Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Imperfect Pairings by Jackie Townsend Review:

Goodreads Book Blurb:
Can love cross borders? Not just countries, but borders of the mind and soul?

In "Imperfect Pairings" a woman’s love for an Italian leaves her confronting this question. He’s Jack in America, but he’s Giovanni in Italy; understanding him means understanding his culture, his language. It means losing the foundations of her identity to become entangled in the deep-rooted vines of his family’s troubled past when she’d vowed to remain disentangled. Her career and autonomy had always come first, and she fell in love thinking she could control it, not give in to it. Is she losing herself? Or is she finally giving in to the woman she’d been all along.
This is an adult love story, one that will leave you thinking long afterwards about the oceans that separate us from the ones we love.

Genre - Romance

Imperfect Pairings is a Romance written by Jackie Townsend. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review by Ripetta Press through NetGalley.

2 Little Imperfect Stars!
Held My Interest But Definitely Not As Expected!

The Review:
I went into Imperfect Pairings thinking this was a romance. It’s listed as a romance and the blurb leads you to believe you have two opposing forces, coming together to survive their trials in hope of finding their happily ever after. But instead you have two despondent people of different cultures and values coming together in a contractual agreement that leads to an uncertain future.

The Rundown…
Jack/Giovanni is sent to the states to attend MIT and work in corporate America to lean about modern advances in the hopes to carry that knowledge to his Italian home and run his family’s wine vineyard. Jamie is a consultant who is contracted to help the company Jack works for. In a back story, we learn they met at an office party but of course had spotted each other well before being finally introduced. They secretly carried on an affair before Jamie moved on to another company. But somewhere in the middle of their secret affair, they both started to fall for each other, only they don’t admit it or even really acknowledge it.

Jack/Giovanni’s green card status becomes an issue so Jamie suggests a marriage of convenience. While she’s married to Giovanni, she’s introduced to his family, his legacy and his secrets. Through trials of morals, money and heritage, they come together in an attempt to save the family business.

My Thoughts…
This is not a love story or even a romance really. It’s a story of two individuals pragmatically merging their lives. I was dissatisfied with this paring. Their relationship is strained and awkward with rare moments of polite sweetness. There seems to be no passion, only a subtle hint of feelings bordering on love. They don’t speak kindly to one another, they don’t engage in romantic adventures. It’s all work and business. Their relationship isn’t a true partnership but a title based on convenience and need. Their conversations are stilted and short, almost placating as Jack/Giovanni impatiently explains his culture to Jamie. She never really confesses her deep feelings for him and he seems content with that. Perhaps they are the perfect couple after all, both satisfied with their aloof arrangement.

The ending does get a bit better when they start to show a small amount of feeling towards one another but by then, I didn’t care if they were happy or not.

The Writing…
The writing was choppy, jumping from one scene to the next with few descriptions or segue’s. In one sentence they can be in one place and then before the sentence ends, they are suddenly across the ocean. It was very confusing at times. But I did enjoy the introduction to the Italian phrases and culture in this book. Being a wine drinker, I also enjoyed the variants in wine and knowledge exhibited by the author.

I also have to comment on the ending…
The ending left a lot of openings. I thought this was a standalone book, and it could be if you liked to be left guessing. But for standalones, I like all things tied in a neat little bow and this book left a lot of questions unanswered.

On The Upside…
I do have to comment admirably on the sub characters. I may not have been impressed with Jamie and Jack/Giovanni’s dull and lifeless characters but I have to lay praised to the rest of the colorful cast of Italians who stole the show. Between their love of all things food and wine and heritage, they were a lively bunch that certainly entertained.

The Wrap Up:
The story was interesting enough that I kept turning the pages, wanting to know how it all ended. I had invested enough time in it that I wanted to know how Jamie and Giovanni’s relationship and the future of the wine vineyard turned out. I wish the book had been set in a different genre. I went in expecting a romance and that’s not what I got, so I was disappointed. Sadly, I think had I known it was more of a drama, then I would have enjoyed it more because I wouldn’t have been waiting for the romance.


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