15 Feb Slow Start Till it Got Sexy
Maybe I have a short attention span. Maybe I was a little disappointed that after the book’s intriguing, crime-committing first chapter, the pace shifts like the dust-driven climate of Paradise Flats to be heavily coated in back story in chapter two…and three…and….there’s a whole lot of back story in this book but I’ll tell you what really got me turning the pages.
Sex. Yup. The old attention-getting stand-by.
As we’ve established, our protagonist, young Jack McGreary, is a super smart guy. A speed reader who likes to kill time at the local library, Jack is well read but not at all versed in the art of romance, so when he develops a fancy for the librarian’s daughter, Rebecca, he turns to the shelves for guidance. Ferguson employs his brilliant wit with some very funny passages as Jack looks for lessons in Ovid’s The Art of Love.
Early in Chapter Twelve, Jack reads Ovid’s take on how different women require different approaches….”Just as older prey can spot a snare farther off and must be approached from behind, so too, those more experienced in love require a different take than do virgin maids.” This is followed by Jack’s analysis of what’s he’s read:
I was assuming Rebeca was a virgin maid, her being from a church-going family, so I skipped the passages on seducing other men’s wives. The key to conquering virgins, it would seem, was persistence…
The book is positively loaded with this smart humor, particularly when Jack employs Ovid’s tips to situations he finds himself in, but what startled me…and got me turning those pages…was a very surprisingly sexy little section in which Ferguson goes into some steamy detail of a physical encounter between Jack and Rebecca.
Jack is walking Rebecca home from the cinema and “things got worse by the heartbeat” as Jack fumbles to do and say the right things to get Rebecca to loosen up. When she coyly calls him on his not-so-subtle move to flick some imagined dust from her blouse, the librarian’s daughter wastes no time undoing the buttons of that blouse–under the pretense, of course, that Jack has “five minutes” and must “stay over the brassiere.” Well…you can imagine how long those rules lasted. Let’s just say, Jack’s hands made their way to more than the underside of Rebecca’s bra, and that Ferguson’s descriptions are wonderfully visual and steamy but completely in keeping with the tone of the novel, true to the era. The clothing that needs to be dealt with, the place–beneath the steeple, basked in the glow of the streetlamp–the hot night. I particularly loved the way Ferguson describes the heat that lingers in Jack’s palm, long after his hands have left Becky’s body.
You could turn straight to Chapter Sixteen if you need a pick-me-up, or you could patiently make your way through a lot of lovely, detailed writing that sometimes had me rushing pages to get to the good stuff…but I’m sticking with this book. I have a feeling Ferguson is just getting warmed up.