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Book Review: ‘Roomies’ by Christina Lauren

Christina Lauren’s latest romance Roomies contains storybook characters with fairly uncomplicated lives, or at least easily resolved conflicts. No impasse is too difficult for the hero and heroine to surmount. Any tension between the two is easily vanquished. The novel takes readers out of reality and into a world where no condition exists that would stop romance from prevailing. Lauren spins a yarn that appeals to the romantic soul even if it has no chance of ever happening in real life.

The story and characters share traits with Disney’s version of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. The narration feeds the imagination without infusing the harshness of reality into the picture. Written in first person from the point of view of the heroine, Holland Lina Bakker, readers view the series of events from her perception.

Her voice is in the reader’s mind, which has the effect of making the reader choose between quarreling or agreeing with her decisions, opinions, and actions. Holland Bakker has a spirit that is optimistic, resilient, and uncontrollably impulsive. All the traits that readers of romances would like to see in themselves. The author reinforces the notion that taking the leap, choosing the risk into the unknown pays off with positive consequences.

The hero in the tale, Calvin Aedan McLoughlin, is a street performer in a subway station who moonlights as a guitarist for cover bands. The author weaves a fantasy between Holland and Calvin that aims to hook audiences who are hungry for romantic tales. Calvin has as much depth as Prince Phillip in Sleeping Beauty. The most important factor about Calvin is he is Holland’s love interest.

The author spins a minor complication in the story to bring the couple together. Calvin is an Irish immigrant who isn’t naturalized. Although, the illegal immigrant theme is relevant in present day society, the way it is presented in the story makes the reader think back of the early 20th century, when immigrants came to Ellis Island, moving to America to escape the hardships of famish-ridden, war-torn Europe.

References to the Vampire Diaries program and the posh section of Park Slope, Brooklyn bring the story into the 21st century. The author never specifies what makes Calvin come to America or why he stays in the US when Ireland isn’t ravished by hard times currently. This complication comes off as contrived, serving only to bring the couple together in what reads like a fantasy, a dream that a romantic school girl spins and imagines how it would unfold if it was to really happened.

The conversational tone of the story keeps the tale moving, flowing at a comfortable pace. There is a simplicity in the string of events that brings Holland and Calvin together, which appeals to readers who gravitate to fantasies, enchanted by the ease of finding a compatible mate. Roomies is all storybook fiction from start to finish, making for a cozy love story.

About susanfrancesny

Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in eastern Long Island, I always enjoyed writing and made several contributions to my high school literary magazine, The Lion's Pen. Influenced by writers of epic novels including Colleen McCullough and James Clavell, I gravitated to creative writing. After graduating from New York University with a BA in Liberal Arts, I tried my hand at conventional jobs but always returned to creative writing. Since 1998, I have been a freelance writer and have over three thousands of articles to various e-zines including: Yahoo Voices, Goodreads.com, Authors and Books (books.wiseto.com), TheReadingRoom.com, Amazon.com, Epinions.com, Fictiondb.com, LibraryThing.com, BTS emag, BarnesandNoble.com, RomanticHistoricalReviews.com, AReCafe.com, Hybrid Magazine, and BookDepository.com. In 2013 and 2014, I was a judge in the Orange Rose Writing Competition sponsored by the Orange County chapter of the Romance Writers of America located in Brea, California.

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