Nothing Unpredictable in ‘Not Quite Mine’
Published: Monday, September 16, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 16, 2013 12:09
Being able to predict the flow of a story is usually not a plus in adult literature. Readers enjoy surprises, readers enjoy spontaneity. Catherine Bybee’s claptrap of a romance novel “Not Quite Mine,” number two in her Not Quite series, is as predictable as it is pretentious. Romance overrides what should be the main focus of the story, tearing attention away from a much more interesting plotline.
Katie Morrison, the subject of the storyline, is a 20-something hotel heiress and ex-reality show star. She befriends fellow bridesmaid Monica after their siblings Jack and Jessie are married at one of the family’s hotels in Texas. While chatting away with Monica, a baby girl is dumped on her suite’s doormat with a note explaining everything.
Katie snatches up the chance to be a single mother as her inhospitable uterus has made her infertile. She also wants to prove herself a better a mother than her own, who abandoned her family years before. With baby and best friend in tow, she cruises off to California to work interior design on her brother’s new hotel project.
As luck would have it, Katie’s ex-boyfriend and lifelong crush Dean Prescott is overseeing the hotel construction and dogs her every step. A year earlier, the two broke up following a miscarriage, leading Dean into the arms of a woman who abandoned him before their wedding.
Dean clearly wants Katie back and through subtle signals, dropped hints and the occasional intimate encounter, the two eventually end up in the sack. Two descriptive sex scenes highlight the lovers’ rekindle, and though Bybee means well in bringing together two people cast adrift, the utter importance of the new baby that Katie has “adopted” is essentially left out.
Dean and Katie’s love story takes apparent precedence over the mystery of the dumped infant. Bybee paints Katie as this overworked, exasperated new mother who is always running out of time. Instead, she comes across as confused and slightly selfish. How easy it would be to simply remove herself from the situation with her ex-lover to properly raise her new daughter.
Predictably, Dean and Katie end up together. That much is evident from reading “Not Quite Mine’s” back cover. Who left the infant with Katie is never that much of a mystery either. Bybee could have added some depth to that little mystery, but no, it is all too far predictable and the reader’s only satisfaction is knowing they were right the whole time.
However, this book is classified as a romance novel, not a mystery, so the fact that Dean and Katie’s love story is dominant does make sense. It is just disappointing that the infant’s storyline is not more important.
On the plus side, it is entertaining to read the interactions between Dean and Katie, even though the reader has seen it all before. Bybee etches indelible visions of their sexual encounters, which gets graphic at times without becoming silver-tongued smut.
“Not Quite Mine” is a wonderful read for anyone taking a long plane ride or looking for a simple, no-surprises love story. It is nothing to get excited over (or make a movie about), and its predictability makes it lighter than the page count suggests.