I couldn't get a picture of this book because my mother gave her copy away when we inspired each other to empty closets this summer. Have an adorably random pet picture at the bottom instead.
This book's a bit odd for me, because it's essentially a romance...but a romance with a good story!
The Ugly Duckling
Why?: I am not a huge fan of classic romance novels. Part of this issue lies in the confusion of romance with sex, and partly from just...they don't tend to strike a chord with me. So when my mother suggested an Iris Johansen book to me when I was in high school, I hesitated a bit. Add to that the concept of a "plain" woman becoming "beautiful," and The Ugly Duckling shouldn’t have appealed to me – but it does. The Ugly Duckling is a good, solid story and an enjoyable read. Despite the magical “fix” for Nell, the main character’s, looks, the circumstances keep it from being the center of the story. Nell survives the death of her husband and child, and she doesn’t just get over it in moments, yet the story isn’t dragged down. This is a tale both of revenge and personal growth that goes beyond miraculous plastic surgery. While there is a romantic element as the book progresses, there are also lovable secondary characters and a strong storyline that keep the reader involved in the story.
Gist: Nell Carter, a shy and retiring woman in a good marriage, is maimed in an attack that also led to the death of her husband and child. She awakens some time later to find that her reconstructive surgeon didn’t give her the face she was born with, but instead made her a great beauty. To fight her sense of emptiness, she sets out to wreak revenge on the drug cartel that murdered her family.
Bonus Trivia: This was Johansen’s first hardback novel. Previously, she had written largely historical romance.
Perfect For: Ages 16+, people who like a thrill
Genres: Fiction, Novel
Keywords: Thriller, Adventure, Romance
Since my mother suggested this book to me, here is a picture of her dog, Chaucer. Chaucer does excellent Elvis impressions thanks to a crooked tooth, but I think she's going for more of a pirate look here.