Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Return to Sender by Fern Michaels

Synopsis: At seventeen, Rosalind “Lin” Townsend finds herself pregnant and alone. Her father, deeply religious yet cruel, throws her out of the house. Nick Pemberton, her baby’s father and the man she naively hoped might marry her, rejects her. Yet even at the lowest point in her life, Lin vows to succeed on her own terms, and to give her son, Will, all the love and happiness she’s been denied.

Nineteen years later, Lin has made good on her promises. She’s the owner of a thriving diner in her Georgia hometown, and Will has grown into a fine, intelligent young man who’s about to start his freshman year and NYU. But when Lin visits New York with Will, she crosses paths with the one man she was sure she’d never see again -- Nick Pemberton, now a millionaire CEO, the man who sent back all her letters unopened, marked “Return to Sender.” Seeing him fills Lin with anger -- and she resolves to right the wrong he did to Will.

Helped by Jason, a hired detective, and her best friend, Sally, Lin sets out to disrupt Nick’s life and his finances, with spectacular results. But the truth is more complex and surprising than she imagined. And soon Lin must choose -- between the revenge she thought would free her, and the bright new future that’s about to be delivered to her door

My Thoughts: (and boy do I have some.) First of all this is not a romance as the romantic elements are not introduced into 2/3 of the way through book. Once introduced they are mild and secondary to the primary plot of a woman scorned who wants revenge on her son's dead beat dad. So I would classify this more as women's fiction. Second, we readers have to suspend our disbelief that *A)a girl who found herself pregnant at a young age would have no financial/food stamp/child support  assistance from anywhere...B)would have been allowed to go to school with urine soaked pants day after day without a teacher calling in Social Services...C)this woman managed to build a backwoods diner into a thriving business in a matter of a few years making her extremely wealthy...and D)She kept every single letter she sent to her baby's daddy (all returned unopened Return to Sender) without actually looking at the Return to Sender Stamp on the envelope for 19 years. 
*Keep in mind that this was in 1989....not 1949.

If you can believe all of this you might be able to enjoy this book. However, I couldn't. Lin is made out to be a strong selfless woman who pulled herself out of the hopeless situation she found herself in to be able to provide the kind of life her son deserved yet is completely consumed by the need for revenge upon learning that her baby's daddy donated millions to a charity. Knowing that he was able to drop so much money on strangers but never sent a dime for his son's care sent her on a mission to ruin that man's life. I for one can't empathize with such a woman. 

As I am character driven in the books I read my inability to connect with Lin (or even like her for that matter) and believe her storyline made this book a complete dud for me. If you factor in the sub par romance it makes it even worse.

Fern Michaels has written something like 100+ books and I'm sure she has some great ones and I can't fault her writing....much. The only downside of it was on a couple occasions she repeated entire pages (which was not a publishing oops by the way.) For example...Lin told a back story on what her father did to her. We readers got the whole story as she told her friend. Then she went and told someone else the same story. Instead of Michaels saying something to the effect of "and so she began her story for the second time" and leaving it at that she actually repeated word for word the entire thing. This happened twice and was completely unnecessary as readers, in general, are not stupid. 

Other than that her style is pleasing to read and I will definitely read more by her based on that fact alone. But as far as this book goes I really didn't like it at all.

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