Full House Mass Market Paperback – Sep 16 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Originally published in 1989 under the pen name Steffie Hall, Evanovich's comic romantic suspense novel Full House reappears here in what the author calls a "bigger and better" form. Wealthy newspaper owner and horseman Nick Kaharchek meets divorced mom Billie Pearce when she makes polo lessons at his stables part of her summer self-improvement program. Though she's hopeless at polo, Billie is so cute that Nick begins to invent excuses to spend time with her. First, he takes care of her when a horse steps on her foot; then, he arranges for his nutty cousin Deedee, a self-absorbed airhead, to board with Billie while her kids are away. As if that isn't enough, Billie must also contend with a bomb-setting teenager, professional wrestlers, an outbreak of spiders and threats from a mysterious intruder. Evanovich acknowledges in a note to readers that her plotting has gotten more intricate since this book was first written (she's right), but her attempt to rework a formulaic '80s love story for the new millennium doesn't come off. The outcome of the artificial romance between Nick and Billie is obvious from the start, as is the identity of the intruder. Instead, the book's focus is on the slapstick comedy provided by the cast of wacky, though mostly loveable, eccentrics. (Sept.) Forecast: Thanks to Evanovich's sterling reputation and substantial fan base, sales won't falter much, but this trussed-up tale may fall flat for both her mystery-loving fans and readers seeking a truly contemporary romance.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
What, readers may wonder, is the best-selling Evanovich doing publishing what looks to be a mass-market romance? As it turns out, this book isn't exactly an original publication. It appeared first, in 1989, under the pseudonym Steffie Hall, before Evanovich switched from romance to mystery and hit the publishing jackpot. Apparently, the author has received numerous queries from knowledgeable fans about the availability of her earlier, pre-Stephanie Plum novels. The publication of this "enlarged" edition of one of those early books is intended to respond to that demand. If nothing else, it will give fans a clear view of how far Evanovich has come in terms of style and characterization. Wealthy Nick Kaharchek isn't known for fraternizing with common folk, but when divorced mom Billie Pearce falls right into his arms, he has trouble letting go. Commonsensical Billie has always led a predictable life, juggling work and family, but her levelheadedness takes a vacation when Nick expresses an interest in her. There's none of the tension--romantic or otherwise--that drives Evanovich's crime novels, but hints of stubborn, self-reliant Stephanie Plum pop up now and again in Billie, and there are signs of the vivid secondary characters the author would later generate for her series. There's even a touch of mystery. This is pleasant, nondemanding fare, but its audience will probably be limited to devoted Evanovich fans (not that there aren't plenty of those) interested in their favorite writer's evolution. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
If this has been the first Evanovich book I ever read, I never would have picked up "One for the Money" and the others. The plot is not only predictable and unrealistic, it is flat out unbelievable and immature. It could have been written by a starry-eyed teenager, dreaming of her knight-prince to come in on his horse and sweep her off her feet away from all the problems of the world. Come on, this is the real world here.
The female lead, a divorced mother who conveniently has time to spare given that her children are away for the summer, falls into a rapid romance with a rich, good looking, seemingly perfect man (all the stuff we dream of, girls) who pursues her and asks her to marry him after only knowing her for a few days! The children, upon their return, welcome him with open arms, and all ends happily, despite minor tribulations from absurd characters, a seemingly early, albeit poor, attempt at the Plum style of colorful, goofy characters.
(While I know the Plum novels were not entirely realistic either, most of the plot lines were believable and the characters had some depth. None of that here.) Again, I did not expect this to be a Plum novel, and didn't want it to be, but I expected it to be well thought out and believable.
The bottom line: I abandoned this book on the lounge chair in Mexico, only half-read. Maybe someone else picked it up and enjoyed it, but in reality, I hope it was thrown out by the attendant.
The first half of the book was rather vanilla, but not intolerably so. There was little plot, the characters were uninteresting, and the viewpoint was a hodge-podge of omniscient and third person subjective which was so confusing at times, I had a hard time separating truth/fact from character opinion. For someone as well-published as Evanovich, this book was very poorly written. It reads like someone's first novel. When I learned it was one of her earlier works, I thought I could cut her some slack, but to find out this is a re-written version of it -- BLECH. She should have known enough about how to tell a story by now. This book should have been allowed to go quietly out of print.
I lost interest half-way through the book, and while I am struggling to force myself through it, I don't think I'm going to make it. The dialog is boring, the characters cardboardy, and the plot has simply died. There's nowhere for them to go. The conflict has just petered out, so it's more like looking in the window of an ordinary person, watching their ordinary daily lives. Yawn. Don't waste your money. Get a Stephanie Plum novel if you want a fun read.
As regrards plot it has the one size fits all plot derived from "Pride and Prejudice". Elizabeth Bennett is played by Billy Pearce, a divorced 38 year old mother of two. Darcy is played by Nicholas Kaharchek,a millionaire newspaper owner and polo horse trainer There are some misunderstandings between them but then in the end you'll never guess what happens.
Are there any traces of the brilliance of the One, Two, Three ...Nine series? Occasionally - there's a good scene of buying a wedding dress with a salesperson whose previous job was IRS auditor. The writing is full of cliches. On one page we have"expert hands" "Thoughts into a tailspin""utterly confused""fresh-scrubbed look""simple nature""put on airs" and a man wonders "What was the power she had over him that made him desire her." I've read that romance writers deliberately stick to stereotyped plots and use cliches so maybe it's not all JE's fault. A lot of people like romances and many art forms use conventional formulas. (And Pride and Prejudice is a great novel.}
It's interesting from the point of view of Evanovichian scholarship and I'd love to know what the input of Charlotte Hughes was and to lay my hands on an unaltered early work.
Most recent customer reviews
FULL HOUSE does not deserve the time it takes to read it. It's not worth the money and I feel annoyed that I even paid for it. Read morePublished on Jan. 23 2004 by Judith Miller
I am still amazed I finished this book - just a sickness I guess - I never allow myself to NOT finish a book. Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2004
This book would have been pretty ok if an unnecessary and ridiculous action sequence wouldn't have been forced in at the end. Read morePublished on Dec 1 2003 by djbrkns
If you're expecting something along the lines of the Stephanie Plum mysteries, this book is not for you. Full House must be viewed on its own. Read morePublished on Nov. 1 2003 by Wendy O.
I read a couple of Stephanie Plum novels. Unlike many of the reviews, I actually find this new series quite good. Read morePublished on Oct. 7 2003 by T. W. M. Philip
Seems like an odd pairing, but Evanovich and Hughes make it work. And if you think the idea of Nick and Billie is odd, wait until you meet the secondary cast. Read morePublished on Oct. 3 2003 by Holly F
'Full House' is a sweet romance. I think that you will enjoy this book if you like light-hearted romantic stories. Read morePublished on Sept. 25 2003 by PadreRat