This is one of those books with so many positive reviews that I had to immediately track down a copy and find out for myself whether it was as good as everyone was claiming. Much to my surprise (and delight), it was
. I utterly and completely understand why this title is part of the Save the Contemporary
campaign and feel compelled to do my part to spread the word about this book.
I must admit that I have only recently succumbed to the charms of the contemporary, non-paranormal romance. I started reading romance novels as escapist fiction, and stories set in a time and place I could identify, with characters who could (if my life were more fabulous) be my neighbors, just never really caught my imagination. That all changed with Jill Shalvis's Instant Attraction. Since then, I've let the contemporary into my life and been better off for it. However, I'm still not confident enough to explore on my own, so before diving in I wait for titles like Something about You that are receiving praise from multiple sources.
Bare bones plot summary: Cameron (an Assistant U.S. Attorney) and Jack (an FBI Agent) have a professional history that isn't altogether pleasant. Cameron is a witness to a murder, which throws her back in Jack's path. Danger and sparks ensue. There's even a weekend at an out-of-town wedding thrown in for good measure. It's not the world's most original plot, but really there are only so many plots available. In any romance novel, it's not the plot itself that's important, but how the hero and heroine get to their HEA. And Cameron and Jack get to theirs in large part through conversation, which is something that can make me forgive a lot in even the most poorly-written novel. Thankfully, Julie James is a very good writer with an eye for detail and an ear for dialogue. I never once felt that the dialogue was awkward or stilted and that "real people wouldn't say that." And that, dear readers, is a rare thing indeed. Even the characters' inner dialogue felt natural, which is even more rare.
I'm not going to lie, as a mystery reader I felt that the capturing of the villain and the tying up of loose plot threads was a little rushed and tidy, and if this book had been marketed as a mystery, or even romantic suspense, the too-neat ending would have probably tainted my enjoyment of the book as a whole. As a romance novel, though? As a romance novel, Something about You worked really, really well, and even made me sigh a happy little sigh as I finished the last page.