Review: Tempt Me If You Can by Janet Chapman
Ben Sinclair receives an anonymous note telling him he has a son living in rural Maine that he never knew existed. After confirming the boy is really his, Ben hotfoots it out to Maine--incognito--while he figures out what to do. Neither Emma or Michael are fooled by Ben's slightly older appearance or different name. But there's an initial period where they pretend to be fooled which adds a little confusion and tension.
One thing Janet Chapman does is write unique, quirky characters. It's usually the women in the novels (heroines and secondary characters) that are quirky set up against the somber, business types. And I'm okay with that. I was a little surprised by Michael, the teenager in the story. I've met some eerily adult teenagers, and Mikey fits that profile. Wise beyond his years, or as we say in our family, an old soul.
Ben seemed a bit too overbearing for me to like. And I found it odd that Emma was contrarily described as independent and almost middle aged, when she was only about 30. 30 isn't that old in the contemporary romance genre. And some of her reactions seemed a bit naive considering how worldly she would have to be to successfully run her own outdoor sports business.
I really appreciated the knowledge of the Maine wilderness that Chapman displays here. It's obvious that she knows and loves the people and countryside of Maine. And I found her balanced approach to the logging dilemma quite interesting. I live in logging country (although not in Maine) and it was refreshing to read about a community where that way of life is not demonized by the politically correct police.
I also found the romance a little lackluster. It's kind of taken for granted. There's very little falling in love (or rediscovering love) here. It's sweet, but I think it would have benefited from a little more exploration. The suspense, though, is top notch and extremely compelling. It's also scattered throughout the novel, which helps move the plot along nicely.
Overall, this is light, standard contemporary romance fare.