The Books of Love: Smoothie by Jane Elliot
Reviewed by Narrelle M Harris
Thankfully she’s about as prepared and resourceful as a girl can be, because all of a sudden she’s in the middle of a road movie along with an extraordinary woman named Natalie and the two of them find themselves running for their lives into and out of a mess of complicated situations in which nobody is ever quite what he or she might appear to be.
Jane Elliot’s Heather George is a heroine I can relate to, at least on some levels. I’m not the only one, it seems, who has spent idle minutes (or hours) wondering how I’d cobble together weapons from household goods during the zombie apocalypse or, marginally more likely, how I would hide/arm myself/survive an assault from a disgruntled customer or employee while working at the bank or the public service. (Shut up.)
Heather is clever, funny and imaginative, though riven with social anxiety and plagued with doubt about her attractiveness. She is inexperienced in both love and sex, but she knows a hot gal when she sees one: and she sees one in Natalie, the woman who has kind-of car-napped her after a car bomb in Miami nearly kills them both.
Once caught in Natalie’s orbit, Heather is forced along for the ride, given that the people trying to kill Natalie are happy to take pot shots at both of them. Natalie does her best to protect the innocent-ish bystander, but Heather’s resourcefulness saves them just as often as Natalie’s street sense.
Elliot manages the sometimes difficult task of giving us Heather’s first person narrative, full of self doubt, while also making it clear that Natalie thinks Heather is pretty hot stuff – even if Heather mostly misses those signals.
Perhaps it’s inevitable that narrator Heather ends up a more fully realised personality than Natalie. Later characters are also colourful without really having Heather’s depth and the villains are lacking much detail at all – but these are issues mostly noticed after you’ve finished reading, because Smoothie keeps you tumbling along the fast-paced story too quickly to notice the lack.
It’s not a huge lack, though. Heather is great, the supporting cast are mostly huge fun, and Smoothie is a rollicking good adventure of a love story.
The Books of Love are romance book reviews of both new releases and old favourites.