The premise of this short story seemed promising: girl mourning her father’s recent passing goes to a secluded island bungalow to recoup and take some time for herself, but instead finds herself sharing it with an overworked Scottish movie star who is also there for an escape. Seems cute, right? And I love Scotland and everything having to do with that beautiful and rugged country, so was very excited to read a modern romance with a Scottish hero.
Unfortunately, this story was difficult to read almost right from the beginning, with awkward phrasing and sentence construction. Some examples:
His manager’s ruddy-complected simper flooded his internal screen.
The trail of his footprints ambling along behind him, …
She’d never take him seriously if he allowed the hilarity that was she to get to him.
As I read, I posted two quotes as Goodreads status updates and one of my GR friends captured it best when she commented by writing only: “trying too hard.” The two quotes:
As the curtains of rain swept in, a warm womb of showers so soft one might call it liquid air enveloped him, a return to the primal warmth and comfort of amniotic embrace.
… the visceral allure of the gentle fingers of fluid that patted and ran down his back and chest as he stood, arms outstretched to the sky.
Translation: our hero is being rained on.
One of the things that makes beautiful writing beautiful is that it seems effortless, as if the author is compelled and has no other option but to write in that way, as if they are only able to transmit an idea through language and word construction that put together creates something breathtaking.
When the language itself distracts you from the message and story that it’s trying to convey, you know that something isn’t right. That was exactly what happened with Reluctant Companions, with the writing acting as more of a barrier than a window into another world.
At 35 pages, I made myself read half and was then able to get to around page 23 before I gave up and blatantly skimmed the rest.