Whenever I’m reading a book I like to give the author a creative pass. Whether the book is a contemporary single title by one of today’s leading ladies of fiction, or I’m passing the time with a series romance from one of my favorite Harlequin lines, I give the same courtesy to all writers. I’m always willing to overlook the occasional “That would never happen!” in the name of a good book.
Which brings me to the story of Lexie Thatcher and Rafe Ellersley in Joan Kilby’s “Two Against the Odds.” Rafe is a 26 year-old investigator with the Australian Tax Office. He’s not your typical numbers cruncher. Very early on we learn that Rafe’s job is simply a means to get where he wants to be: owner of a fishing charter boat.
Lexie is 38 years-old; a carefree, spirited artist who can only be defined (and is in the book) as scatterbrained. She seems much younger than her age, and that immaturity distracted me throughout the book. The fact that she couldn’t be bothered to file a tax return for 4 years I could've dismissed. To ignore those pesky tax agents for 7 months is extreme. Who has the guts to not return letters or phone calls from those guys? Not me! They’re scary. But we’re talking about Lexie here, and not me. She obviously thought nothing would come of it which is how she winds up with a visit from Rafe, his dog Murphy, and a threat to involve Federal police if she doesn’t comply with the audit.
I really wanted to like these two characters, and at times I did. Despite Lexie’s many eccentrics she has this take-life-as-it-comes outlook that I envy. I thought “Two Against the Odds” would be a light read without the emotional war zone of the books I’ve recently been reading! Let me tell you that wasn’t the case. It turned out to be emotional in a way that I didn’t expect as Lexie and Rafe are thrown a curveball that will accentuate the differences mostly there due to the gap between their ages. If you’ve read enough Harlequin romances you’ll probably guess what it is. I was supremely disappointed in Rafe’s actions during the last half of the book even if I understood a few of them. He comes through in the end, but by that time I couldn’t bring myself to love him as Lexie did.
I appreciate what the author was trying to accomplish in this book. “Two Against the Odds” did pull at my heartstrings and bring tears to my eyes. The lack of connection with the characters is what kept me from fully embracing their story.
*Reviewed for UNDER COVERS*