I truly love Mary Calmes and consider her books comfort reads. Whether it’s the latest in her Torus series or Frog, I have an understanding of what characters I might meet, no matter the situation, and the outcome of the passionate romance the main couple falls into. Doesn’t matter if they’ve just met or have known each other for years.
There’s a remarkable amount of comfort to be derived from this knowledge and yes, love for her guys. We know a Mary Calmes man when we read one.
They’re often too perfect for their own good and everyone (mostly) in the novels loves them. Myself included.
However in More Than Life the standard themes I’m used to doesn’t run so smoothly here. Or at all really in parts.
Looking at some of the elements, those with “criminal aspects “ especially, if the reader takes all the events as they occur and runs out all the ramifications to their logical ends, how they do end here and how they should end are volumes apart.
And that bothers me.
Yes the romance is how one would expect and I like this part of the story. Morgan’s trauma from his time and abuse in prison is perhaps given too light a treatment but he’s going to therapy so ok great.
However, my biggest issues here is that ( spoilers) all those that acted criminally got off basically with no legal repercussions.
With physical assault and battery, especially an attack so vicious that it put its victim in the hospital for an extended stay, if the author writes such a huge element into their story and makes it a pivotal part of the main character’s story and history then there’s an equal responsibility to ensure that the person who inflicted that beating be held accountable. Indeed, as he is shown to be an even more morally bankrupt, devious person who’s likely to repeat his behavior of assault by his own words, for him to be totally let off without even a police report of any type filed against him and his father had me stunned.
For the perpetrators , even one in a novel, of such acts to be let off so lightly and with so little disregard for the future victims to follow is such a irresponsible act that I was just horrified. The character brutalized Hart and the beating he gave Hart scarred and hospitalized him but when he reappeared then then went about victimizing yet another.
All the while expressing his views on rape his father’s men carried out ( he wasn’t bothered by it FYI) and could see himself attacking more people. SMH.
But no , it doesn’t just stop with one person but others who’s behavior was equally outrageous, murderous, criminal, heinous, or just plain whacked here were , narratively ,story wise , let off the hook, to go live their lives elsewhere as well.
For me this felt utterly irresponsible for the sake of the one character of the main couple seemingly being seen as “great guy” about things. So chill and forgiving. Uh no.
Nope I call that being highly idiotic and masochistic and should all this be in RL, he surely would have been responsible for letting a predator get away without any records to follow him. Hart does not come off well in the good judgement department here. Morgan maybe, Hart…. Mary’s typical “golden boy”? No.
No this book has its own issues of judgement to solve.
Liked the romance though. Not sure it’s enough to overcome the other things I’d had problems with. Probably not.
Hart Jarrett was only supposed to be passing through Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He wasn’t supposed to get involved, no emotional entanglements to tie him down. Setting down roots was never part of the plan, not until he opened himself up to love. Too bad the man he bet on bailed and left Hart holding the ranch. There were two choices after that: run away, or stay and build something real from nothing.
Nearly six years later, Hart has created a home and a life he never expected, with the help of his best friend and foreman, Morgan Brace. The ranch is thriving thanks to its loyal men and strong ties to the community. But there’s a snake in the garden, and it takes many forms. There’s a dead man on Hart’s property, a man he knows, and the questions are piling up. As if that weren’t enough, his ex has reappeared out of the blue, with plans to reclaim what he willingly gave.
And, to make matters worse, it appears Morgan is finally taking his dating life seriously.
Everything Hart has built is unraveling.
The life Hart wants doesn’t work without Morgan in it. Imagining a future without Morgan, him turning elsewhere for love and coming in second to someone else in Morgan’s heart—as well as his bed—is almost unbearable. So maybe, just maybe, the answer lies in Hart confessing that he loves Morgan more than life itself.
If Hart gambles and loses, will he even still want the life he’s worked so hard to build?