Synopsis (Courtesy of Amazon): “Lucy Valentine is as smart as can be, as single as you can get, and so not qualified to run a matchmaking service. But when her parents temporarily step down from the family business, Valentine, Inc., it’s Lucy’s turn to step up and help out—in the name of love.
Plus, her rent is due.
Here’s the problem: Lucy doesn’t have the knack for matchmaking. According to family legend, every Valentine has been blessed by Cupid with the ability to read “auras” and pair up perfect couples. But not Lucy. Her skills were zapped away years ago in an electrical surge, and now all she can do is find lost objects. What good is that in the matchmaking world? You’d be surprised. In a city like Boston, everyone’s looking for something. So when Lucy locates a missing wedding ring—on a dead body—she asks the sexy private eye who lives upstairs to help her solve the perfect crime. And who knows? Maybe she’ll find the perfect love while she’s at it…”
Comments and Critique: Lucy Valentine is a charming, delightful heroine in this quirky romantic thriller. She shows surprising resilience and strength of character in both her mature outlook on life and her attempt to make a name for herself outside of the family business. How many others would turn down their trust fund in the name of independence?
In addition, the book also shows surprising depth that requires one to not consider it solely “chick lit”. Ms. Webber deals very respectfully with a topic that many would consider frivolous or silly, psychic ability. In fact, she shows the serious side of paranormal abilities, how others will attempt to take advantage of them, will doubt their existence, and how they can be considered a curse rather than a gift. In addition, her handling of the issue of missing loved ones is both respectful and noteworthy as it lends credence to Lucy’s conflict.
Throughout Lucy’s comedic adventures, Ms. Webber also throws in a few great messages for the reader to remember well after finishing the last page. Specifically, through Lucy’s exploits, the reader uncovers great advice on love, on friendship, on using talents to their fullest, and on the fact that the easy way may not be the best way. I personally enjoy a story that requires me to reflect on life and provides me with food for thought many days after I finished reading it; Truly, Madly definitely lives up to this challenge, which was a pleasant surprise for one who was expecting a traditional romantic thriller. Another quite pleasant surprise is the mystery itself. There are enough unexpected twists and turns that will hold the reader’s attention and keep them guessing the answer until the very end.
Ms. Webber’s writing style is fairly simplistic and includes more dialogue than description. As such, her focus is on people and appearances rather than on places and their descriptions. This does not mean her descriptions are inadequate. Rather, at times it was difficult to picture the backdrop because the action revolves around the people rather than the surroundings. However, this did not detract from the overall story.
Truly, Madly is a refreshing addition to the romantic thriller genre. While I was expecting more fluffy, albeit enjoyable, chick lit, what I found was so much more than that. Mystery, murder, danger, heartbreak, loss, and sacrifice all cross Lucy’s path, forcing her to take a stand for every value she holds dear. Lucy will charm her way into many a reader’s heart and gain many a fan with her unconventional outlook on life, her ability to find trouble, and her absolute faith in helping others.
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for this ARC to review!
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