13 July 2015

Review: Picture Perfect Love by Melissa McClone

Good, but I'm not sold

Two years ago, Jenna Harrison’s fiancé dumped her the day before their wedding after accusing her of posting an embarrassing Photoshopped picture of him on Facebook, a photo which forced him to withdraw from an election campaign. Now he’s back, apologetic, and wants her to photograph his sister’s wedding—Amber, who has finally confessed to being responsible for posting the picture.

Jenna has changed since she was engaged to Ash. Their breakup brought her to rock-bottom financially and spiritually, but she joined a new church and is now a strong character, but not a perfect one and I liked that. Her struggle to forgive Ash felt real, especially when he had been too self-absorbed to see the financial and professional problems he’d caused her. She was a well-developed and likeable character.

Ash wasn’t so well developed. The breakup had benefited him financially, although he was never man enough to tell Jenna that (which annoyed me). He also didn’t seem to be her equal spiritually—I got the impression he went to church out of habit rather than actually having a personal faith. And I didn’t see any character change in him, either in the course of the novella, or between the Ash Jenna remembered from two years ago and the one in front of her today. Did he lack depth because this is a novella and there wasn’t the word count to develop him further? Possibly, but I’ve read plenty of novellas which managed to do a better job of developing both the hero and heroine.

As a romance novella, Picture Perfect Love is supposed to have a happy-ever-after ending (well, technically a romantically satisfying and optimistic ending). I’m not convinced. Jenna and Ash? Maybe. There was physical attraction in spades, so if that’s enough to maintain a relationship, they’ll be fine. But Amber and Toby? No. Amber is too immature and has difficulties with concepts like truth and repentance. I found her unlikeable, and couldn’t see why a sweetheart like Toby was interested in her, let alone marrying her.

Overall, Picture Perfect was well-written, but a good romance needs a lovable hero as well as a believable heroine and I’m not sold.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.