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Review: A Girl Less Ordinary by Leah Ashton

A Girl Less Ordinary by Leah Ashton Review: A Girl Less Ordinary by Leah Ashton

My poor husband has been quite disappointed that in all the romance novels that have made their way on to my bookshelves, his own occupation has not so far represented. Wheres the IT geek love? he wants to know. With Leah Ashtons'A Girl Less Ordinary, he can finally feel vindicated, because the hero in this one gives my geeky husband a run for his money.'

Both are uber-nerd software programmers. Both run their own businesses. Both are billionaires. Um, okay, perhaps not the last one (if youre wondering, its the hero in the book whos the billionaire, not my husband), but two out of three isnt bad.

Oh, and just in case youre wonderingboth get the girl in the end (and what a catch those girls are!).

A Girl Less Ordinary'is a reunion romance, and I should admit up-front that, grumpy cynic that I am, Im not a huge fan of this particular genre. For this reason the book and I got off to a little bit of a rocky start:'the prologue, where we rewind from our present-day setting to witness a cringe-worthyread: unrequiteddeclaration of love from our then-dorky heroine towards our then-dorky hero, didnt quite work for me.

However, once we get past those awkward teen years and into the present day Ashton really hits her stride. Despite the fact that the premise does indeed hinge on a reunion between our hero and heroine, Ashton doesnt fall prey to mawkish, soft-focus flashbacks. Instead, she keeps the focus on the present day, allowing the past to be alluded to through the way in which the characters react to each other and contrast their present day selves with those of the past.

And goodness, how theyve changed. Though our hero and heroine might have started at roughly similar places on the personality spectrum, after ten years theyve diverged to the point of serious polarity. Jake is a scruffy, work-obsessed introvert who spends his spare time getting back to nature (cue Castle-esque: can you feel the serenity?); while Eleanor, once not so dissimilar, has transformed herself into stylish image-obsessed party-girl Ella. And the circumstances of their reunion? Ella has been hired by Jakes company to transform the reclusive programmer from geekto chic (sorry, sorry, couldnt resist).

One of the things that I loved about Ashtons debut Secrets and Speed-Dating'was that she pushed the boundaries of the category romance; in'A Girl Less Ordinary she does so again. Theres something in the characterisation that I cant quite put my finger onperhaps that the story seems to emphasise Jakes point of view and show him in a more sympathetic light than Ella?but theres a definite sense of this being a category romance with a difference.

In'A Girl Less Ordinary the focus is less the romance between Jake and Ella than it is the rekindling of a deep friendship between the two and their subsequent efforts to come to terms with the circumstances that have led to them becoming the people that they are today. Ella in particular is a deeply troubled person, and I was impressed that Ashton was willing to take a risk in writing such a relatively unsympathetic, clearly tormented heroine. That Ellas self-worth was something she herself was tasked with developing, rather than having it sort of bestowed upon her by the cliche of the love of a good man was something that I really appreciated, too.

However, although there was much to enjoy about this one, and I do think that Ashton is an immensely promising writer, I did have a couple of issues with this one (and not all of them due to my grumpy cynical ways). The romantic gesture at the end of the novel felt a little out of character for Jake (although yes, if youve clicked on my proposal link above, youve probably seen that geeky guys can be pretty darn romantic when they want to be), and I didnt quite buy the way that things turned out. The proofreading in this one was also an issue, which was a surprise, as usually Harlequin books are top-notch in this regard.

In all, though, this is an enjoyable romance from a strong local talent, and I look forward to seeing more from Ashton in the future.

Rating: star Review: A Girl Less Ordinary by Leah Ashtonstar Review: A Girl Less Ordinary by Leah Ashtonstar Review: A Girl Less Ordinary by Leah Ashtonblankstar Review: A Girl Less Ordinary by Leah Ashtonblankstar Review: A Girl Less Ordinary by Leah Ashton (good)

With thanks to the author for the review copy

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Other books by Leah Ashton:

Secrets and Speed Dating by Leah Ashton Review: A Girl Less Ordinary by Leah AshtonWhy Resist a Rebel by Leah Ashton Review: A Girl Less Ordinary by Leah Ashton