Historical Romance Review: When Lightning Strikes by Kristin Hannah

MILD SPOILERS 😉

1 Star

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

Kristin Hannah is a successful author of women’s fiction. It’s fortunate she found success in that genre because her romances I’ve encountered are–sad to say–lacking in excitement. When Lightning Strikes is a time travel romance that starts promisingly but takes a boring turn into snoozeville with its drawn-out plot. This should have been a category-length romance of 190 pages, not 400 pages long!

The Plot

The setup of When Lightning Strikes is rather intriguing. Alaina Costanza is a single mother and a romance writer living in the present day. Or whenever Geraldo Rivera had a daytime talk show, so maybe “modern era’ would be more appropriate. Our main character is a writer who has no life but her daughter. Now that her daughter is away at a summer camp, she’s got nothing to do but pop pills and drink herself silly.

Rather a dark setup, but appropriate for this emotionally overwrought book.

One night while typing at her computer, lightning strikes and ZAP! Alaina wakes up in totally new surroundings. She’s traveled back in time, not to the real Old West, but inside her own romance novel!

So if she’s in her created world, where is the hero? It turns out he’s an utter douchebag. In actuality, it’s the villain of Alaina’s book who’s the hero of this one.

The entirety of When Lightning Strikes is Alaina getting kidnapped by the bad guy known only as Killian. They spend their time trying to outrun the “hero” who’s out to kill him. Alaina simply wants to get back home to her daughter. Still, she has a connection to Killian and finds herself fighting her feelings for him.

Fate has thrown them together for a reason. This would be fine if the book didn’t go on forever and ever blathering about what soul mates here were. There’s even a cliched magic woman of color who somehow has mystical insights into the heroine’s destiny and her relationship with Killian.

The narrative dies down in favor of navel-gazing and droning on about how Killian and Alaina are meant to be for chapters on end.

Will Killian meet his end at the hands of the hero? Will Alaina stay in the past with Killian or finally go home to be with her daughter? I didn’t care. But it all ends as happily as one can imagine.

Final Analysis of When Lightning Strikes

This could have been a decent book. Rather than being action-based and romance-based, it was bogged down by internal angst. Chapters went by where literally nothing happened.

It was a chore to finish. I’m sure Hannah has created better books than this. But–sorry to say–I never want to experience another romance as mind-numbing as When Lightning Strikes again.

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