All In The Game (Man Of The Month) by Barbara Boswell
Reading Level: Adult Romance
Release Date: January 17, 2011
Publisher: Silhouette Desire
Pages: 192 pages
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
The last person in the world Ty Hale expected to encounter on a desert island was 26-year-old Shannen Cullen. Ty is a 34-year-old head cameraman on a reality game show, and Shannen and her twin sister are finalist contestants. Nine years ago Ty was a third-year law student mutually in love with Shannen, who'd told him she was a 22-year-old grad student. Much to his horror, and fortunately before the relationship had been consummated, he discovered she was an underage high school student of 17. He broke up with her harshly, not wanting to take any chance Shannen would attempt to keep them together, since he didn't believe he could resist her. Later, when she was of age, Ty wanted to look Shannen up. But by then major scandal had rocked his family, sending his father and brother to jail, and he figured she'd want nothing to do with him. Now on the island, they have a second chance at love, except....if they get involved, Shannen will be disqualified from the contest, and Ty will lose his job.
As a long-time fan of Barbara Boswell, I've read and enjoyed every book she's ever published. She writes with sympathy and flare about family relationships, and she's particularly fun when she deals with twins and triplets, a favorite theme of hers. Her stories are consistently light-hearted and uplifting, often funny, and always sexy. This book certainly displays each of those wonderful traits. As for the story line of this particular book, even if you don't like reality game shows (I confess, I don't), that won't interfere with enjoying All in the Game. It serves as a quite interesting and often clever backdrop for the hot relationship between the appealing hero and strong, intelligent heroine.
Boswell has a sharp, unique author voice; her writing is smooth and polished, avoiding aggravating redundancies, and she doesn't dump in endless backstory at the beginning of her books, as so many other novelists tend to do. Instead, she carefully sprinkles in pertinent information about the protagonists' pasts throughout the course of the story in a way that adds to interest and tension. In addition, I particularly appreciate her use of close, third-person point of view. By that I mean that she only uses the point of view of two people, the hero and heroine, and it is very clear at all times when she's switched point of view. This technique allows the reader to have a much deeper, more intimate relationship with the protagonists. Unfortunately, very few authors of *any* popular genre of fiction seem willing or able to write in close third, choosing instead to employ omniscient as (seemingly) a good excuse for careless head-hopping and frequent, long swatches of tell-don't-show narrative. Taking a vacation from that kind of writing makes it doubly a treat to read a consummate pro like Ms. Boswell.