First Impressions including Blithe Images: a two-in-one book
A year ago, I was gifted with a two-in-one very thick book titled First Impressions that included the novel Blithe Images authored by Nora Roberts. July 2010, I finally reached this book in my pile of "to read" novels. Yes, I have a very large pile of books in my "to read" pile; mostly because those close to me feel books are the best gift for me and want to share their reading material. I do not mind this at all being an avid reader and someone who loves reading books plus has a multi-genre preference. My entire life, I have loved books and read as many books as I could. My husband teases me about having a library inside my brain from all the reading I do. This was not my first Nora Roberts book, I knew Nora Roberts, a well known contemporary Romance genre author, wrote well written straight forward relatable plots in her novels that included "steamy and sultry" sections. Her books are definitely written for adults; "steamy" enough to be considered R rated. Why I was surprised when I read Blithe Images and found it deliciously "vanilla" and more PG-13.
The first book in this two for one novel, First Impressions was true to the standard Romance genre format, R rated love scenes, whirlwind romance, and so forth; typical material published by Silhouette Books. First Impressions was conventionally standard with a straight forward love story type of plot. I found it "too fast" when it came to the main characters' whirlwind relationship. They moved at the same velocity as an airplane breaking the sound barrier. Not really my kind of reading material when it comes to men and women lovey dovey relationships. For me, it is difficult to believe that people in twenty four hours can fall in love and not have it be simple infatuation when they bed each other within a week. I find this unrealistic for in my life experience, the truth equates to no woman being respected if she is easy and moves that fast with a potential long-term relationship kind of man. I prefer more realism in a novel. It's one thing to write fiction, another to make it unrealistic to the point the reader laughs and thinks, "Nope, not true." That is a definite killing blow to any plot.
The most outlandish part of First Impressions was the fact that the main character was a History teacher who was not prudish and completely acts unlike any History teacher I have ever met. Having a Substitute Teaching background, I know many different kinds of History teachers and none of them would have done what this character did. They are too ethical to even consider such a thing let alone doing it. I read the entire First Impressions section of this book hoping it would get better, but sadly it did not. Kept going further and further to the liberal left of relationships, but did surprise me when the main love interest actually decided to marry the floozy History teacher. Personally, I did not like this view of a teacher (retired or otherwise) for they have it rough enough in their occupation and this book seemed to make light of the importance of being one with ethics. Teachers are role models to the youth and should not be negatively portrayed in books or movies. This is a form of disparagement toward History teachers, a noble profession including those who decide being one is not for them. This is my reasoning behind not recommending First Impressions section of this two-in-one book and regard it a waste of the reader's precious time.
Blithe Images, however, was refreshingly utterly different and unique by today's marketable Romance genre standards. Yes, this is written in a regular Romance genre formulated love story, but it is deliciously sweet and does not have the "hop in the sack" scenes that most modern 21st century Romance genre books have (like First Impressions does). Instead, this more innocent novel was written in an elder Romance genre formula that has been enjoyed by readers since the early 1800's. There is nothing embarrassing within the pages of Blithe Images. It does not have the fast whirlwind feel to the budding romance described. Instead, this novel about a model who falls in love with a wealthy magazine owner, portrays two people from two different lifestyles. The model is actually more ethical and moral minded than one would expect a New York model to be. The wealthy magazine owner is the stereotypical New York playboy who finds himself uncharacteristically caring for someone. Blithe Images gives the reader a grand window view of the lives portrayed by the two main characters; explains in detail their occupations. This book caused this reader to feel like she had learned something about the states Kansas and New York; definitely a bonus from any novel. Blithe Images was more descriptive and enjoyable. It was similar to reading a fabulous captivating Jane Austen book set in a contemporary medium.
If you get a chance to read Blithe Images, please take the time. It is definitely worth it. Do not worry about your spouse or teenager looking over your shoulder. There are zero embarrassing sections (my opinion) in this book; another reason why I feel comfortable in recommending this well written piece by Nora Roberts.