Steam: Steam Level 4
This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogues in this book are of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is completely coincidental.
Addie Alger is living out her personal Cinderella melodrama of sorts. Our divorced heroine is trying to turn the family-run inn, the Grail, into something resembling its former glory, but it is not easy since only Addie’s mother and Addie’s sister Mel seemed to have a sensible head and both women had passed away for some time when this story begins. The fact that the inn is located in an “impossibly dry land near the Mexican border” doesn’t make things any easier for poor Addie. Addie used to be a fast and wild person partying away until her ex-husband’s debts forced her to grow up. Her father is always coming up with crazy inventions that won’t work while her brother-in-law Manu is still mourning for Mel even four years later.
Finally, she comes up with an idea that ends up working very well. Starting a website called Your Alibi, she offers clients the most convenient service. If these clients want to say that they are lodging at the Grail on some innocent business trip instead of, oh, going away to somewhere else with someone other than the person they are currently in a relationship with for an illicit rendezvous, she’ll back up their stories in exchange for a fee. It is working well… until journalist Sean Duncan shows up to check up on whether his wife of fifteen years was staying at the Grail like she claimed to be.
Sean is a nice hero – he doesn’t have any dramatic issues; he comes off like an ordinary guy. Addie on the other hand is a refreshing change from the usual heroines out there because she likes sex. Her favorite junk food is Ding-dongs, which says everything. No, she’s not some exaggerated female version of the male rake having a harem of toy boys all over the place. Instead, Ms. Dean portrays Addie as someone who enjoys having sex and isn’t afraid to have sex with the right guy. She has no issues with socializing with the opposite sex despite her failed marriage. I like this. Sean’s the same too: he is smart enough to know that any problems in his marriage do not necessarily translate to some All Women Are Whores thing. I also like how Ms. Dean gives Sean’s wife some depths and allows her to leave the story with her dignity intact. There are no evil cartoon whores here, in fact, there is a most reasonable explanation as to why a woman would want to leave an apparent perfect guy like Sean.
Things only become interesting again when Sean’s wife shows up, and then things peter out again for a few more chapters until the two characters kiss and bring the story to a happy ending. The story ends up being much longer than it should be, with many moments in the second half that don’t add much to the overall story. I also wish the author has developed some intriguing aspects of the story that she only skimmed the surface of, such as the circumstances leading up to Mel’s death. And while I like the main characters, I must confess that by the end of Your Alibi I still don’t feel as if I know them. They are nice people, but with Addie especially, I feel as if I only get small fragmented pieces of their past from the author instead of the whole picture.
Have you read this book or another by this author? Tell us about it in the comments!