Review: The Real Thing

THE REAL THING - Brenda Jackson
Harlequin Desire
March 2014

Jennifer Brathwaite |  RATING: B+ 
SYNOPSIS: No red-blooded man turns down the chance to escort gorgeous Trinity Matthews-and Adrian Westmoreland is definitely red-blooded. For her, he'll pretend to be her man. But keeping his hands to himself? That is impossible. A Westmoreland always keeps his word, but how long before Adrian turns this fake affair into something real?

REVIEW: Out of something bad, can come something magnificent.

THE REAL THING is the story of Trinity Matthews, a medical student trying to get through her residency at a Denver hospital with her sanity and emotions intact to eventually go back to her home in Florida, to practice.  Unfortunately she has a problem and it comes in the person of a lecherous and entitled, yet powerful and respected senior surgeon who has his sights set on her.  Her solution comes in the form of Adrian Westmoreland, one of her brother-in-law’s handsome cousins.  Her sister, Tara Westmoreland, devises a plan: get the doctor to back off by pretending to be in a relationship with someone else; specifically Adrian.  The plan is immediately put in motion.  Adrian and Trinity go out on dates and simulate all of the aspects of having a passionate and caring relationship.  Very quickly however, instead of art imitating life, life starts to imitate art due to their intense, mutual attraction.  The pair decide to give into their feelings hoping to kill two birds with one stone.  They will enjoy each other and their desire while the opportunity presents itself and get Trinity’s lecher, i.e. Dr. Casey Belvedere to go away.  As it happens, the stone misses both birds and neither plan works out as expected.

Each location in the book succeeds in helping to frame the emotional tides of the story.  The hospital becomes synonymous with stress and tension; Trinity always on edge waiting for the appearance of Casey Belvedere.  The locations of their dates become seductions, where the lines between the real and the pretend become blurred and certain wants are indulged but still serve a purpose.  Adrian and Trinity’s homes symbolize an escape from reality and give permission for them to indulge in feelings and thoughts they aren’t willing to verbalize or accept out in the ‘real world’.

Naturally all of the Mrs. Jackson’s characters are well written and have the dialogue to assist the reader in drawing a clear image of that person in their mind; perhaps at times Dr. Caldwell’s conversations might be a little exaggerated but it is forgivable.  From five pages in the reader is given the foundation of both Adrian’s - bold, blunt and charismatic - and Trinity’s - gracious, level-headed and determined - personalities, and they bloom as the book progresses.  Aside from the leads all of the characters serve their purpose well, helping the overall flow and feel of the text.

For me, the only prickle of annoyance lay in Adrian’s attitude with regard to the progression of the relationship between himself and Trinity.  It is possible to be confident and assertive without being arrogant and condescending and at times Adrian teeters over the edge.

Nevertheless, the love-story between the characters is still wonderful.  THE REAL THING is a very good novel and I would say a definite buy.  It is a familiar story but has its own interesting twist and is bolstered by Brenda Jackson’s great writing.

9th June 2014 |