Thursday, November 12, 2009

Natural Born Charmer - Susan Elizabeth Phillips

When millionaire Dean Robillard meets Blue Bailey, she couldn't be more down on her luck; her ex has stolen all her money and she's got no place to go. A football hero, Dean is taking a holiday while recovering from a career-threatening injury. He'd planned a solo road trip to get his head together. The last thing he needs is a damsel in distress tagging along for the ride. However, despite Dean's misgivings the two find themselves thrown together and soon Blue has moved into his home and is merrily turning his world upside down. Their attraction is mutual but can their relationship really survive when the only other thing they have in common is their distrust of love?

I must admit that I am one of those people who think SEP can't write a bad book. I liked some better than others but especially in the Chicago Stars series I find them all very good. Natural Born Charmer ends up being a bit different from the previous books because while the hero is a CS player he is not playing due to an injury and there's minor talk about the game. It's also different because Dean's parents are very much a part of the story and his relationship with them is almost as important as his relationship with Blue, the girl he finds walking along the road dressed as a beaver and ends up taking with him.

When I closed the book I was unsure what I was thinking about it. It has some very humorous moments but the general tone of the book is more somber than some of her others, or maybe I felt that way because themes like child abandonment, second chances and forgiveness touch me on a deeper level.

The book is basically Dean's journey of forgiveness towards his parents, a world famous rock star who was absent through his childhood and a former groupie who spent more time chasing her next high than taking care of her son. And his journey of self discovery, spending time with Blue and finding out he doesn't want it to end.

Dean and Blue's relationship is fun, there a lot of witty, actually more like razor sharp, dialogue happening between them as they are essentially two very different people who see the world in different colours although both have an experience of absent parents while growing up. I also liked Riley and Mrs. Garrison as secondary characters, they provided some funny and emotional moments. But in the end I felt that Blue was a bit overlooked as a main character, she deserved better than what he gave most of the time and especially better than the treatment he gave her when his friends visited. I would have preferred to see them together working on those issues instead of apart and a humbler attitude from Dean.

In the end I did like it as a whole but Dean is definitely not one of my favourite SEP heroes.

Grade: 4/5


  1. I felt the same way the first time I read this, but after rereading, I enjoyed it quite a bit more.

    Still, it isn't a favorite.

    (I'm finally trying to catch up on all the blogs I've been neglecting, btw. I've missed you!)

  2. Hey Holly, I must try rereading it in a couple of months and see how I feel.

    Glad to have you back Holly, I missed you too and was really happy to read your last post on your blog. **hugs**

  3. Ana, don't bother with her latest one. Please, I beg of you. Argh! I miss her older books...

  4. I've never read anything by Phillips, and I don't think from the blurb that this would have been one I would have picked up, but your review makes it sound like I should give her a try! Thanks for the rec!

  5. Ana, I find that re-reading helps with many of her books.

    Also, I didn't think her most recent release was awful. It wasn't as great as some of her earlier novels, but it wasn't terrible.

  6. Cam, I think you should start with the first one on the series - It to Be You or two of my favourites - Nobody's Baby But Mine and This Heart of Mine. They are better than this one imho.

    I was curious about it because SEP can make the more improbable blurb work but the movie stars characters left me a bit in doubt. Is it the beginning of a new series you think?

  7. No, I don't believe it will kick off a new series. It read like a standalone, so I don't think she'll be going back to it.

    Her next book is going to be Ted Beaudine's (you should remember him from Lady Be Good and Fancy Pants if you read either of those).

  8. I read those! And wait, haven't I read somewhere that there were two possible heroines for him?

  9. Yep, there are two possiblilities: Meg Koranda(sp) who was introduced in Glitter Baby and made an appearance in What I Did For Love


    Lucy Jorik, from First Lady.

    My money is on Lucy. I didn't care for Meg.

  10. I haven't read those two... maybe I should then, I want to know that Ted is going to a good heroine. ;-)


I love to chat about books and stuff and I would love to hear from like minded readers. Please do leave me a comment :-)


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