I just finished Lisa Ricard Claro's Love Built to Last. To say that I avoid romance novels like the plague is not too much of an exaggeration... and with good reason.
Romance plots are predictable. There's an overabundance of fluff and froth. Too much tingling and shivering and blood rushing to man-bits and woman-bits. (I know, I know. That's not the right lingo. So sue Sioux.) And there are lots of other types of books I'd rather read--memoir... historical fiction... chick lit... books about polka music--just about anything other than romance novels.
However, good writing is good writing. It transcends the genre. And Love Built to Last is well-crafted and has a plot that kept me turning the pages. So begrudgingly, I admit it: I read a romance novel and I liked it (to really butcher and paraphrase the old Katie Perry song).
There's a rescued dog. That earns a gazillion points in my book. There's a few twists and turns. There's some unique plot components (the stuff that goes on with the desk is waaaay clever). I planned on finishing it up last night but ran out of time. However, I made sure I did this afternoon. (I could have either written a crappy draft for the WWWP's to critique, or I could have finished Love Built to Last. I made the right choice, believe me.)
I loved that Lisa made us wait until the very end before we found out where the title came from. I loved that there were times when Lisa teased us. There were times when the characters found out something (Jack's "message," for example), but she made us wait.
There's even tears. Two pages made my eyes well up.
Damn you, Lisa Ricard Claro... You made me read a romance novel, you made me enjoy it, and you made me cry.