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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Remedy for Regret by Susan Meissner

Tess Laungher is 28 and lives the simple life working at a local boutique. She makes a nice living dressing rich women, but deep down, her heart and soul are empty. She and her fiancee, Simon, are living together, waiting for the right time to get married. Simon is currently going through a rough time because he feels guilty for a traffic accident he caused, which resulted in the deaths of two innocent people. Tess feels rejected by her father because she thinks he blames her for her mother's death, since she died bringing Tess into the world. To get away from it all, Tess agrees to a road trip with a friend of hers in order to help her friend make something wrong right. Tess finds that there is only one remedy for regret-and it is the remedy she has tried to ignore her entire life.

The Remedy for Regret

is driven by strong, imperfect characters, which is a necessity with this type of simple plot, especially when the author uses the typical plot elements Susan used here. However, these elements are the downfall of the book because they are too typical and too perfect.

Tess and Simon are realistic leads because they are both imperfect. They both make choices that effect the outcome of the plot. Susan could have made Simon into a perfect male lead, something many female authors do, but she chose not to. There are several other good characters throughout the plot that serve to help this book's rating. The characters are the strongest point of this book, as should be the case with all books, especially this type of plot. The Remedy for Regret definitely would have been worse without good characters.

The plot follows a straightforward, quest like structure because Tess goes from one problem to another, inevitably fixing it. First Tess and her friend hunt down a boy whom they rescued as a baby to tell him the truth about his mother, then Tess visits her father to try to reconcile with him about her mother's death before traveling to England to clear the air with her mother's family. Even though each situation is fixed, each one serves to add to characters' imperfection and personality. It was not the best thing she could have done, however, because Susan should have had at least one situation not be fixed.

The book could have lived through these things with an Elite rating, but what Susan did in the epilogue really ruined things for me. Anything that was left to fix, was fixed in a sped up, haphazard fashion. This is a bit cheesy, to say the least. I'm not saying that good things never happen to people and that authors should never have good things happen to their characters, but there is a realistic balance to find and realistic way to write plots.

I know Susan Meissner wrote this in her early years, and I'm glad she has learned from this and has not returned to this stage in her career. This shows the mark of a truly good author.

3 stars

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