Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Not Single Enough by Grace Lennox

Publisher:                Bold Strokes Books

Giselle Trulove is having a rough life. Her girlfriend, who is also her boss, has dropped her to date a man in their office and when Giselle tells her, in colorful language, what she thinks of the situation, she loses her job. Her mother, who has acquired great wealth by marrying up several times, is more concerned with her new engagement to a Fabio look-alike than with Giselle's issues and thinks that the solution to all things is to just write a big check. The fact that Giselle never cashes the checks doesn't seem to register with her.

On the way home, Giselle finds a baby that has been discarded in a dumpster and thinks, temporarily, she has found a purpose to her life, until her best friend Sandy convinces her that she will go to prison for kidnapping. Sandy arranges for Giselle to turn the baby over to Dale Porter, a friend who is a homicide detective, and Giselle's life begins to turn around. The women are instantly in love, or lust, or there is some sort of attraction. Dale doesn't think she wants to be in a relationship, but she can't resist Giselle.

As Giselle and Dale begin to form a partnership, Giselle also embarks on a career as an artist and meets someone who could threaten their plans. Francesca is a wealthy closeted art patron who makes no attempt to hide the fact that she would like Giselle for herself. Should Dale fight for her or let her go to Francesca who can provide her with many more opportunities to develop her art?

Giselle starts out as an interesting character in a pathetic sort of way. She's funny as she tells about her breakup with her ex-lover and sympathetic as she deals with her deleterious mother and then tries to correct the downward spiral of her life when she finds the baby. The problem is that, once she meets Dale, she ceases to be attractive. She becomes a character who is plodding through the book with very little motivation except to find something that makes her significant. That can be a career in art or a partnership with Dale.

Dale is even more perplexing. She's adamant that she doesn't want a relationship with anyone, takes one look at Giselle and changes her plans entirely. It's never really clear what these two see in each other, except that the sex is plentiful and steamy. The relevance of the title to the book is a total mystery since both characters are single, but don't want to be apparently. No one in the book is trying to be single, so the title seems irrelevant.

Jennifer Fulton has established herself as a master craftsman in the romance genre and then in the mystery genre with her Rose Beecham books. The purpose of the Grace Lennox books isn't clear yet. They seem to be edgier and a little more trendy, but the characterizations aren't as well developed. Hopefully, this will work itself out as Fulton becomes more comfortable with this new persona. Not Single Enough isn't the same quality as her other books.

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