I needed something light to read one evening and I remembered I had Sweet Caroline on my Kindle.
I’ve read several other Rachel Hauck books and enjoyed them, although I didn’t love them. I’ve reviewed at least one here before. It just about kills me that I don’t love them. I should. They have everything I love in other books.
- A spunky heroine.
- Wit and humor.
- Good stories.
- Unique settings.
Caroline has been the unofficial life preserver for friends and family ever since she was a child. Her most recent rescue is a local diner where she’s been waiting tables to help out the owner.
The owner dies and leaves the whole place to Caroline, just when she’s finally about to fly the coop. She’s accepted a job in Spain and can’t wait to finally start living her own life.
But if she leaves, the diner will be closed and people she cares about will lose their jobs.
Caroline postpones Spain and throws herself into making over the diner. She finds a buyer who promises to keep the employees and not to change a thing. Of course, we know that isn’t going to happen. But for some reason Caroline believes the promises.
Her first and only real love comes back to town. But Caroline insists they can be friends now, that she’s over him. Of course, we know that isn’t going to happen.
I liked the premise and I liked that even though I could see the ending coming, I enjoyed the ride Hauck took me on to get there.
I can’t put a finger on why, maybe 10% of the book, for me, is just okay.
I take that back. I do know what it is. And it’s strangely revealing about my own writing voice.
The heroine is too spunky. More of a “wise guy” trying to be funny, than truly using humor to make the best of a bad situation.
It’s a criticism I’ve heard myself. More than once. My local writing teacher/mentor is continually telling me, “Sometimes more is just more. With the smart alecky tone, less is definitely more.”
It’s a lesson I’ve worked hard to learn. I still have a ways to go, but at least I can recognize and diagnose it in others.
Now to turn the pointing finger back to myself.
What about you? Anything that turns an otherwise great book to just okay for you?