Single Mother, Billie Pearce, is looking for a little excitement in her life, like Polo, but Nicholas Kaharchek the Polo instructor instead brings chaos.
Genre: Romance, Mystery, Humor
Series? Yes; Full (can read as a standalone)
Publisher: St Martins
First Publication Date: 1989 (334 pages)
Available Formats on Amazon:
- e-book $8.99
- Paperback $1.27+
- Audio CD/Cassette $5+
- audiobook available through audible
Why I chose this book:
I was looking for a single narrator audiobook which I felt would be simple enough to listen to while cleaning. I have enjoyed other books by Janet Evanovich, so I thought I’d give this one a try.
Janet Evanovich is a big name in the industry, popular among women looking for books which will make them laugh. This book is one of the first that she wrote.
Billie Pearce is a single mother to two children and is somewhat recently divorced. This summer her children are off to Disneyland with their father leaving her alone and since she did not sign up to teach during the summer she is left with nothing to do. Wanting to fill the time and do something exciting, Billie signs up for Polo lessons. Not knowing how to actually ride a horse, will not deter her. She is determined to become exciting so her children will think she is cool.
Nick Kaharcheck is a decently rich man who teaches lessons regarding horses, including Polo. Billie Pearce is trouble on a horse, but instead of being annoyed, he is intrigued and amused. She represents everything he doesn’t want or need in his bachelor-loving life, but he can’t help but feel attraction for Billie.
A series of events has Billie putting Nick’s cousin Deedee up in her house to stay until Deedee’s wedding day. Nick ends up visiting often as he helps Billie deal with his cousin and her eccentricities.
What neither of them realize is that this arrangement is not to the liking to a known killer who is hiding in their midst.
The story itself is quite simple. This book is more romance and less mystery with the main characters not actually needing or trying to solve a mystery until the last bit of the book, but the mystery elements still surround the characters affecting their actions. Therefore this is a book more for a romance reader and not a serious mystery reader. There are silly moments which the reader will either laugh or roll their eyes at. I feel like the romance was not built at a good pace and almost seemed awkward.
The characters stayed pretty stagnant with only enough change to get them together, but even that seemed iffy to me, since I do not believe everything was addressed. The children did not act their age, either seeming too old or way young. Also, the stereotypes were quite horrible. Given that this was written in the 80s I am a bit forgiving about this.
Those who listen to Janet Evanovich will be familiar with the narrator, Lorelei King, who narrates most of Evanovich’s work. All her books sound the same to me at the point with the main characters in every book having the same voice. So, if someone has never listened to Lorelei King, this may not bother them and the different voices may be entertaining to them. I thought some characters (within this novel) sounded very similar which could get weird, mainly Billie’s tween daughter and Deedee. That huge age difference does not come across in the voices. Other than that, I think Lorelei King speaks clearly and at a good speed.
One point I very much disliked about the audiobook was that music was put into it. Occasionally towards the end of a chapter leading into the beginning of the next chapter there would be music — supposedly to help the ambiance, for example there is eerie, mysterious music at a moment when an intruder or the mystery aspect is brought up, again at the end of the chapter. This does not happen at every chapter transition either. The music was loud and, I felt, obtrusive, pulling me out of the story.
fast-paced, witty banter, single mother with children, quirky, funny, upbeat
This is a book for someone looking for something light, non-serious that may make them chuckle
“Clues for the Future”
Billie Pearce, Nick Kaharcheck, Deedee (Nick’s Cousin), Max Holt (Nick’s Cousin, Deedee’s Brother), Polo – the one on horses, pest control man, rapid wedding
- Quality: 2★
There may be more that can be done to improve the writing, story, and the characters. No diversity.
- Popularity: 4★
Popular with romance fans and Janet Evanovich fans and the humor may work with a vast reading population.
- Bet Your Bottom Dollar by Karin Gillespie
Both books feature a hard-working woman who falls for a rich bachelor, inspiring many laughs with their banter
- Truth or Beard by Penny Reid
This is for the readers who enjoyed the comedy and romance of the novel and even the teacher aspect.
- An Affair to Dismember by Elise Sax
This is a romantic mystery full of humor and crazy characters
- Hard Day’s Knight by Katie Macalister
Both books feature unique characters, humor, and a charming romance
I would like to highlight the humor with a quote allowing people to figure out if the humor is to their liking or not. Or I may just read the first chapter abridged since it describes everything one needs to know.
The romance is more important than the mystery so I would talk more about who the characters are.
Another idea would be to talk from Billie’s POV about how with just this one Polo lesson her life has become complicated and too crazy for her to handle.
- What did you think about the mystery and the villain? The villain is the only person of color in this book and he has mental issues, do you think this is a problem or does the age of the book make this acceptable?
- What did you think about the romance and the wedding?
- Towards the middle of the book Billie starts ti say how she dislikes change. Do you believe her? Do you think the author added it on for conflict?
- Do you think Billie will move into Nick’s home?
- What did you think about Billie’s children? How about Max? Were they written well? Were they important to the story?