression was concerned. It’s one of those reads where I think it had a lot of interesting ideas and narrative threads, but the cohesion of those threads did not tie together well, nor did they really come to any satisfying conclusive notes. I felt I had more questions than answers once I finished the work, though I had an idea that the ending would be the way it was.
I’ll start off with the positive because this story actually hooked me in the beginning with a rather interesting quirk of the heroine’s. Paige is a woman who loves collecting stationery. This has a bit of a personal tie for me because (and I know people are going to rail on me a bit for this, but I’m a writer and I have no regrets) I collect different pens and journals to write in. I started oollecting different kinds of stationery (mostly of the Lisa Frank kind) when I was just 11 years old and as I grew older, I started collecting journals for their covers and using them to record my dreams, write my story ideas, or just talk about my life in some modes. I still continue that habit to this day. So to see a heroine gush over stationery and writing was an interesting and refreshing quirk for me personally, because I don’t come across a lot of people who are into that. I didn’t think it was too much (if anything I didn’t think Hart really carried that along through the narrative in an even spectrum – it’s mentioned quite a bit at the beginning of the story, but wasn’t revisited that much in the narrative) in terms of getting to know what the character liked.
Tangent aside, Paige comes across a series of notes in her mailbox that aren’t addressed for her, she realizes, but they are rather eyebrow raising instructions from an anonymous writer, erotic in scope. The notes begin as a series of confidence boosters and random instructions for the day, then turning into much more specific and explicit details. Paige gets a thrill from the notes and actually works herself into a position where she’s following them, even if she doesn’t know who the mysterious letter writer is. Along the way, she’s dealing with her work as a secretary, taking care of her half-brother and dealing with family issues, fending off her ex-husband’s advances and having to revisit details of her past she would rather not remember, and meeting a mysterious man she keeps running into (Eric) and being charmed by in the process.
There were times when I found myself following Paige’s perspective well enough, but suffice to say – I never felt connected to her fully. I liked the tone of her voice, but suffice to say I thought the presentation of this respective story was all over the place. It was difficult to follow, though I wanted to understand more about Paige and the men in her life as well as her family. I got that she was helpful to her boss and he had a lot of flaws for a man of his consideration. I got that Eric was a charming mysterious stranger, and that Paige’s ex-husband Austin is a man who loves her and keeps trying to win her affections again, but she keeps turning him down. But I never felt like I really *knew* these characters, not the way I have in Hart’s other works. The connection to them was threadbare at most, and left me wanting more. Not to mention when Paige is blindsided by a family crisis towards the end of the novel – I felt it comes out of nowhere without any lead-in, and that’s further confounded by the fact that it’s not followed up with any kind of resolution of events (what happens to Paige’s mother, and is Paige able to take care of her young half-brother?)
As far as the sensual scenes are concerned, I think this novel says a lot to the measure of body confidence, self-satisfaction and the measure of sex and power, but the sensuality doesn’t really pop off the page like Hart’s other works. I think this is further complicated by the lack of character chemistry/direction, and while the writing might be erotic, it doesn’t come across as erotic because the reader-character connection isn’t firmly established here. I was disappointed by this and I wouldn’t say that this is a novel that reflects the best of what Hart’s writing brings across. It doesn’t reflect the level of depth that I found in works like “Dirty”, “The Space Between Us”, “Deeper”, “Tempted” and even “Stranger” (the latter of which I had some qualms with, but still liked well enough.)
I’d recommend passing this one, though there were moments where I could see the strength of her storytelling. It just wasn’t fully realized or developed to its fullest potential.