Shamrocks and Secrets by Cayce Poponea
Series: Shamrocks #1
Publisher: Self-Published on December 17, 2014
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (Adult)
Event planning, dealing with demanding clients and defusing situations before they get out of hand are all in a days work for Christi O'Rourke. But when a mystery man seems to appear at every turn will she have the ability to handle him as well?
Power and wealth are staples in the world of Patrick Malloy. But when family obligations dictate his future, a future involving a certain spirited young woman, will Patrick have what it takes to win her heart or will his lifestyle place her in more danger than he ever dreamed of?
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
I really wanted to like this one, but the more I read, the more it fell apart. I kept reading for a lot longer than I should have, I think, hoping that something would sway me toward the positive, but I finally just bailed at around 85%.
Shamrocks and Secrets is the story of Christi, a woman of Irish descent being pursued by and eventually falling in love with Patrick, a powerful Irish Mob boss. However, it’s overly romanticized and underdeveloped, and it could have used a couple more editors before going to print.
Initially, Christi irritated me with her references to Patrick being in the Mafia instead of the Mob. Yes, Americans more familiar with the Gambinos than the Westies tend to apply Mafia to everything organized crime, but I would have expected a woman of Irish descent to differentiate — or at least for someone in Patrick’s family to mention the favored terminology. And I believe Christi was meant to be strong and independent, generally unswayed by Patrick’s wealth and power, but after a strong start, she began to lack depth and ended up being more of a two-dimensional representation of those traits. A few of her actions contradicted Patrick, but mostly she allowed herself to be controlled by him, such as when she attempted to leave their first date but ended up being driven back to his penthouse without so much as a grumble to the contrary. Her primary issue with him was her assumption that all men involved in organized crime are unfaithful, as if that’s the most dangerous thing about becoming involved with a member of the Mob. Sure, she wasn’t thrilled about the criminal side of things, either, but the frequency with which she brought up his apparent need to have numerous affairs made his illegal activity seem like an afterthought.
Patrick’s character was just as thin and strangely stereotypical. Rather than work at getting to know her, he started in with expensive and over-the-top displays of his wealth and power immediately upon informally meeting her. While it was later explained that he had known about her for years and simply waited patiently until a time when she was more mature and less naive to begin pursuing her, his staking his claim on her and attempting to woo her with gifts was just too much and too soon to be believed. Christi rather weakly resisted for only a short while before putting aside her principles, and it felt like much of that development was skipped in order to get to the next scene more quickly.
I also quickly became annoyed with the editing issues. Terms of endearment and polite addresses were capitalized, as if Patrick had been knighted by the Queen herself, and for every properly placed semicolon, it seemed there was another sentence in which a comma was incorrectly used instead. To the author’s credit, many of the mistakes I noticed were the kind that most people wouldn’t catch, but any good editor would have noticed them right away. At the very least, someone with a few extra English classes under the belt would have saved that poor, abused apostrophe from pluralized surnames.
The general flow of the story was pretty inconsistent as well, and it was difficult to tell whether the time between scenes and events was just a few hours or as long as a few weeks. As a result, the plot felt rushed, as if much of getting to the relationship between Christi and Patrick had happened behind the scenes, and we readers were only getting the Cliff Notes version. The pace felt a lot more like a serial, much like single chapters are posted in fanfiction stories, rather than a standard novel, and I have to admit that as soon as Patrick’s eyes and hair were described, I had visions of Twilight all-human fanfic. (EDIT: Just went to grab the cover from Goodreads, and the very first review said this one used to be fanfic. I need to start paying attention to these things before I buy. At least then I’d be able to narrow selections to only those authors whose work I know I previously enjoyed, rather than offend someone I probably know.)
I do think the story idea was good, and it had the potential to be very entertaining, even if it strayed from gritty realism. The cover certainly caught my eye, and the synopsis made it sound like a really fun read. But while it fell flat for me, I suspect with some generous substantive and copyediting, it could have been a wonderful story.