Tender Is the Night by Barbara Freethy

This RITA® Reader Challenge 2017 review was written by Scifigirl1986. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Long Contemporary category.

The summary:

Barbara Freethy’s NYT Bestselling Series THE CALLAWAYS continues with another romantic, page-turning and heart-warming novel about love, loyalty and risking it all.

FBI agent Kate Callaway is on her way to San Francisco for a family wedding when her boss asks her to make a side trip to deliver an important message to a rogue ex-agent.

Devin Scott wanted FBI resources to find a serial killer who is believed to be dead. Instead, he gets a newly minted agent who is a beautiful, idealistic and irritating distraction. He wants her to walk away, and she knows she should go…but she can’t.

Suddenly, Kate is caught up in a cold-case mystery and the arms of a dangerously sexy man, whose obsession with truth and justice could put not only his life on the line but also hers.

Here is Scifigirl1986‘s review:

Over the years, I have read three Barbara Freethy books, the first of which, Golden Lies, came back into my life after a decade of searching because the Bitchery solved my HABO a few years ago. That book is still among my favorites.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I will ever be able to say that about Tender Is the Night. While it isn’t a bad book, it also isn’t a good book.

If there was a physical representation of ‘meh,’ it would be Tender Is the Night (how, meh, is it, you ask — I just googled the heroine’s name because I couldn’t remember it).

Alice from Alice in Wonderland, looking bored.

Normally, I wouldn’t even be tempted to write a review of a book like this, but as I’d committed to doing this one, here we are.

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<p>(Visit the <a href="http://ift.tt/2sYbSWz & Shakers in Books</a> list for authoritative information on this product’s current rank.)</div>
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When I started reading this book, I really thought that I was going to enjoy it — the writing was really good and both the hero, Devin, and the heroine, Kate (she whose name I keep forgetting) had pretty decent chemistry. I had such high hopes for them as they fairly smoldered. I could picture my iPad catching fire once they finally had sex; their chemistry was that good.

Imagine my surprise when I lost interest in their first sex scene (as well as every other sex scene they had). Not exactly 🔥.

Ross Geller from Friends, sighing.

Honestly, this wasn’t that big of a deal as I’ve read worse sex scenes in far better books — I still can’t get over the awful sex scene in Stephen King’s 11/22/63 (I guess there is a reason he does not write romance). I do wish, however, wish that Ms. Freethy hadn’t written these scenes into the book; it would have been better had she just had the scene go dark whenever they were about to have sex, especially since the sex didn’t really enhance the story at all. It would have been just as meh without it. Sadly, once these two had sex, most of their chemistry disappeared. I’ve never much believed in the Moonlighting Curse, but if anything could change my mind, it is this book.

My biggest issue with TITN is that it didn’t seem to know what book it wanted to be. It felt like it was trying to be a small town romance and romantic suspense at the same time. Because it tried to be both, it failed to be either. A big portion of the book is spent talking about the various other Callaways (Kate’s family), all of whom have either starred in their own books already or will be getting ones in the future, and a good many of them popped up to give Kate and Devin advice/information regarding their investigation into the fires that were threatening San Francisco. This would have made more sense had this actually been a small town, where everyone is likely to know everyone else and there’s a high probability that half of the people you meet are members of your family. It also didn’t make sense that so many members of one family were a part of the law enforcement/fire fighting community.

As for the suspense plot, it wasn’t very suspenseful. Kate and Devin spend a good amount of time investigating, but never seem to get anywhere, and it felt as if they were just going in circles. By the time I got to the 80% mark, I was wondering how they were going to figure out who the arsonist even was. The entire time I was reading, I kept wondering how either of these two were able to have careers in the FBI in the first place, especially since they kept making stupid mistakes that let the arsonist get away. Obviously, they couldn’t catch the culprit right away, but they didn’t have to make so many rookie mistakes, either. It was rather frustrating, if I’m being honest.

I’m sure that all of this makes it sound like I did not like this book, but that isn’t really true. Liking or disliking something implies caring about it and when it comes to TITN, I just did not care. I didn’t care if they caught the arsonist, I didn’t care if they fell in love, and I didn’t care if they ended up getting their Happily Ever After. As I said, this book is Meh.

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