Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Long-Awaited "Deeper" Review!

Though it may be late in coming, the promised review is here! For those of you who haven't been along for the ride, I called out Megan Hart's novel Deeper when I was guest blogging on The Walmart Novels for excessive use of double entendre in the title/description. So she called me out on not reading before I judged, offered to send me a copy to review-- and the rest is history.

So here it is. Read and enjoy, and pick up a copy of Deeper if you're interested (which you should be).

Megan Hart’s luscious romance novel Deeper has everything you want in a good bodice ripper—a torrid love story, risqué scenes and plenty of euphemisms for human sex organs. Oh yeah, and a dead guy.

I’ll give you the quick rundown. Bess met Nick 20 summers ago while staying at her family’s beach house in Seaside Town, USA. Bess is the All-American good girl who doesn’t drink, swear, skip work or cheat on her future-lawyer, football-captain-boyfriend back home. Nick is the bad boy that never settles down with one girl. When football-playing future-lawyer proves his true colors are red, white and jerk, Bess decides to ditch her good girl image and cheats on him with Nick. What begins as a volatile and exciting affair of “just sex”—they don’t even kiss for most of the book, lest some emotion get involved—quickly turns into true love (sigh). You see where this is going, don't you? One day that Nick goes for a swim and never comes back. Bess is heartbroken... and I’ll let you pick up the book to figure out the rest.

Ok, so this is a pretty classic girl meets boy storyline. But classic works. And the little detail that sets this apart is that when Bess comes back to the beach house during her divorce from this ex-football-player-turned-lawyer (surprise!), Nick also comes back—from the dead.

The plot is something new to me personally, as I’ve never quite read a romance novel about the undead, but follows the theme of “sex and the supernatural” that’s been ragingly popular lately (ahem, Twilight anyone?). Mercifully, there are no sparkly vampires or brood-y teenage werewolves here. Deeper is much more concerned with steamy sex scenes than it is with any of that BS. And let’s not kid ourselves; that’s why we pick up a romance novel in the first place.

The sex is, by the way, everything that romance novel sex should be: the right amount of heat and intensity, with just enough detail to make you blush, but not enough to make you cringe, puke or lose all feeling in your nether regions. And Hart nails the ever-tricky art of finding new and exciting ways to describe dirty acts, which, though they’re frequent (hey, these people have been apart for 20 years, okay? They have a lot of lost time to make up for), do manage to keep their panache, even into the second half of the book. And that’s important, because that’s where many romance novels start to trip over their own flowery language and exhaustive use of certain over-sexualized descriptions. Contrary to popular belief, there are only so many things that can “heave”, “pulse”, “throb” or “quiver” before they fail to impress you any longer.

The only thing that bothers me personally is that we never get to find out exactly what force is behind Nick’s mysterious emergence from the sea. There are hints of involvement with the dark arts when Bess goes into the apothecary in town, and a few references to ghosts—but no follow up to let us know what the final answer is. And compared to the hot and heavy scenes, the rest of the plot falls a just a teeny bit flat. It’s missing a little oomph, and a little detail. Still, the unanswered questions don't ruin the overall experience. This is an engaging story, with endearing characters and, thanks to the supernatural elements, a plot that pulls the reader in. I would certainly read it again.

Overall, I give Deeper a solid B+. An entertaining read, with a good plot and exceptional sex scenes. If the rest of the book received the lavish attention, development, detail and imagery that the sex did, it would be a bestseller. But even with its pitfalls and the occasional plothole, it’s definitely a good beach read, and anyone who loves romance novels should check it out immediately.

Special thanks to Megan Hart for giving me the opportunity to read and review. Hope it was worth the wait!