Some of you are probably thinking “Rose, woman, why are you only giving this three stars?” I did like it, but not as much as I hoped. Many measures were missing from this story to me and it just didn’t connect as well when considering it in the aftermath.
In truth, I probably would’ve loved this if were given the full novel treatment – given more of a chance of fleshing out and more on the side of the emotional intimacy to details pertinent within the story and the characters. I’ll admit I wanted to spend a little more time watching Brian and Carrie’s relationship grow – that part of the narrative had potential and strength from what I saw in this. Their chat sessions in the beginning of the novella were very sweet. I liked the idea of Carrie meeting him on Wednesdays to engage in “kissing” sessions, with no purported ties in their relationship at first. But as Carrie yearns for more, Brian’s reluctant to dive more into their relationship because of circumstances she has yet to uncover in his “story.”
One major issue I can name off the bat was on the awkwardness of the writing. I actually don’t mind the style, but this is one of those times where I felt instead of giving a more intimate view of the character (Carrie), it just put a distance between me and the unfolding characters and situations with some of the random turns – it didn’t mesh as even as I hoped. I normally like slice of life stories and getting into a character’s head, but Carrie’s account didn’t pull me completely in, even as I went the full length of the novella. I kept asking myself what the problem was and I figured it out only close to when the novella was winding down and coming to its respective conclusion.
Another issue: I felt shortchanged on the note of the emotional intimacy and vetting of the respective revelations surrounding Brian’s character (whom I liked). It was kind of dumped, to be honest. I think his sister deserved more time, respect, and attention than she received in this novella – it didn’t mesh right with me given the gravity of what happened with her and the role he took on – somehow I was expecting more development and felt cheated by that. There were some details in this that could’ve been skipped over in Carrie’s perspective, and substituted with development on Brian’s behalf and his respective life because his “side” of the story had more stakes to consider, and as readers, we don’t see the rounding of those weights to consider it with his respective narrative. Carrie’s companions were okay, but I still didn’t feel like I really connected with them.
I also didn’t expect Brian and Carrie’s relationship to get steamy so soon (not complaining on the steam factor, just the immediacy of it). I felt like it was one moment they were kissing and flirty and the next it was “almost anonymous phone sex” and then after some tough reveals – BOOM. Sexy times. It didn’t hit me with the full satisfaction or rounding out that I’ve read in other novellas or stories of its type for the relationship presented.
I’d read more from Mary Ann Rivers though, just to have an idea of where she could take her ideas and characters in a full narrative. This had some sweet moments, but not the kind of punch-gut resonance that I was hoping to have with it.
Overall score: 3/5
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Random House/Loveswept.