Friday, April 15, 2011

Confessions of the Cleaning Lady by Miriam Newman

I want to start this post by saying I really enjoyed this book. I won a copy of this e-book off of Miriam Newman's blog. The premise was so delightful that I couldn't resist. It was the first book to go on my Nook so I didn't realize that it would get some weird formating issues (something to note when putting pdf files on the Nook). I don't know why but those weird formats were not on the original document so it was something weird with the translation to Nookish.
Anyway, aside from the weird formatting which only popped up now and again, I noticed that this book had some serious editing issues which concerns me for future DCL Publications purchases. There was mispelled words which can't be a fault of the Nook and occassional missing punctuation which may have been the Nook. The language of the book is not as strong as I would have liked. It wasn't the most well written book I have read but it wasn't the worst. (I have been doing a fair amount of critiquing and editing for friends which may have led to my need to edit this book).
Aside from all that, the story is entertaining. Being in the romance genre, it's a fluffy book and you know it's all going to work out in the end.
Shawna marries young due to a teen pregnancy. She loses the baby and eventually her husband. Alone, she works as a cleaning lady to make ends meet. She cuts down a tree in her yard, only to find that it housed fairies who were quite angry at her destroying their home. She helps them find a new home and they bless her with love. Shawna meets her new neighbor Mal, who hires her to clean his house. They fall in love. There's some drama with Shawna's family - her "father" is really her step-father and doesn't like her. Her real father left her mother while she was pregnant due to the Vietnam war and Shawna has never known him. There's meeting of families and some more drama as Mal is hurt in a horse riding accident. The fairies come and go (they sleep through the winters) and add little to the story.
I liked the romance and some of the "drama" was really interesting.
There were things that didn't work for me but I didn't let them ruin the story. The first is - Shawna and her husband get their marriage annulled. I don't remember when she got pregnant but she's 28 when the story starts (and strangly stays 28 through the whole story even though it covers at least 1 year). I can't imagine that someone can get their marriage annulled after 10 years or even up to that number.
I found the fairies were not used like they should have been. For leading the story with the fairies, they could be totally cut out and nothing would change except for the very ending but it wouldn't actually change the ending. I liked the fairies but it would have been nice if they had been an active part of the story.
Timelines bothered me in this story. I mentioned the annullment part but the other timeline that really bothered me (to the point I had to talk this over with my dad to get a real grasp on it) was Shawna's real father's situation. Remember Shawna is 28 and I had to check the publication date which was 2008. The story with Shawna's father was he was a Navy man who met her mother while on leave before shipping out to Vietnam for the war. (Hmm - I was born about 6 months prior to the end of the war and in 2008 I turned 34). I knew this little bit because my dad married my mom after he returned from Vietnam (or there about - don't worry about the details). Because that was personal to me, that timeline really bothered me. The other part of her dad's timeline that bothered me was that he died during this book from a lung disease (smoking related). When she can to see him, he was so old. I was a little shocked because everyone should be fairly young in this story. Her dad may be about 50 which shouldn't make him that old and the disease he was dying from is one that my grandmother and aunt live/d with. My grandmother had it for a really long time before dying in her 90's. My aunt is in her 60's and may not live as long as my grandmother did due to her smoking but I just can't see it killing her young father. It was just weird for me but that's me.
I did feel a little like the author was trying to make as much drama as she could. There were so many things coming at the characters that it felt a little like a greek tragedy. Again, I did like the story and I found myself wanted to see what happens next and I am thinking about when I can get my hands on the sequel.

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