Thursday, 5 December 2013

Christmas Novella: Miracle at the Museum of Broken Hearts by Talli Roland

Publication date: 22 December 2011
Published by:  Nottinghill Press
Genre: Contemporary Fiction for Women/Romance & Humour
Length: 65 pages

My Synopsis

Rose Delaney is a hopeless romantic who isn't exactly living the dream.  Her man has gone off to live his dream in Vietnam, leaving her alone with his cat and all the bills to pay, and she has a boring job dealing with old relics in the basement of the British Museum.  So, when she sees the opportunity to work as the assistant curator at the soon to be opened Museum of Broken Hearts, she jumps at the chance.  Rose considers herself perfect for the job, what with her PhD in sociology and her experience coordinating and organising display materials.  She completes her CV and sends off her application.  

Soon after, she receives a phone call and, in her words, The voice was deep and smooth - and undeniably sexy.  The call was from Heath Rowan, the curator, offering her an interview the same afternoon.  She accepts.  She arrives at the Museum, knocks on the door, it opens and, in her words, There, right in front of me, was a man straight from a nineteenth-century black and white film, all broad shoulders, dark wavy hair and perfect features. Naturally, Rose gets offered the job but, Heath explains, the Museum opens in a matter of weeks so she would have to be willing to work night and day to get everything ready.  Rose jumps at the chance.

Rose learns that Heath isn't really a curator (that's why he's hired her).  He is actually a corporate lawyer who, until recently, worked in the City.  It turns out his Grandma earned the reputation of being someone who liked to collect stuff that people would send her - relics of broken relationships. It was her dream to open a Museum and display all the stuff.  So when she died and left everything to Heath, it was up to him to make her dream a reality.  His long-term plan is to hand over the role to a curator and go back to practicing law in the City asap.  Rose sees this as a career opportunity for herself.  She is determined to impress Heath so he will hand the responsibility over to her.

On her first day, she catches Heath holding a locket with a pained look on his face.  He is unaware that she is standing there watching him.  She wonders what the story is.  Could he have a broken heart that needs fixing?  Rose thinks maybe she is the one to find out and help fix it....

My Review

As my synopsis suggests, this is unashamed 'Chick Lit', so perhaps it would be naive, if not foolish, not to expect a girl-meets-boy, girl and boy get close, girl falls out with boy, girl makes up with boy and they live happily ever after type of scenario.   But hey, it's Christmas and a lighthearted read can be just the thing to curl up on the sofa with.  Done well it can be great escapism.

The problem occurs when it is done badly.  And this book is one of those.  The main problem being Rose who is not exactly flying the flag for 'the sisterhood'.  On getting dressed up for Heath's benefit she tells us Heath's eyes flashed with what looked like appreciation, and I smiled to myself.  Ha! I knew men were interested in more than 'skills'.  That was the reason I tried to look nice around Gareth.  Then she explains how she let herself go after he left for Vietnam!  Why bother to look nice if there is no man to look nice for???

There is something I don't get.  Rose is supposed to be highly educated - so how come she is vacuous? Her job as assistant curator is to remove all of the items for display from the boxes (and there are a lot of boxes), catalogue them and then display them for the museum.  She comes up with this ingenious plan: I'd managed to map out everything in my head.  I was going to lay out each room as if someone still lived there; with the salt shaker [one of the items for display] on the kitchen table...

Her PhD thesis was supposedly about relationships, and so she is supposed to be an expert in this area, yet she displays such ignorance and stupidity in that regard it is beyond belief.  The plan she hatches to help Heath resolve his professional and personal problems - and that she could not recognise the need to differentiate between the two - demonstrates this.  Her behaviour was tactless, intrusive and a complete invasion of his privacy.  But Heath recovers pretty quickly, forgives her and then confesses he has a thing for her!

The conflict (Heath's inability to connect with his mother) has a chance to develop but the resolution is very abrupt and completely unconvincing. 

The book was free on Amazon but I would not recommend it. 

(Yes... I know... I am deviating from my policy rules again, *sighs*.  But you get why, right?)

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