Review: Letters to Kelly
By Suzanne Brockmann. Grade: A
Since this is one of her early books, it has a different style than her norm. To begin with, this is not a SEAL book. Plus you have the whole “romance writer talking to his character” aspect, along with running a story over an (abbreviated) eleven year period. Rest assured, it is worth every penny.
Kelly O’Brien is stunned when T. Jackson Winchester the Second suddenly reappears in her life. They first met because Jax became her older brother’s college roommate and best friend when Kelly was twelve. She officially fell in love with him when she was sixteen and he took her to her junior prom because her date got sick.
At the same time, Jax realized that he had powerful feelings for Kelly as well. Because she was so young, however, he said they would date until she was eighteen, and on her birthday he would ask her to marry him. Jax seemed perfectly sincere and equally smitten, but then he disappeared without a word.
The next time Kelly saw Jax was three years later at her brother’s wedding. She was surprised to see him, but not as surprised as he was to find that she had married. Jax disappeared once again. Now it’s four years later and she thinks Jax has shown up at her brother’s request because she’s such a basket case over the failure of her marriage.
Kelly still doesn’t know why Jax left without a word or that the reason he didn’t come for her on her eighteenth birthday was that he’d been framed for drug trafficking while on a journalistic assignment in South America and spent nearly two years in jail.
And it’s going to be a while before anybody tells her.
The book starts out with a bang. The whole concept of the rich, uber cool guy falling for his best friend’s naive sister was very appealing. And then those letters! I have read a lot of books revolving around letters, but none ever competed with Sparks’ Message In A Bottle. This…came close.
The best thing about this is the un-aplphaness of the male hero. He cries and writes romance novels, and fleetingly made me wonder how he ever survived prison. However, if we examine Letters to Kelly in detail, we find a lot of major holes, which would be a shame. Also, I fail to understand why Jax wouldn’t tell her the real reason he had to leave her so long ago. However, if he had done that, the novel would have ended right there in the first scene, so Ms Brockmann’s mistake is forgivable. If you can ignore logic for a while, this book is a treat.
I really liked the fact that the main characters had known each other for years. I get tired of the contrived aspect of two people falling in love when they have known each other for seventy-two hours. This seemed much more believable, which made the story all the more poignant and memorable.
I also loved Jax exchange with his main character, Jared. They were a unique and undeniably funny twist to the story.
The only complaint I have is that the ending wrapped up way to fast when Kelly learned about why Jax left and didn’t come back. The last few pages felt abrupt. Also how many scenes can you have in one book where the heroine is thinking “I really want him, but he’ll only hurt me again”? There must have been a dozen like that; it got to be a real drag.
Zero stars for that aspect of it.
All in all, Letters to Kelly is not especially steamy, or action-oriented, or suspenseful, or a lot of other things that often make a book good. None of those elements would have added a thing to the story. It’s all about the characters, their relationship, and their emotions. So, tread carefully.