Author: Carly Phillips
Published: June 1, 2000 (OOP, Kensington, as Karen Drogin) / May 2011 (Inkwell, e-book only)
Cateogry: Contemporary Romance
I was recently given the opportunity to review one of Carly Phillips' earliest publications, when she wrote in her real name, Karen Drogin. The books had been out of print, and Inkwell has re-released them in e-book format.
Our heroine is Carly Wexler, guidance counselor and advice columnist, and engaged to the wrong guy. He's good on paper, long-time friend, and will probably be a decent husband. Why the safe approach to selecting her husband? While she was in high school, her father had an affair with his secretary, and when he broke it off, the secretary killed herself. Scandal ensues, and her father leaves his political career behind to start a law firm. Carly now feels that her father's out-of-control passions ruined their family, so she needs to avoid passion in her relationships. Her fiancé Pete, is an ambitious associate, and he doesn't love Carly, but she'll be a good wife, and he can kill two birds with one stone. He can probably get partnership if he's married to the senior partner's daughter.
I couldn't stand Pete. He constantly used work as an excuse to be late or miss wedding appointments with Carly, and if his work kept him with a hot young associate chick at the same time, what's the big deal? The more you read about Pete, the more you dislike him. His brother Mike, the best man, is another story. He's a photographer and has had some emotional trauma on his last assignment, so he's using the month before the wedding to steel himself to go back to into a hot zone. He can see what's wrong with his brother's relationship with Carly, and he's also instantly attracted to Carly, but he's caught in the middle. He doesn't want to betray his brother, but he also doesn't want to see Carly hurt.
You can definitely tell that this is early in Phillips' career. The story is based more on the characters and their emotions than the setting. I found there was little description of settings and characters, but I figure this is an experience thing, and Phillips' later books are more well-rounded (I suppose, as I've never read one of her books before this one).
I loved the storyline and how long (time-wise, not book length) it took to reach the resolution. Nothing dragged, but it also didn't feel rushed. It's reading a different kind of romance novel, where it's really all about the emotions and thoughts of the characters, with no tangents for side characters. I'm glad the Mike and Carly didn't just jump into bed, but showed real care towards their relationships to Pete. Carly and Pete really were friends; they just weren't meant to be romantically involved. I felt that everything turned out the way it should, and Carly and Mike's emotional wounds were healed with proper communication (I hate it when people don't communicate!).
The Right Choice is just one of three re-releases. You can also get Solitary Man and Perfect Partners. She also has a new title releasing this September, Serendipity.