MILD SPOILERS 😉
Lightning That Lingers by Sharon and Tom Curtis (aka Laura London) has received acclaim from many readers. By no means was this a terrible piece of fiction, but I found it didn’t mesh with my personal tastes. This book laid the schmaltz on thicker than, well, schmaltz.
There must be something the matter with me. The Curtises are beloved in the romance genre. The consensus seems to be that they are one of the greatest things in romance since Jane Austen. As far as their composition skills go, they’re very sensitive and attentive to detail. The Curtises certainly don’t lack talent.
There was just something too treacly about this one for me. I coined the term “cutsie-woostsie sugar” shock after reading Lightning that Lingers. I’m a bitter GenXer, so perhaps my sarcastic takes have made me too apathetic to enjoy a cavity-inducing love story like this.
The hero, Philip, is from a once proud and wealthy family. Now he’s all alone and broke. He lives in his massive, run-down mansion he wants to renovate. Since he’s the most handsome man in the world, he turns to stripping to rake in the big singles dollar bills.
Before you think he’s just doing it for the money, let me tell you, why yes, he is doing it just for the money.
Philip’s not materialistic, as his true love is biology and animals. He’s hoping to go into that field to help conserve nature. First, he has to make his home a showpiece again. Then he’ll use the money from the manor to save wildlife.
His house, by the way, is full of critters, including an owl. I thought that was odd. Dude, if you’re trying to renovate your old mansion into something nicer, maybe you should not have animals in there crapping all over the place.
This is my hang-up, I know, I couldn’t take Philip seriously. If he had been an outright gigolo, dating women for cash, I would have found that a more interesting tale. The conflict of a nice guy doing “bad things” for a good reason would make for a complex plot.
I’m just not into the Chippendale vibe. I never went gaga for the Magic Mike movies. This is just my bias, but I’m not into a hero who waxes his butt, puts on a g-string, and grinds his pelvis for cash in front of a group of screaming, feral females. Not that I need an “alpha male” in my love stories, but whatever Philip was, I wasn’t into it.
I kept thinking about that old Saturday Night skit with the late Patrick Swayze and the late Chris Farley, imaging Philip like this:
Anyway, about this silly story, Lightning That Lingers. The heroine, Jennifer, is a very young children’s librarian who is incredibly shy.
As a gag, her friends take her to a totally nude (!) strip club, appropriately named The Cougar Club. As she watches the stage, her eyes meet with Philip’s, and practically faints away with the vapors.
Philip sees this and whisks her off to his magical home with said resident owl and bird crap splattered all over the place. Jennifer is awed in wonder at his beautiful face and his–er–beautiful home.
Philip and Jennifer embark on a romance that is supposed to be very moving. However, it was just rainbow and unicorn farts for me. He adores Jennifer’s naivete and innocence, and Jennifer likes…Philip’s everything.
Final Analysis of Lightning That Lingers
Can Philip give up stripping, perhaps develop some valuable skillset (like washing poop-stained walls), and find a nine-to-five job? Can he give up on his dream job of becoming the new Noah (you, know, from the Bible)? Will he give up the glamour of stripping in front of horny women who stuff bills down his crotch to settle down with his lovely librarian? Will Jennifer open her mind to new sensual experiences? Will I ever read a Tom and Sharon Curtis book that doesn’t turn me into a snarky b-word?
Tom and Sharon Curtis can wield a way with words, so Lightning That Lingers is not a 1-star read by any means. However, the plot and the characters were gag-inducing. I do enjoy a sappy love story now and then; this was not one of them.
Perhaps if you’re a less jaded reader than I, you’ll find this Bantam Lovewept romance a bit more to your liking.
But for me, I’d prefer to eat a couple of bags of Tropical-flavored Skittles if I have a hankering for something this sweet.
Philip Brooks is a man with a passion for biology, wildlife, and restoring his old family home—all of which add up to a pile of bills that require attention. Moonlighting as the Cougar Club’s hottest dancer is a job, nothing more, nothing less—until lovely Jennifer Hamilton nearly faints during one of his shows. Her sweet innocence tugs at his heart and makes him painfully aware of his longing for the kind of love a woman as perfect and real as Jennifer can offer.
Watching her most secret fantasy come to life on the dance floor is almost more than Jennifer can bear. Now, the sexiest man she’s ever met is near enough to hold. For a shy, bookish lady with little experience in the romance department, life feels as if it’s spinning out of control—and not in the direction, or with the kind of man, she ever imagined. Can she believe in the passion Philip ignites and take a chance on a dance that could last a lifetime?Lightning That Lingers by Sharon and Tom Curtis