The Ideal Man by Julie Garwood
August 9, 2011
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “The women he had taken to bed usually wanted pillow talk and sometimes praise after sex, or at the very least be held. Ellie, on the other hand, wanted to sleep.” (a woman after my own heart)
Dr. Ellie Sullivan is getting ready to head back to Winston Falls, SC to attend her sister’s wedding after a particularly grueling residency when she is suddenly thrust into a murder investigation. When FBI agent Max Daniels realizes that Ellie is the only one who saw the shooter’s face, he accompanies her, intent on keeping her safe. But Ellie has bigger problems than the shooter. As a victim of a vicious stalker, she soon finds out that he has been released and is now hiding somewhere in her hometown.
The sparks fly between Ellie and Max as they navigate the tricky waters of a jealous bride to be, a cheap father, and two men who will do anything to guarantee Ellie Sullivan doesn’t leave Winston Falls alive.
I have been a fan of Julie Garwood’s historical romance and romantic suspense novels for years. The Ideal Man is a good book. Not quite on the same level as her earlier suspense works, Mercy and Killjoy, but I still enjoyed meeting Max and Ellie and watching their romance unfold. Ellie is a adorable heroine who is genuinely nice without coming across as self righteous or coy. A gifted surgeon; her commitment to her job and her family is commendable. I found her intelligent, courageous, and very down to earth. I wish I could say the same for her family-her sister Ava is a piece of work. Ellie has suffered quite a bit for bring so young. Stalked and almost killed by a young man obsessed by her, her parents sent her away for her protection at age 11. While she has visited her family from time to time, she essentially has been on her own since then.
Max is quite the alpha male FBI agent. Commanding, sexy, and I suspect quite the player…seeing Ellie knocked him for a loop. Not his usual one night stand, he knows instantly that getting to know her will change his life forever and in ways he’s not sure he’s ready for. But fate maligns the best intentions and soon Max finds himself volunteering to watch over Ellie when she goes home for her sister’s wedding. Introduced as her “friend” Max finds himself sinking further and further under Ellie’s spell.
I enjoyed the interaction between Ellie and Max. Their attraction to one another is intense but they take it slow and easy as the situation they are in is dangerous and they need their wits about them.The banter between them is infectious and lively especially when Max’s ego shows on many occasions that he considers himself quite the ladies man and he feels it’s his duty to control their “relationship”.
“Ellie, it would be so easy for me to get you into bed.”
Easy? She felt her spine stiffen. How egotistical! Her lips brushed his jaw when she said, “And I’d end up getting hurt?”
“Yes.” His voice shook.
Ellie pulled away. “You’re right,” she signed. “You need a more experienced woman, someone who knows what they she’s doing.”
She opened the door. “Have a nice flight home.”
The suspense and mystery started out with a bang as Ellie is immediately sweep into a murder investigation as an eye witness but slowly fizzled out when it morphs into a romantic contemporary revolving around her family matters. The drama in Ellie’s family over shadows the suspense of Ellie being hunted by not one but two killers. I was disappointed to see Ellie treated like an inconvenience by her family; especially her sister Ava who is a nasty, spoiled woman who deserved to be smacked repeatedly and often. Nobody seemed to really take Ellie’s situation seriously and during one point Ava accuses her of almost getting killed as a attention garnering ploy.
Neither the villains nor their plots flesh out well. It was though they were added for shock value then forgot about. I would have liked to have heard more from the stalker’s and the killer’s point of view. Or at least to have seen what they were doing in the story rather then just popping in and out. We only hear stories of what happened and suspicions of where he may be but it’s very low key for the consequences his actions produced. The murder investigation storyline follows the same lack luster promotion and it is completely buried by Ellie’s family dramatics.
I was also confused by a smaller storyline involving Ellie’s sister Anne. I got the impression from an intense build up that her story would continue on into another book. Imagine my surprise when it clears itself up in a few pages at the end.
All in all Julie Garwood writes a romantic storyline with two endearing and likable protagonists. Just be forewarned that if your looking for the suspense to equal the romance-you may be disappointed.