Most helpful critical review
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Pre-Plum Romance Built on Female Hormones and Prat-Fall Humor
on May 12, 2009
If you have a choice between reading the romance, The Grand Finale, and re-reading a favorite Plum, go ahead and stick in your thumb and pull out the Plum. Then you'll have a grand finale to your evening, rather than the experience of reading a book about a grand finale . . . that isn't totally satisfying.
The opening of The Grand Finale is strong . . . but the book quickly runs downhill from there. Fans of Stephanie Plum will see parallels between that wonderful, goofy character and pizza-store owner and college student, Berry Knudsen. Fans of Grandma Mazur will enjoy the plot complications of having three somewhat similar characters in the story . . . but will be disappointed that they lack the total daffiness of Grandma Mazur's fixations. The familiar pratfalls are here, but they come a bit too fast and too frequently to be continually funny.
The book's story primarily depends on two plot devices: an attractive man, Jake Sawyer, who is ready to settle down with a woman he just met, and continuing failures to communicate between Berry and Jake. The former device works much better than the latter, which comes across as strained and more than a little unrealistic.
I thought that the book's value was mostly to be found in exploring the idea of trying to be kind to others, and how that affects how you organize your life. I also enjoyed comparing Berry and Stephanie to better understand the brilliance of Ms. Evanovich's writing about Stephanie Plum.