And not one of my own. As per my birthday resolution to read more novels, I got SALEM FALLS by Jodi Picoult from the library. I had three weeks, which I thought was plenty of time. And then...well, in the time-honored tradition of Messing With Margaret's Plans, stuff happened. So I'm just over half way through and it's due Wednesday. Unfortunately, I can't renew it (somebody else has it on hold). So I'll be reading for awhile tonight.
A couple of thoughts about the story in general: I'm rather taken aback by how much it seems like a Harlequin category romance. The general story line would certainly not be out of place in a Superromance. So far, it appears that the character who would be the hero was wrongly convicted. After getting out of jail, he arrives in a small town, gets a job from the owner of a diner, and they develop a relationship. Then he's accused of committing a second crime.
On the other hand, there are plenty of differences -- in the number of point of view characters, as well as certain other aspects of the plot, and I suspect things are about to take a sharp shift out of romance territory. But so far, I'm still thinking the general gist is very much like a contemporary romance.
One thing I can't do in a historical is have one character describe another by comparing him to a famous actor, and frankly, I'm glad. The main guy in SALEM FALLS is described as looking like Brad Pitt. Now, this works in terms of this story by showing how women, and particularly adolescent girls, might get a crush on him. But I am not a Brad Pitt fan, so I'm finding this really distracting. It pulls me right out of the story.
Comparisons to Brad Pitt notwithstanding, I'm off to read and find out if this story is going to take a major detour from Romance Road.