Complaining that a romance novel is cliché is like whining because the beach is sandy. But a good romance story either gives old clichés a new twist or relays the story so well that a reader will forget them.
That is not so for Deirdre Martin’s latest contemporary novel, “Straight Up.”
The second book (third story) of Martin’s series about the O’Brian family of the Wild Harts pub is about Liam who is hiding from the New York City Irish mob in Ballycraig, Ireland. While tending bar he meets a feisty sheep farmer named Aislinn McCafferty. What promises to be a story about two people finding a meaningful relationship is instead a poorly paced story where the main couple’s romance feels shallow.
The first instance of poor writing is displayed when Liam and the readers get a huge info dump about Aislinn’s past on page six. From there on the book seems predictable, boring and contrived. Honestly, the story reads as such:
Aislinn: I push all my pain down and never let anyone near.
Liam: I like you.
Aislinn: *cries* OMG, I feel better now!
Liam: Great, want to have sex now?
Aislinn: Not ready yet. (Twenty pages later) Ready now!
(commence sex scene)
Liam: So, I did something stupid…don’t hate me.
Aislinn: I hate you!
(insert ridiculous deus ex machina scene)
Aislinn: We’re getting married! Yay!
If you are looking for a contemporary novel, I would avoid “Straight Up” by Deirdre Martin. It is not on the same level as the previous book in the series (“With a Twist”) nor is it interesting enough to be memorable.