A Willful Woman…

Thoughts about books from a romance addict.

Special Interests by Emma Barry

Review Copy Source: submitted to Dear Author

What tickled me: A book about politics that didn’t shut me out.

What ticked me off: The characters (briefly) treat a person with Alzheimers like furniture.

Who might like it: Readers who enjoy contemporary romance. Not too fluffy, not too dark.

In a recent Twitter conversation about Julie James, someone — as usual, probably Liz Mc2 — said something about having trouble relating to her characters and their ambitions. Despite my complete inability to remember any concrete information about the comment, this really nailed for me why James’s books don’t work well for me. The stories are always very readable, but her characters live in a world that feels completely alien to me. I don’t care about what they care about.

Special Interests is seemingly the same sort of book James writes; it’s the first authorial comparison that comes to mind. Yet despite being about the mind-boggling subject of lobbyists in Washington D.C., it worked for me. I don’t think it was even just because the main characters are both Democrats, though that undoubtedly helped. They’re overworked and troubled and leading kind of messed up lives, but they don’t feel like they’re on another place of existence.



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